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West Virginia 4-H Participation & Enrollment Age Guidelines

Effective October 1, 2023 (Start of the 2023-2024 4-H Year)

2023-2024 4-H Year

October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2024

4-H Members

Youths with birthdates from October 1, 2002, through June 30, 2015.

  • Youth can be a traditional 4-H participant if they are eight years old on, or before, June 30, 2023. Depending upon the event or activity, traditional 4-H participants could be active through twenty-one years of age. The last possible day to be involved will be September 30, 2024 – for anyone who is currently 21 years old on that day.


Youths with birthdates from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2018.

  • Youth can begin participating in the Cloverbud program if they are five years old on, or before, June 30, 2023. They will participate in the Cloverbud program until they are old enough to be classified as a traditional 4-H participant (below).


In West Virginia, the 4-H programming and reporting year runs from October 1st through September 30th. Young people between the ages of 5 and 21 years old can participate in a variety of 4-H Youth Development experiences offered through the West Virginia University Extension Service during that time. These experiences include various programs, activities, and events in the following delivery modes: School Enrichment, Special Interest/Short Term, Camping, Club Work, and Afterschool.

West Virginia 4-H age guidelines were updated in the 2018-2019 4-H year for both Cloverbud and traditional 4-H participants. These changes were implemented to align with updates that were made to the West Virginia State Department of Education’s change in the starting age of youth entering public school. The starting age for youth who begin participation in the new 4-H year on October 1, 2023, is based on their age as of June 30, 2023. Please note that some activities and programs have specific age restrictions.

Age Guidelines Chart

Birthdate Range of Possible Participants First Possible Date of 4-H Participation as Cloverbud First Possible Date of 4-H Participation as Official 4-H Member Last Possible Date of 4-H Participation
Oct 1, 2002 - Sept 30, 2003 September 30, 2024
Oct 1, 2003 - Sept 30, 2004 September 30, 2025
Oct 1, 2004 - Sept 30, 2005 September 30, 2026
Oct 1, 2005 - Sept 30, 2006 September 30, 2027
Oct 1, 2006 - Sept 30, 2007 September 30, 2028
Oct 1, 2007 - Sept 30, 2008 September 30, 2029
Oct 1, 2008 - Sept 30, 2009 September 30, 2030
Oct 1, 2009 - Sept 30, 2010 September 30, 2031
Oct 1, 2010 - Sept 30, 2011 September 30, 2032
Oct 1, 2011 - Sept 30, 2012 September 30, 2033
Oct 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013
September 30, 2034
July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014 September 30, 2035
July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015 October 1, 2023 September 30, 2036
July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016
October 1, 2024 September 30, 2037
July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017 October 1, 2025 September 30, 2038
July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018 October 1, 2023 October 1, 2026 September 30, 2039
July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019 October 1, 2024 October 1, 2027 September 30, 2040
July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 October 1, 2025 October 1, 2028 September 30, 2041
July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021 October 1, 2026 October 1, 2029 September 30, 2042
July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022 October 1, 2027 October 1, 2030 September 30, 2043
July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023 October 1, 2028 October 1, 2031 September 30, 2044
July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024 October 1, 2029 October 1, 2032 September 30, 2045

Age Guidelines for Common Classifications, Delivery Modes and Special Interest Groups

Teen Leaders

West Virginia 4-H Teen Leader programs are open to young people currently in grades 6-12. As with our starting age of 4-H participation, the specific focus on school grades in this scenario provides the best opportunity for youth to participate in 4-H Teen Leader activities with their peer groups.

  • With “Middle School” and “High School” definitions varying across the state, counties should focus on youth in grades 6-12. Having youth in 6th grade does mean that youth as young as 11 or 12 could start participating with Teen Leaders with the start of a new 4-H year in October. Participation on the older end of the teen leader spectrum should not go beyond the conclusion of a young person’s senior year in high school.
  • For the 2023-2024 4-H Year:  Most youth in 6th to 12th grade should have a birthday between September 1, 2005, to August 30, 2012, based on the West Virginia Department of Education’s school deadline of September 1 for that specific grade grouping.

Young Adults

Former 4-H teen leaders who have completed high school but who have not yet aged out of 4-H participation should transition fully into 4-H Young Adult programs like Collegiate 4-H, becoming a teen leader mentor, or serving as a 4-H volunteer if the opportunity is available. If they remain in a mentoring role with Teen Leaders, they are not to hold offices or deter the younger teen leaders from making decisions related to the group. It is important to differentiate they are a young adult mentor to the group – not a teen leader member. This ensures younger teens can take on specific teen leadership roles.


All youth participants in 4-H camps must fall within the age range of these guidelines.

County camps will follow the start dates of 4-H participation. Counties will determine on an individual basis if 18-21 year old young adult 4-H participants can participate in county 4-H camping programs as a camper.

Counties will also determine on an individual basis the age cutoffs for younger, intermediate and older 4-H camps.

All State 4-H Camps and any special interest camp will determine participation ages or grades based upon the content, structure and design of the overall camp program and/or facility.

School Enrichment and Afterschool

Any 4-H program that takes place in conjunction with a school before, during or after school will use the grade structure of the school to determine 4-H participation.

West Virginia Based 4-H Competitions

Any current 4-H competition that is organized and administered on a state level will phase from a January 1st birthdate to the June 30th birthdate. The most common examples of these competitions are poster, photo, writing and speaking based contests.

Any local, regional or state level competition that is organized on National level or competes at a National level will use the age, grade or birthdate associated with that competition.

4-H Youth Agriculture Programs

Current 4-H members may participate in all youth agriculture programs and activities.

Age requirements for participants in national 4-H contests is determined by each event. Consult current event rules for age eligibility.

With a majority of regional and National youth agriculture age requirements being based age as of January 1st, we will use this date for record guides, quality assurance training, contests and other programs – unless otherwise noted by the event or program.

4-H Shooting Sports

Current 4-H members may participate in various shooting sports programs and activities. Age requirements for participants in certain disciplines and national 4-H contests is determined by each program or event. Consult current discipline or event rules for age eligibility.

4-H Robotics and Drone Programs

Current 4-H participants may participate in various robotics/drone programs and activities. Age requirements for participants in certain levels or specific contests is determined by each event or governing body. Consult current contests or event rules for age eligibility.