The 4-H Youth program strives to improve the quality of life for Mississippi 4-H'ers by developing the potential of young people and by providing "hands-on" (experiential) educational programs. Program priorities identified include leadership development, life skills training, developing positive self-esteem, and empowering volunteers. Programs are delivered through local county Extension offices to volunteer leaders.
The 4-H Symbol
4-H is best identified by its green four-leaf clover with an H on each leaf. The four Hs on this emblem stand for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. These words emphasize the basis of the four-fold development of young people involved in 4-H.
Head: 4-H'ers focus on thinking, making decisions, and understanding and gaining knowledge.
Heart: 4-H'ers are concerned with the welfare of others and accept the responsibilities of citizenship and developing attitudes and values.
Hands: 4-H'ers use their hands to learn new skills and develop pride and respect for their own work.
Health: 4-H'ers develop and practice healthy living physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially.
The Four Essential Elements of 4-H
Mastery - By exploring 4-H projects and activities, 4-H'ers master skills to make positive career and life choices. 4-H provides a safe environment to make mistakes and receive feedback, and young people can discover their capabilities while meeting new challenges.
Generosity - By participating in 4-H community service and citizenship activities, 4-H'ers can connect to communities and learn to give back to others. These connections help young people find and fulfill their life's purpose.
Independence - By exercising independence through 4-H leadership opportunities, 4-H'ers mature in self-discipline and responsibility, learn to better understand themselves, and become independent thinkers.
Belonging - Through 4-H, young people can develop long-term consistent relationships with adults other than their parents and learn that they are cared about by and connected to others. 4-H gives young people the opportunity to feel physically and emotionally safe in a group setting.
4-H grew out of the progressive education movement in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Rural school principals and superintendents wanted to teach their students about the material they would need to succeed in the business world.
At the same time, agricultural colleges and experiment stations were accumulating scientific knowledge that could improve productivity and the standard of living for farmers, but farmers showed little interest in these "book farming" methods. These professors thought that teaching farmers' children improved agricultural methods might allow the information to reach the farmers.
Rural school principals and superintendents teamed with agricultural college researchers to form corn clubs in most eastern and southern states at this time.
W. H. "Corn Club" Smith was instrumental in forming Mississippi's first corn clubs. In 1907, Smith received a franking privilege and a salary of $1 per year from the United States Department of Agriculture. This was the first time the USDA had been involved in a youth program and established a three-way partnership of county, state, and federal governments working together.
While other states had corn clubs before Mississippi, none had the federal partnership Mississippi had. This is the basis of Mississippi's claim to be the birthplace of 4-H.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi 4-H competitions continue to help "make the best better" more than a century after the first corn clubs for boys and tomato clubs for girls were formed in the state.
Hundreds of 4-H members converged on Mississippi State University for three days of competitions, workshops, tours and entertainment from May 31 to June 2.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Three Mississippi State University Conservation Camps are giving Mississippi middle and high schoolers a chance to explore wildlife, the outdoors, and careers in science and nature this summer.
The MSU Extension Service and the MSU College of Forest Resources have offered the Conservation Camps since 2005.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A long-time volunteer with the Mississippi 4-H program is the American Youth Horse Council Adult Leader of the Year.
Tom McBeath of Union, Mississippi, received the honor at the recent American Youth Horse Council symposium in Wakefield, Massachusetts. He has spent nearly four decades working with youth to establish strong foundations for successful experiences with horses.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Rocheryl Ware sees members of her 4-H Junior Master Wellness Volunteer group as catalysts that can help change Mississippi's health landscape.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mariah Morgan remembers inquisitive 8-year-olds, just learning how to program beginner robots for 4-H projects. The rest of the world now sees one of them as a team of champion programmers.
Wait For It, the Rankin County 4-H robotics club, just earned top honors at the FIRST Tech Challenge at Minute Maid Park in Houston. FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."