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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.

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

A young man kneels next to his goat at the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions.
Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock February 9, 2018

Tyler Branch has been showing goats since he was 8 years old, and all his years of hard work really paid off this week.

Chickasaw County 4-H members placed in the top 10 in consumer decision making at the Western National 4-H Roundup in Denver. Team members (from left) Shelby Abrams, Gracie Vickers, Lessie Vickers and Gage Vanlandingham earned sixth high point team overall, third high team overall, and eighth high team in overall reasons and overall group think. Vickers also placed second in individual high points. They are joined by Mississippi State Extension Service program associate Angie Abrams. (Submitted photo)
Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Livestock January 25, 2018

Mississippi 4-H teams and individual members recently landed several top 10 finishes in a variety of categories when they competed in the Western National 4-H Roundup in Denver.

A group of teenagers pose for a photo celebrating their induction as 4-H Leadership team members.
Filed Under: Collegiate 4-H December 15, 2017

Members of the Hinds County 4-H Leadership team for 2017-2018 were recently selected. The team consists of 4-H’ers in both the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program and the Alcorn State University Extension 4-H program. Team members are selected based on performance in and commitment to the 4-H program and participation in leadership roles in their 4-H clubs, schools and communities. Selected team members will learn about and practice leadership, citizenship and communication skills through various projects.

A small yellow bird holding a worm in its beak while perched on a small tree branch.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education December 15, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter weather makes life more difficult for wildlife, even in the South. Animals must have shelter to survive the potentially deadly effects of ice, snow and freezing rain.

Food can be hard to find in winter. Animals that eat plants or insects have few choices once their food dies with the cold weather or is covered by wintry precipitation. Even predators face food shortages since winter conditions can cause their prey to spend more time in hiding.

Hunter wearing camouflage secures a portable platform to the side of a tree.
Filed Under: 4-H Safety Programs, White-Tailed Deer December 1, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although they are beneficial as a hunting tool to increase visibility, elevated tree stands come with many safety concerns.

Fortunately, it is easier than ever to hunt safely from trees. When using a tree stand, design choice and placement location are your most important decisions. Finding a healthy, large tree with no visible signs of damage or rot is essential when using fixed, permanent or ladder-style tree stands. These stands require a sturdy base to mount and climbing gear to reach ideal hunting height.

Success Stories

An illustration depicts a large yellow chick with a graph showing the number of Salmonella outbreaks since 2000 and includes text instructions to wash hands after handling backyard poultry.
Youth Poultry, Agriculture, Livestock, Poultry

Baby chickens are so cute and cuddly that few people can resist holding them. Unfortunately, as public interest in raising backyard birds has grown so has the number of Salmonella outbreaks in the U.S. (Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

More than 20 newly hatched chickens covered in yellow down bask under warming lamps in a large black tub.
Youth Poultry, Livestock, Poultry

Some people can’t resist the latest spring fashions. Others plant flowers in profusion.
Then there are those, like me, who are highly susceptible to the cheerful chirping of newly hatched chicks. (Photo by Kat Lawrence)

A medical doctor holds a vile of medication and talks to a young man in the Rural Medical and Science Scholars program.
STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Food and Health, Rural Health

Do you know a high school student interested in working in the medical field or a related science career one day?
The Rural Medical and Science Scholars program could be for them.
(Photo by Kevin Hudson)

A young man wearing a cap and checked shirt.
4-H
Volume 4 Number 1

A tale as old as time: A boy’s older relative advises him to join 4-H. He refuses.

A smiling woman in a blue shirt poses for the camera.
4-H
Volume 4 Number 1

Paige Nicholson-Bergeron shares how the 4-H youth development program helped her prepare for both her title of Miss Rodeo America 2014 and her career.*

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 2:00am
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 2:00am
Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 2:00am
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - 2:00am

Contact Your County Office

Your Extension Experts

Assc Dir, FCS & 4H & Ext Prof
Associate Director FCS/4H