4-H University of Maine  
 Cooperative Extension Youth Programs
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Name:           4-H

                      University of Maine

                      Cooperative Extension

Address:       Lisa Phelps

                      4-H Program Administrator

                      University of Maine

                      Cooperative Extension

                      103 Libby Hall

                      Orono, Maine 04469

Website:        umaine.edu/4h/

Email:            lisa.phelps@maine.edu

Phone:           1-800-287-0274

Products and Services:


-camps and learning centers



-afterschool programs

-leadership development

-leadership programs in Washington, D.C.

-programs based in STEM - science,

   technology, engineering, math

-Operation Military Kids

-animal science

-annual Maine 4-H Days - Windsor Fairgrounds

What Makes 4-H Unique?

In a project which attempts to capture many of the different agricultural undertakings taking place in Maine, it seemed fitting to share a little history about the University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension 4-H program.  Because of the efforts of the various 4-H clubs and programs that have been established throughout the state, many young adults in Maine have been encouraged to pursue careers relating to agriculture or to raise animals or establish their own farms or gardens.

A special thanks goes out to Maine 4-H Program Administrator Lisa Phelps for sharing the great information found in a bulletin about the history of the 4-H in Maine entitled Boys’and Girls’ 4-H Clubs in Maine, that was written by Clarence A. Day in 1933.  It provides a wonderful background of the origins of 4-H in Maine.  Several of the photos from the early days of the organization have been included in this profile so that readers can get a glimpse of the focus of 4-H during the early years.  4-H has a rich history in Maine. It plays a significant role in the advancement of agriculture and many opportunities for young boys and girls, since it is the largest youth development organization in the United States.

The Cooperative Extension Service, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the people of rural Maine officially pooled their efforts in 1913 to offer 4-H agricultural programs to men; home economics programs to women; and agriculture and home economics programs to young boys and girls.  The mission of the 4-H program has always been to “develop the head, heart, hands, and health” of the members.  The club emblem illustrates the mission with the four “H’s” that have been placed on each leaf of the four-leaf clover.

The 4-H program in Maine reached their one-hundred-year milestone in 2013. Nearly 30,000 young boys and girls have participated in 4-H programs in Maine over the past one hundred years. Some of the memorabilia from the early days of the 4-H movement in Maine can be observed by visiting the Page Farm and Home Museum on the campus of the University of Maine at Orono.  Displays with 4-H photos and programs and souvenirs from special 4-H events can be enjoyed.

In his bulletin describing the history of the 4-H in Maine, Clarence A. Day discussed how back in 1916, the Maine Canners’ Association offered $2,525 in prizes to 4-H members who raised sweet corn.  With such a generous incentive, many young boys enrolled in the sweet corn project!  With the onset of World War I, the need for food production increased and membership in 4-H clubs skyrocketed.

There have always been 4-H programs that have encouraged farming endeavors.  Some clubs form a focus on growing crops, while others specialize in the raising of certain animals such as dairy cows, beef, dogs, poultry, goats, horses, pigs, working steer, or sheep.  Many 4-H Animal Science clubs participate in local and state fairs and compete on the regional and national levels.

As the years have passed, the 4-H program in Maine has done an excellent job of keeping up with the many changes that have taken place in the world.  The organization has expanded to include a variety of learning experiences.  In 2013, 4-H members had the opportunity to enjoy Robotics Expos workshops that were led by professionals and college students who work with robotics. A 4-H Tech Wizard program was introduced so that youth from eight to seventeen years of age could focus on technology projects.

The 4-H Afterschool Academy has trained 380 after-school providers and reached 15,000 youths.  A SciGirls Training program has exhibited a strong commitment to gender equity in encouraging young girls and boys to become involved with STEM -science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  Expanded Learning Opportunities STEM programs are offered every Tuesday,Wednesday, and Friday at the 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond, and every Tuesday and Wednesday at Molly Ockett Middle School in Fryeburg.  Middle school students have partnered with local at-risk youths to engage in experiential learning programs.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension hosts camps and learning centers throughout the state of Maine.  There is a variety of programs at Blueberry Cove in Lincolnville, Maine, including Day Camps for four to twelve-year-olds; Residential Camp for eight to seventeen-year-olds; Sailing Camps for nine to seventeen-year-olds; Island and Sea Adventures for twelve to fifteen-year-olds; and Captain Quests for fifteen to seventeen-year-olds.

At Tanglewood 4-H Camp there is a Day Camp

program for four to eight-year-olds; Residential Camp for eight to fourteen-year-olds; Day/Overnight Bridge for eight to fourteen-year-olds; Adventure Trips for nine-to-fifteen-year-olds; Leadership Programs for fourteen-to-seventeen-year-olds; and Maine Military Adventure Camps for thirteen-to-seventeen-year-olds.

The Bryant Pond 4-H Camp & Learning Center offers Day Camps, Woodscraft Programs, Naturalist Programs, Primitive Programs, Maine Woods Adventure Programs; Maine Military Adventure Camps, Operation Military Kids, Teen Leadership Programs. The E.L.L.M.S. (Environmental Living and Learning for Maine Students) and Green S.T.E.M. programs take place at Bryant Pond.  There are also camps that focus on archery, hunting, and shotgun and rifle shooting.

Two impressive garden-related outreach programs that the University of Maine Cooperative Extension sponsors are Maine Harvest for Hunger and Kids Can Grow.   The Maine Harvest for Hunger project provides fresh fruits and vegetables to needy individuals and families in Maine. The Kids Can Grow program is a hands-on gardening program for children from seven to twelve years of age.  4-H volunteers or Master Gardeners are matched with the young gardeners and serve as their mentors. The children learn firsthand about planting and growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The produce raised in the Kids Can Grow class gardens is donated through Maine Harvest for Hunger to local food pantries or shelters.  The produce raised in the children’s 3x5 raised-bed home garden is shared with their family and friends.

Since 1961, the Maine 4-H Foundation has supported the work of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension 4-H program.  In 2013, they hope to raise $100,000 for 4-H programs in celebration of the one hundred years of 4-H in Maine.  For additional information about funding

and volunteer opportunities with the Maine 4-H Foundation, check out their website:


Congratulations to the 4-H program of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension on their one-hundred-year anniversary.  This youth organization has provided so many opportunities for the youth of Maine to learn about farming, gardening, the outdoors, and animal science.  Many adults participate in community service and civic engagement because of their involvement as youngsters in 4-H .  Volunteers have proven critical to the success of 4-H.  The development of the “head, hearts, hand, and health” of the members of the 4-H program continues to be the focus of this venerable organization as it enjoys its centennial.

Note: Just a tiny sampling of 4-H Clubs have been included in this profile.  If additional 4-H Clubs in Maine would like to be represented, they are encouraged to send information and photos to the Unique Maine Farms’ project through email by contacting Mary Quinn Doyle at: mqdoyle@gmail.com

Aldermere Achievers 4-H from Rockport

Alan-Dee 4-H Dairy Club in Wiscasset

Curly Tails 4-H Club, Fryeburg

Alan-Dee 4-H Dairy Club in Wiscasset

Photo courtesy of Coastal Clovers 4-H Club, York

Photo courtesy of Coastal Clovers 4-H Club, York

Adrian Knox, former 4-H member of the

4-H Four Leaf Clover Club, Shapleigh, is shown with his prize-winning steers.

Display at Page
Farm & Home Museum4-H_Display_-Page.html
Dairy 4-H4-H_Alan_Dee.html
Curly Tails
Four Leaf
Clover 4-H4-H_Shapleigh.html

Zach’s Farm in York has generously supported the Coastal Clovers 4-H for many years.

Aldermere Achievers 4-H from Rockport

A photo of a young 4-H member that appeared in the Boys’and Girls’

4-H Clubs in Maine, that was written by Clarence A. Day in 1933.