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The San Luis Valley Area Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in four main areas: Agriculture & Range, Family & Health, Nutrition, and 4-H Youth Development.

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4-H Youth Program

4-H is a youth development program for kids ages 8 to 18 that empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.

4-H members participate in local 4-H clubs, 4-H school programs or 4-H outreach programs where they learn new skills, make new friends, and have fun. Within community clubs, youth attend meetings, complete projects, practice public speaking, and do community service.

Research shows that young people who participate in 4-H clubs:

  • Do better in school
  • Are more motivated to help others
  • Develop skills in leadership, public speaking, self-esteem, communication and planning
  • Make lasting friendships.

Through real-life situations, 4-H helps youth develop life skills such as: communication, citizenship, decision-making, leadership, interpersonal relations and community and global awareness. Youth learn these practical skills through hundreds of projects like cooking, wildlife, livestock, model rocketry, sewing, archery and shooting sports, art, photography, computers, leathercraft, outdoor adventure and many more.

Participation Information

Any youth with a 4-H age of 8 to 18 is eligible to participate in community 4-H clubs. 4-H age is defined as a child’s age on December 31 of the particular enrollment year. Children ages 5 to 7 are eligible to participate in Cloverbuds, a non-competitive introduction to the 4-H experience.

The 4-H enrollment fee is $30 per child. 4-H manuals have an additional fee. Contact the office for pricing. Families will spend some money for project supplies. Enrollment scholarships are available for families in need. Contact the office for details.

The 4-H year runs from October to the following September. To be eligible to participate in the San Luis Valley Fair, existing 4-H members must re-enroll in 4-H by January 26th, 2024. New members can enroll in the program until March 17. Both new and existing members can add and drop projects through May 10. Enrollment in 4-H does not enroll a member in the fair. Fair entries typically open in June and must be completed in addition to 4-H enrollment. Youth may enroll in 4-H past the above deadlines, but they will not be eligible to show at the area or state fair that year.

How to Enroll

If you’re interested in participating in the 4-H community club program, follow the steps below to learn more and get enrolled.

1. Browse the Clubs section of this webpage or talk to your local contact or the Area Extension Office to find out about your local club meetings and their project focus areas.

2. Browse the Projects section of this website to determine which projects your family wants to participate in. We recommend that new members select between 1 and 3 projects. If you have questions about a project, contact the Extension office for more information.

3. Visit Colorado 4-H Online, our enrollment website and follow the directions for new users. Use the tips listed below to help you enroll. Here are some tips for using the 4-H Online Enrollment system:

  • Use the help documents under “Family Resources” on the State’s website.
  • If you need help choosing a club call the office at 719-852-7381.
  • Be sure to know which projects you’re interested in before trying to enroll, as you’ll be asked to select projects during the enrollment process. You can change projects through May 10.
  • The Animal Care and Housing form is only required for children in livestock and horse projects who are not housing their animals on their own property. If this is required for you, be sure to get the proper signatures.
  • The Health Form is not required for general participation (it is required to attend any overnight or out-of-area activities). We encourage you to fill it out so we have the information in case of an emergency.
  • If you have problems or questions about enrolling using 4-H Online, call the Extension Office at 719-852-7381.

4. Pay your enrollment fees. 4-H members pay $30 per year to participate in 4-H. This helps cover administrative costs and pays for your project manuals. Enrollment fees can be paid in person (via cash or check) at the San Luis Valley Area Extension office (1899 E. Hwy 160, Monte Vista) Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. You can also mail payment via check to PO Box 30, Monte Vista, CO 81144. Checks should be made out to “San Luis Valley Area Extension.” Financial assistance is available for families who need help paying these fees. Download the form from the Resources page.

5. Attend your local club meetings, start working on projects, and begin discovering the fun that is 4-H!