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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension



BuckeyeNext image

BuckeyeNext provides a clearly defined pathways of 4-H community club, project-specific, events and programs available for Ohio young people. Built like a game, the program is fun, engaging, and impactful. It gives youth a way to easily identify the opportunities available through Ohio 4-H, organized their categories of participation, and track their cumulative progress in real-time.


What's the value?

  • Develop the ability to apply career-readiness skills in pursing “what’s next” after completing 4-H and graduating high school.
  • Earn points and badges by tracking your 4-H experience, participate in Ohio 4-H Pathways to the Future events and programs, and simultaneously refine the employability skills.
  • This approach will amplify the Ohio 4-H experiences for you to equip them with the knowledge, experiences, and habits critical to achieving success in the “real-world.”
  • Utilize the platform as an electronic portfolio for 4-H achievement award application, scholarships, post-secondary applications, and more.

Program Overview

BuckeyeNext is comprised of activities, events, project-specific opportunities available through Ohio 4-H. Each activity is associated with points, badges, and levels.

Participants receive points for completing an activity. The standings are updated on a leaderboard where they can compete with their peers.

Achievement Badges
Participants can earn achievement badges in various categories for complete a series of activities. Badges exist for levels, competencies, events, programs, and more.

Exclusively featured with BuckeyeNext:

  • CareerNEXT
  • MikeRowe Foundation Work Ethic

Through the community club experience, activities can be completed across different competencies, and 4-H youth can “level up” to a high level. More points are awarded for activities completed at the higher levels.

  • Spark (Level 1) - The starting point to discover personal skills, a talent, an interest, or a special quality that you are passionate about. We call these things SPARKS in 4-H.
  • Engagement (Level 2) - Sparks spur you to engage in 4-H opportunities and build your networks of peers (and caring adults) who share the same interests! We want you to CREATE your 4-H experience around your spark through local, and regional opportunities.
  • Growth (Level 3) - The "fuel" that powers you to grow and build new skills through your 4-H experience, and to overcome barriers that stand in your way. We want you to continue to GROW within your 4-H experience around your spark through local, and regional opportunities.
  • Mastery (Level 4) - We want all youth to THRIVE! Pursuing your sparks will motivate you to succeed, stay out of trouble, and help you to demonstrate how you've mastered a skill or learned new knowledge throughout your 4-H experience. Our hope your 4-H experience has allowed you to have mastered a set of skills, a talent, or a special quality, while pursing something you are interested. Maybe it will lead you to a desired career path or help you become positive catalysts in your community!
  • Expert (Level 5) - You've mastered it all, but we encourage you to continue to pursue your spark and become a lifelong learner! Being engaged in your sparks contributes to a LARGER sense of purpose in life, GREATER optimism, and HIGHER self-esteem. We hope your 4-H experience has helped you feel a sense of having a place in the world!


NACE Career Readiness Competencies

Developed from the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ research-based career readiness competencies, Ohio 4-H Pathways to the Future created a program to introduce Ohio 4-H youth to a successful transition into “what’s next?” after 4-H and high school.

  • Career & Self-Development
    Proactively develop oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one’s organization.
  • Communication
    Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.
  • Critical Thinking
    Using strategies to analyze and evaluate, assisting in the decision of what to believe.
  • Equity & Inclusion
    Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures.
  • Leadership
    Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.
  • Professionalism
    Demonstrates the adequate behaviors in all environments, understand, and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.
  • Teamwork
    Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.
  • Technology
    Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.





4-H members, are you ready explore your path with BuckeyeNext?

Click here to enroll!


For more information, contact Margo Overholt-Seckel at