4-H is an inclusive organization. No county policy or practice should be used to arbitrarily exclude youth from membership or participation. Youth should participate in 4-H opportunities at levels and times that best suit the youth’s growth and development and support family involvement.
The South Dakota 4-H year runs from October 1 through September 30.
Youth may enroll in 4-H at any time throughout the year. Local 4-H clubs/groups can be formed at anytime during the 4-H year. Likewise, youth may enroll in 4-H projects at any time throughout the year. However, a state enrollment deadline of June 1 does exist for exhibiting and participating in state activities such as South Dakota State Fair, State Horse Show and state livestock events.
Youth may enroll in more than one club and in more than one county. If a child enrolls in clubs in two counties, there should be communication between the county Extension staff and an exchange of information about the child’s participation. If a youth enrolls in more than one club, he/she must enroll in different projects in each club. Examples:
- Youth enrolls in a community club and a special interest club (shooting sports or horse club).
- Youth enrolls in a community club where he/she attends school. Youth lives in another location during the summer months and enrolls in a club in that location.
- Youth enrolls in a 4-H Afterschool club and a community club.
Youth between the ages of 5 and 18 are eligible for enrollment in 4-H. Youth must be 8 years of age on or before January 1 of the current 4-H year to enroll. Youth turning 19 on or before January 1 of the current 4-H year are no longer eligible for 4-H membership.
- Children with special needs/disabilities are eligible for enrollment with no maximum age limit.
- Youth in kindergarten through 3rd grade (age 5-7) are eligible for enrollment in the South Dakota 4-H Cloverbuds program.
Age Divisions for the South Dakota 4-H Program:
Cloverbuds: Age 5, 6, or 7 on or before January 1 of the current 4-H year. Beginners: Age 8, 9, or 10 on or before January 1 of the current 4-H year. Juniors: Age 11, 12, or 13 on or before January 1 of the current 4-H year. Seniors: Age 14, 15, 16, 17, or 18 on or before January 1 of the current 4-H year and have not turned 19 on or before January 1.
In order to be a Yankton County 4-H member in good standing and be eligible for county-based awards, youth must:
- attend 4 club meetings before Achievement Days to be eligible for livestock and static exhibit awards, or attend 4 club meetings per 4-H year (October 1 through September 30) to be eligible for all other awards
- submit a completed record book
4-H Membership Options
Youth may participate in 4-H through a variety of program delivery modes, including organized 4-H clubs, 4-H special interest or short-term groups, 4-H school enrichment programs, 4-H Afterschool, 4-H camping, or as independent members.
- Community Clubs are often referred to as a “traditional club.” This group is made up of varying ages, studying either a variety of things or a specific project area. They usually meet year-round.
- After-school clubs meet regularly during an after-school program. The group has a name, a leadership structure, and studies a variety of project areas.
- Military 4-H clubs resemble community clubs in format and structure but are sponsored by military installations.
- In-school clubs meet as part of the school day and are classroom specific. They most closely resemble after-school clubs.
- Special interest groups are focused on a single project area. They may meet over several months or intensively over a short period of time. Members of these groups are often new to 4-H. This is considered a transitional group. Its members are eligible to participate in specific project-related events and activities but may elect not to follow the traditional approach in regard to record keeping and completion.
- Independent study members are 4-H members who participate in a wide variety of 4-H activities but are not part of a community club, often because of distance or time.