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About 4-H

The grouped 4-H icons - head, heart, hands, health

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. Learn more about how to join. 

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 History

An image of 4-H'ers in a corn field.
This image shows young people holding a 4-H banner.
This image shows a man and child in a field.

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. 

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Publications

News

Trays of food are on a table.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Food and Health, Food November 22, 2021

Good times and good food lead to unwanted holiday weight gain for many people, but the year can end on a positive note when a few guidelines are followed.

A woman kneels behind a planter on a brick patio.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Nutrition and Wellness November 2, 2021

For every reason to eat excessively, someone is pushing a diet plan to reverse the scales, but there’s more to a healthy weight than consuming fewer calories and burning more energy. Weight gain can be brought on by the holiday season, the “freshman 15,” or the first year of marriage. In recent months, many have struggled with the “COVID 19” -- weight gain brought on by mental health struggles and isolation

Five people pose for a photo on a football field.
Filed Under: 4-H, Join 4-H, Support 4-H September 17, 2021

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Harry Martin helped create the blueprint for major industrial and economic development in Lee County, and now he is laying another foundation for something big -- this time for a Mississippi 4-H statewide scholarship campaign.

Martin partnered with the Mississippi State University Extension Center for 4-H Youth Development to establish the Harry Martin 4-H Youth Leadership Endowed Scholarship. His support was recognized Sept. 11, when he was presented a commemorative football during the game between MSU and North Carolina State University.

Medical worker in protective clothing takes a throat swab from a male patient.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Health, Coronavirus September 10, 2021

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The risk of infection and hospitalization from COVID-19 is significantly higher in unvaccinated people, but some fully vaccinated people are also being infected due to the contagiousness of the delta variant of the virus.

Though no vaccine is 100% effective, it is the best method to avoid contracting the virus or suffering a severe illness from a breakthrough infection, said Dr. Tami Brooks, Starkville physician and retired professor of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Medicine.

Nine-banded armadillo
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife, Urban and Backyard Wildlife September 2, 2021

Armadillos are one of the most unique looking critters out there. These animals are covered in silver, armor-like plates that protect them The word “armadillo” actually means “little armored one” in Spanish!  

Success Stories

A man wearing a colorful plaid shirt stands in front of a desk.
4-H, Leadership, Volunteers, Agriculture, Livestock
Volume 7 Number 3

Since he was featured in the first issue of Extension Matters magazine in 2015, Nic Carter has continued his involvement in 4-H, breeding show pigs and attending the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions when he can.

A sign marking the entrance to the Heritage Demonstration Garden with children standing in the background.
Leadership, Community, Master Gardener
Volume 7 Number 3

Warren County Master Gardeners share the Heritage Demonstration Garden

It’s the team, the community of Master Gardeners and the people that I talk to who are so excited to learn. They keep me coming back.

A smiling young girl wearing a floral blouse standing in front of a military museum exhibit.
4-H, Leadership, Youth Projects
Volume 7 Number 3

Mississippi 4-H’er receives prestigious recognition

While volunteering is nothing new for Rankin County 4-H’er Abbye Buchanan, her participation as lead ambassador for 4-H in the Red Cross Totes for Hope campaign is an experience that stands out from the rest.

Two masked women with glasses and brown hair holding a brown bag.
4-H, Commercial Horticulture, Healthy Homes Initiative, Food and Health, Health, Coronavirus, Nutrition
Volume 7 Number 2

Extension Brown Bags flying off shelves in DeSoto County

Mississippi State University Extension agents in DeSoto County are partnering with public librarians throughout the county to distribute Extension Brown Bags to members of the community. Extension has offered a range of educational programs at these libraries, so joining with them to expand the giveaways was a natural choice.

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Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 7:00am
Thursday, January 2, 2020 - 7:00am
Thursday, December 26, 2019 - 7:00am
Friday, December 13, 2019 - 7:00am
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