When you host through States’ 4-H, you partner with one of the largest youth-serving organizations in America. 4-H is built on a model of positive youth development. We see hosting as an educational opportunity not just for the delegate, but also for the host family, and entire host community. States’ 4-H programs focus on life skill development, including communication, tolerance, respect for others, and engaged citizenship. Our vast and multi-layered support network means there is always someone available to help if you have a question, problem, or just need advice on how to handle a particular situation. We recognize that opening your home to a teenager from a different country is a big change for most families, and we are here to support you every step of the way!
There are many great reasons to participate in States’ 4-H programs. Here are just a few!
Proven Track Record
- States’ 4-H provides governance, oversight, international program development, consistency, sustainability, fiscal management, and consultation.
- States’ 4-H has over 45 years of organizational experience in the field of international exchange, helping nearly 60,000 delegates and their host families experience a cultural exchange.
- States’ 4-H works with well-established partners who have a strong history of excellent program management and support for international education.
- States’ 4-H conducts periodic national impact evaluations of youth and host families that show the programs’ effectiveness. This data can fulfill your university’s desire for metrics and demonstrate the value of international programs. We’re happy to share our data with you—just ask!
4-H Focus on Youth Development
- Great way to expand the global citizenship component of your 4-H program.
- States’ 4-H partners with 4-H organizations in other countries whenever possible. The participants enjoy sharing 4-H ideas, projects, activities, and the exchange helps to revitalize and promote 4-H in other countries.
- Programs are based on 4-H principles of “learning by doing” and hands on experience. Delegates learn leadership skills, respect, and understanding of others through cultural competencies.
- Programs intentionally teach life skills like communication, cooperation, and character building.
- Programs are backed by research—there is curriculum and project information available for students to help with the learning long after the exchange program is over.
- Outbound programs are immersion programs as opposed to sightseeing trips. Youth live with a local host family and truly immerse themselves in the culture for a rich, educational experience. Many high schools have groups that travel internationally (language, etc.), but usually those groups stay together and have a “tourist” experience. States’ 4-H participants encounter daily life as part of a family, emphasizing the cultural experience.
Year-Round Dedicated Support Staff
- States’ 4-H is the most efficient and effective way to get involved in international exchange. Your state receives full administrative support from States’ 4-H National Office in Seattle. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. All educational and administrative materials are provided.
- 24/7 emergency support while program is in progress.
Risk Management and Liability
- All short-term programs provide adult chaperones during the entire exchange program who not only travel on the international flight, but stay in country (with host families) to monitor delegates’ well-being and safety.
- Chaperones receive advance orientation and training on all program policies and procedures.
- State Coordinators receive ongoing training and support from States’ 4-H National Office.
- States’ 4-H programs follow established host family screening guidelines for risk management considerations.
Opportunities for Younger Participants
- States’ 4-H believes in the importance of getting youth involved at a young age to share their culture, customs, and heritage, and establish friendship between delegates from other countries and 4-H host families. These experiences will shape future life choices and have great potential to form long-term positive attitudes towards global understanding.
- The Japan Outbound program accepts delegates as young as 12. There are many other exchange organizations but not many of them provide homestay opportunities for middle schoolers.
Minimum Financial Impact to States
- States’ 4-H is the most cost efficient way to get involved in international exchange. For Inbound Programs, States’ 4-H pays a management fee to the state to cover expenses, so it’s not a financial burden on the extension office. States’ 4-H operates highly cost-effective Outbound programs, which you will find are significantly less expensive than most other organizations for the quality of services provided.