Kentucky 4-H Membership Policy: a young person is to become a 4-H member within the county where he/she is a resident or attends school.


Participation close to home usually allows the young person and his/her family to become more fully engaged in 4-H and more actively involved in the greater community.  As the term “cooperative” implies, Extension relies on families, volunteers, local government, community partners and individuals to make 4-H a reality within each of the 120 counties.  Working with local volunteers, 4-H agents and councils are to place a high priority on providing educational opportunities within each county that meet the needs and desires of young people and that meet the requirement of having programs in at least six core curriculum areas.

Generally, where a young person participates in 4-H becomes an issue when competition is involved; where a young person is a member becomes important to fair and ethical competition.  It is assumed that a young person is a member of 4-H in the county of residence or county where the young person attends school.  To compete as part of any other county’s 4-H program, a transfer of membership must be clearly established through a request by the member, approval by the agents and councils involved and appropriate documentation.


There are two situations where exceptions to the general membership policy may be considered by the counties involved:

#1  If a program or project in which the 4-H’er is interested is not available in the county of residence or in the county where the 4-H’er goes to school

#2  If family situations exist that make it very unlikely that a young person can be involved locally. For example: When parents divorce, children may live part-time in two counties.  When individuals have shared custody or provide custodial care, children may spend significant time in two counties.  Home school parents may band together to form a club so their children can be part of a group.  A young person with a disability might function better in one group/situation than he/she would in another.


When competition is involved and situations which warrant consideration for an exception are present, the agents and councils in the counties involved may choose to allow youth to transfer membership across county lines.  The exceptions provide flexibility for 4-H agents to work with one another to conduct the highest quality 4-H experiences for Kentucky youth but it also allows the counties to decline.  This policy protects the right of counties to place limits on how many youth they choose to allow to cross county lines.  It is the 4-H agent’s and 4-H council’s right in a given county to say they do NOT wish to participate in cross county lines projects and programs, and that right should be respected by the petitioning families, 4-H agents and county 4-H councils in the involved counties.

When competition is a possibility, the following parameters are to enter into the decision of whether youth are allowed to transfer 4-H membership to a county other than the county of residence or where youth attend school.

  • Determination of whether a young person may cross a county line is to be done on a case by case basis.
  • What’s best for the child should be the primary consideration in handling each request.
  • Crossing should NOT be done (a) with the intent of gaining competitive or financial edge, (b) “because another county has a better program,” or (c) because the member or family members are unable to get along with others.
  • Youth cross only for the projects or portions of projects which are not available in the county of residence/where youth attend school.  4-H membership and participation for all other 4-H events and activities will remain in their county of residence or the county where they go to school.
  • Youth crossing into another county must meet all related deadlines (registration, ownership, and otherwise) for the county by which they wish to be accepted.
  • When counties decide to share resources or "cooperate", membership is not transferred.  If competition is involved:
    • Youth compete on behalf of their county of residence/where they attend school.
    • Teams are to be made up of kids from only one county. (County A may have a team and County B may have a team.)
  • When membership is "transferred" for a specific project/portion of a project,
    • Youth compete through the county which has accepted them.
    • Teams may be made up of kids from more than one county and registered as part of the county by which they have been accepted.
    • Transferred members are to carry a copy of the approved request form to each competitive event to verify county of membership.
  • A member who crosses county lines cannot compete in the same project in other counties.
  • Crossing county lines should not become a common occurrence.  Councils and agents are to continually recruit volunteers to expand the program locally so that crossing county lines to participate in a project not available becomes unnecessary. District Directors will monitor the number and reasons why youth are permitted to cross county lines.
  • Owning land or property in another county does not qualify as a place of residence.
  • Agreements are to be processed at the beginning of the project experience for the year, allowing youth an adequate opportunity to participate in educational experiences in the county accepting them.
  • Crossing must be agreeable to both counties involved; otherwise, crossing is not permitted.
  • Once an agreement is finalized, it will remain in place until August 31, the end of the program year.