4H Youth Work

In 4H Finland, children and young people have the opportunity to grow into active, entrepreneurial and responsible adults.

The different stages of children’s development are considered in the varying activities focusing on a method called ‘learning by doing’. This method is based on the ideas of an American educator John Dewey.

4H gives children and young people an opportunity to find their own strengths as well as focuses on fostering entrepreneurship and preparing young people for working life. Entrepreneurship is learnt through the experiential learning model of educational theorist David A. Kolb.

4H Finland is a constantly evolving youth organization that supports children’s and young people’s life skills. 4H is one of Finland’s leading organizations providing activities for young people. Activities in Swedish are provided by Finlands svenska 4H.

Three Steps to Employment model

Three Steps to Employment is a model that comprises the key elements of 4H youth work which are group activities, education and training, employment and young people’s 4H Enterprises. A 4H club provides practical skills and knowledge with the help of trained instructors. Training and courses provided by 4H help develop these competencies further.

Group activities – skills for everyday life

The most important form of group activities is the 4H club for children aged between 6 and 12 years. The 4H associations organise these activities locally. The clubs are run by volunteers and young leaders who are trained for the work by the 4H. For most of the young leaders, this is their first working experience. In 4H clubs, children learn everyday life skills as well as basic entrepreneurial skills. A sustainable lifestyle is an important aspect of all 4H activities.

One of the most important tools for children, youngsters and volunteer leaders is the continually renewed and developing TOP task bank (https://www.toptehtavat.fi/). There are over 1 000 pedagogical tasks for primary school children in the task bank.

The clubs’ activities are boosted annually by the 4H Club of the Year competition.

4H Academy – skills for working life

Young people over the age of 13 learn important skills for working life at our courses such as ‘License to work’, ‘Dogsitter’ and ‘Club leader’. 4H Academy is a versatile environment where members have an opportunity to showcase their skills, for example by gaining ECTS credits and digital badges. This environment is based on the ‘learning by doing’ method.

Those who are interested in becoming 4H entrepreneurs, can learn about entrepreneurship and founding their own business at the 4H entrepreneurial courses in 4H Academy.

Employment and 4H Enterprises

Young people aged 13 and older can find work either directly through the 4H organization or with another employer that is partnering with 4H. A young person can find jobs via 4H and those jobs can be offered by citizens, municipalities or companies. 4H takes on all the obligations of the employer. This gives young people an opportunity to get their first experiences in working life.

Young people can also employ themselves by establishing their own 4H Enterprise under the guidance of 4H entrepreneurs’ mentors. There are currently about 2000 4H entrepreneurs, and every year the 4H Enterprises of the Year are selected in an exciting competition that draws participants from all over Finland.