Values and History

Timeline   Strategic Plan


The 4-H Motto . . .


"Learn to do by doing"

Learning through experience is a key objective of 4-H. At all levels of 4-H, members are encouraged to learn through active participation.


The 4-H Pledge is . . .

I pledge

My HEAD to clearer thinking,
My HEART to greater loyalty,
My HANDS to larger service,
And my HEALTH to better living,
For my club, my community, and my country.


Our Mission . . .

4-H Alberta inspires, educates, and develops Members who are outstanding rural and urban youth, leaders, and engaged citizens. Members learn to do by doing dynamic Projects, Programs and community service. In honoring our rural roots, we continue to recognize the importance of food and agriculture in Alberta.


Our Vision . . .

4-H Alberta is recognized as the premier youth leadership organization in Alberta.  Working together in a vibrant, thriving environment, we’re connecting people, ideas, and communities for a lifetime of benefit.


Values and Operating Principles . . .

Exemplifying these values is the expectation of 4-H Alberta, Members, Stakeholders and their interactions with each other.


  • We behave ethically with open, honest communication to build trust
  • We are reliable – our actions are consistent with our words
  • We make sound decisions
  • We are always honest, open and trustworthy in our decisions, communications and relationships


  • We support and enhance the reputation of 4-H Alberta
  • We continuously develop our own and others’ competencies and strengthen communities
  • We are responsible stewards of the funds entrusted to us
  • We take responsibility for our actions
  • We are responsible stewards of the youth entrusted to us
  • We embrace collaboration to achieve common goals


  • We contribute to an environment in which each individual is valued and heard and by treating others as we wish to be treated
  • We are courteous and show respect to each other and Partners
  • We contribute to a positive work environment
  • We are sincere and show a genuine interest
  • We value 4-H’s history, tradition and rural roots
  • We encourage and deliver safe and fun learning experiences
  • We listen and are open to suggestions
  • We are reply in a timely manner to answer questions and to redirect appropriately


  • We strive to continuously improve, develop leadership at all levels, and embrace innovation to create powerful members of society
  • We do our best to ensure that every experience meets or exceeds expectations
  • We promote information sharing and mentoring
  • We encourage innovation and entrepreneurship
  • We strive to be the best we can be


Our History . . .

4‑H has been an integral part of Alberta communities since 1917, with deep-rooted history and tradition that stems back to the efforts of individuals that formed the very first club for boys and girls (later called 4‑H) in our province.

Each decade since our beginning has brought with it new challenges and milestones. The new vision and mission for 4-H honors the history of 4-H while transforming the future as we to strive to be Alberta's premier youth organization.


Our Strategic Plan . . .

In 2017, representatives from the 4-H  partners worked together to create a three-year 4-H Alberta strategic plan with a commitment to manage the plan. This strategic plan is designed to help guide 4-H Alberta in its work over the next three years. The intent is to help us shape 4-H’s future, follow a set of guiding principles and ensure that 4-H remains relevant, effective and viable. In doing so, the plan will remain fluid to ensure 4-H Alberta is consistent with and aligned with Member and leader priorities, community needs, and government priorities. 


4-H Alberta Strategic Plan - Executive Summary 2017-2020 

4-H Alberta Partners Update at Leaders Conference 2018

Letter of Intent as of April 2016



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1990 | 1980 | 1970 | 1960 | 1950 | 1940 | 1930 | 1920 | 1917

  • Online payment is introduced for selected programs
  • Gord Bamford’s “Rural Roots Run Deep” fundraiser is launched
  • 4-H Branch in partnership with the 4-H Alberta Council initiates a Member Recruitment and Retention Survey and Report
  • Digital Photography is introduced as a project
  • Clubs were able to make payments online
  • Tilley School becomes the second school-based 4-H club
  • Three new articles are added to the Leading the Way series:  Purchasing Club Assets, Starting a 4-H Club in Your Community, and What’s new on the 4-H Website?
  • The 4-H Branch combines with Agriculture Education Branch to become the 4-H and Agriculture Education Branch
  • Alberta 4-Hers participate in Farm Credit Canada’s Drive Away Hunger Campaign
  • The 4-H Foods project, which was previously delivered in levels, becomes the first project to have its resource materials combined into and delivered through one manual
  • The Marketing Action Committee (MAC) is formed at the directive of the 4-H Alberta Council in an effort to steer projects that promote 4-H and retain membership.
  • Career and Technology Studies (CTS) is approved - 4-H can officially be used towards high school credits
  • First on-line club registrations were received
  • Year of the District Council training materials developed and used
  • Key Member Program was launched
  • 4-H Alberta Magazine became the primary publication
  • Opened 4-H Time Capsule buried at the Alberta 4-H Centre in 1980; buried another time capsule to be opened in 2030
  • Visual Arts pilot project launched
  • 4-H Fun pack, Meeting pack, Music pack and Marketing pack is available to clubs
  • Theater Arts project developed
  • Provincial 4‑H Presentations first held
  • Bison project material available
  • Students in Agriculture Award program was launched with a cheque for ($1 million dollars) being received by the 4‑H Foundation of Alberta from Alberta Agriculture
  • Exchange project introduced
  • Alternative Livestock (Llama and Alpaca, Bison, Ostrich and Rhea) projects introduced
  • Entrepreneur project introduced
  • Minimum age to become a member was lowered from 10 to 9
  • Grant MacEwan Environmental Centre at Battle Lake was opened
  • Key Leader Program was launched
  • The Cloverleaf Quarterly was launched as the primary publication for 4‑H families
  • Showcase 92, a celebration of 75 years of 4‑H in Alberta, was held in Calgary
  • 4‑H Radio spots involving 4‑H members first broadcasted
  • 4‑H Ambassador Program launched
  • Awards of Excellence - Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum were introduced as part of the ATB Financial Program
  • The People Developing People program was launched
  • Dorm facility was opened at Battle Lake
  • Lodge opened its doors for camping at Battle Lake
  • Computer project introduced
  • The Leadership through Counseling Seminar evolved through an amalgamation of counselor training weekends and Junior Leadership Seminar
  • Time Capsule buried at the Alberta 4‑H Centre during a rally
  • '4‑H News Roundup' a radio broadcast which lasted until 1988 broadcast 4‑H news across Alberta
  • First 4‑H camp held at the 4‑H Centre
  • Horse Sense was established
  • now known as Horse Classic
  • Canine project is available
  • 143 acres of natural land was purchased at Battle Lake to develop the Alberta 4‑H Centre
  • 60th anniversary of 4‑H celebrated at the Alberta 4‑H Centre
  • Camp programs first held at the Alberta 4‑H Centre
  • Provincial Multi Species Judging Seminar started
  • First Provincial Public Speaking competitions were held
  • Highway Cleanup started
  • Provincial Beef Heifer Show was initiated
  • Pheasant project was initiated in partnership with Fish and Wildlife
  • Range management project created
  • The 4‑H Foundation of Alberta was created to facilitate the acquisition of property to build a 4‑H facility which would provide the base for the personal development of Alberta's rural youth
  • The 4‑H program was transferred back to Alberta Agriculture under the Home Economics and 4‑H Branch
  • The 4‑H Alberta/NWT Ag development tour is started
  • A new department, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife, became the new government home for 4‑H
  • Apiculture project was introduced
  • Canine project was started
  • Speech Arts, Small Engine and Snowmobile projects introduced
  • The Alberta 4‑H Council officially formed
  • The 4‑H Hall of Fame was instituted
  • The minimum age to become a 4‑H member was lowered from 12 to 10
  • Crafts, Outdoorsman, Rabbit, Veterinary Science and Woodworking were approved as new projects
  • 4‑H became a part of the government department of Culture, Youth and Recreation
  • Junior Leader, self determined, and photography projects launched
  • Alberta celebrated its 50th Anniversary - A Centennial 4‑H Jamboree that had 3,000 of Alberta's 9,000 club members participating
  • A Cairn was unveiled and a tree was planted to commemorate 50 years of 4‑H work at Olds College
  • An automotives project for members 14 and older was started
  • The tractor project was introduced
  • Light Horse project was introduced
  • Alberta 4‑H Conservation Camp started (discontinued in 1997)
  • Multi project Clubs were introduced
  • Award trips for leaders were introduced
  • Premiers Award was first presented to an outstanding 4‑H member
  • The first regional council - Edmonton (involving three district councils) started
  • In celebration of 50 years of 4‑H in Canada, the Royal Bank sponsored an Inter-provincial 4‑H Exchange which still continues today
  • 4‑H Club Time a weekly 4‑H television program was launched
  • 4‑H adopted the green and white colors
  • Sugar Beets and Sweet Corn projects started
  • 4‑H returned to Agriculture's Extension Branch
  • Advanced beef projects were introduced
  • First use of junior judges (4‑H members and alumni) at livestock achievement days - emphasis on junior leadership and training
  • Beef project expanded to include carcass grading and ribbon branding
  • Provincial Selections program established to select Alberta 4‑H Award winners (initially called Provincial Eliminations, Changed to Provincial Competitions now named Selections)
  • The 4‑H pledge was officially adopted
  • The motto, 'Learn to do by Doing' first used
  • Both Canadian Council and Alberta changed to use the name 4‑H
  • First Alumni club organized at U of A campus
  • First District Council was organized in Camrose
  • Clubs decided to have official uniforms
  • First Provincial Dairy Show was held
  • Adoption of the Name
  • Alberta Junior Farm and Home Clubs
  • Establishment of forage clubs and the Provincial Junior Seed Fair
  • Club Week program was established and held at Olds
  • Poultry clubs were introduced
  • First Leadership Conference involving club leaders was held at Olds
  • Club members became responsible for running project/club meetings with "an opening, a business section, an educational session, and a fun session"
  • Girls' Garden Club formed at Brooks
  • Girls club work expanded to include clothing, foods and home decoration
  • Formation of the Extension Branch within the Department of Agriculture
  • First Beef Breeding project established in the St. Paul area
  • Alberta Department of Agriculture accepted as a member of the Canadian Council on Boys' and Girls' Club Work
  • Canadian Council on Boys' and Girls' Club Work was formed
  • Field crops clubs resulted in the use of local volunteer leaders
  • Objective written which confirmed the main purpose of club work was the training the rural youth received
  • Grain project was started
  • First name change to Boys' and Girls' Livestock clubs
  • Dairy project introduced
  • Poultry project introduced but not officially recognized until 1942
  • First public speaking contests involving 81 participants took place. These contests were designed to "establish confidence and freedom of speech in girls and boys when appearing before large gatherings"
  • Junior Farmers Club was organized
  • Lethbridge district established the first sheep club
  • Lethbridge District established the first beef club
  • Mr. W. J. Elliott established the first club for boys and girls in Alberta
  • The Olds Junior Pig Club (introduction of the swine project)

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