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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

Sick man lying on sofa checking his temperature at home in the living room
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Family, Food and Health, Health December 7, 2022

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Flu hospitalizations in the U.S. have reached the highest level in a decade, but it is not too late to get protected during these peak months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated 34 U.S. states and the District of Columbia as having the highest levels of flu activity possible on its scale during the week ending November 26. Mississippi was one of the first states to reach that threshold early that month.

Harvey Gordon.
Filed Under: 4-H October 3, 2022

A man who spent his whole life helping others become their best selves is being honored this fall by induction into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. Harvey Lee Gordon, Sr., originally of Leland, Mississippi in Washington County, served as a 4-H state specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service from 1997 until he retired in 2014.

A mixture of vegetables.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Food and Health, Nutrition September 30, 2022

The holidays are coming up and we all know what that means. Food, food, and more food! During these festivities, it’s important to remember to eat your vegetables, too.

Filed Under: 4-H, Junior Master Wellness Volunteer September 27, 2022

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A Mississippi 4-H health and wellness program is expanding after receiving a $100,000 grant from a large health care and insurance company.

UnitedHealthCare awarded the grant to the Mississippi State University Extension Service to expand the Junior Master Wellness Volunteer program -- or JrMWV. This program equips young people with health messages that help improve health literacy and lead to choices and lifestyle changes for a healthier Mississippi.

fruit smoothies
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Health September 12, 2022

Did you know that some key lifestyle changes can help decrease our risk of cognitive decline or poor brain health? Check out these five tips to begin loving your brain better.

Success Stories

A sign that reads “Welcome 4-H’ers” and has the Mississippi State Extension logo.
4-H
Volume 8 Number 3

State 4-H Congress, held at Mississippi State University in June, hosted more than 300 Mississippi 4-H’ers from every county. Young people were inspired through networking and competing at Congress.

Two groups of people stand next to each other, smiling.
4-H, Youth Projects, Master Gardener, Family, Children and Parenting, Lawn and Garden, Youth Gardening
Volume 8 Number 3

The Pearl River County 4-H Junior Master Gardeners have made some special additions to Poplarville City Park. A new pollinator garden planted in raised beds features a wildflower area, a native plant area, and an herb area.

A large group photo of several young children and adults wearing kayaking gear and several kayaks of different colors in the grass in front of them.
4-H, Support 4-H
Volume 8 Number 3

Leaders at Walmart in Louisville had already noticed Facebook posts announcing the new Winston County 4-H Kayak and Fishing Club when front-end coach Nikki Marshall realized they had too many life jackets and paddles in stock.

A smiling young girl and a small, white dog with a blue bow on one ear.
4-H
Volume 8 Number 3

At just 10 years old, Annalexa Moore is learning how to be a responsible pet owner, thanks to the 4-H Dog Club in Lauderdale County.

A woman wearing a white shirt with red and blue stars holds a potted plant in a garden.
Leadership, Community, Master Gardener, Flower Gardens
Volume 8 Number 3

The annual Christmas Cactus Showcase in Brooksville each December features anywhere from 45 to 60 colorful cacti, most of which are under the year-round care of Pat Hill.

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