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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

Publication Number: IS0456
Publication Number: P3299
Publication Number: P1011
Publication Number: M1917

News

Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Children and Parenting, Environment October 31, 2018

Mississippi State University received three grants Oct. 22 totaling almost $900,000 to enhance the advancement of scientific and environmental literacy among children and young people living near the Gulf Coast.

Black and white Hostein cows and light brown Jersey cows graze on green grass.
Filed Under: Youth Livestock, Dairy October 19, 2018

On a rainy day in early autumn, hundreds of people packed into the Mississippi State University Joe Bearden Dairy Center to learn where their milk, butter, yogurt, and ice cream come from. (File Photo by Kat Lawrence)

Filed Under: 4-H, Leadership and Citizenship October 18, 2018

Forty-three Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H members were recognized recently during the annual Mississippi Congressional Award ceremony for their self-development accomplishments.

A group of teenagers posing on a stage.
Filed Under: Join 4-H October 5, 2018

Ah yes, 4-H. We talk about it quite a lot in Extension. You’ve probably seen the green clover on our website and around your community. You might even know some 4-H’ers who talk about how much they love being a member. But what exactly is it? (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

Man standing in the woods inspects nylon straps on a tree stand he is holding on in his hands.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Wildlife September 21, 2018

Safety is a key aspect of having a successful and enjoyable hunt this season and for many more to come.

Success Stories

A man with a white 4-H shirt and khaki pants stands in the Mississippi capitol building holding a golden frame with the 4-H green four-leaf clover in the center. Surrounding the logo in a circle are more than 20 4-H pins.
4-H, 4-H Forestry, Community, Economic Development
Volume 4 Number 3

Harry Dendy of Clinton first joined the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development program in Chickasaw County 62 years ago, when he was 10 years old. Forestry was his main project area.

A teen with brown hair and wearing a green Junior Master Wellness Volunteer T-shirt stands in front of the Cleveland, Mississippi, Welcome Center.
4-H, Volunteers, Community, Leadership, Junior Master Wellness Volunteer
Volume 4 Number 3

Katelyn Orr helped Cleveland residents get their hearts pumping and burn a few calories during the Community Walk in April.

A man wearing a green and white plaid shirt, blue jeans, and a brown baseball cap stands in front of a bright red machine parked inside a metal building.
4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Youth Projects, Agriculture, Crops, Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Livestock, Beef
Volume 4 Number 3

Greg Chambers is one Mississippi producer who’s focused on innovating. Whether he’s growing soybeans and wheat on his Prentiss County property or raising cattle and goats on other acres, Chambers is always looking for a better, more efficient way of doing things.

A young woman with brown hair and a pink shirt stands smiling while holding a black and white speckled chicken next to her face.
4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock, Youth Poultry, Join 4-H, Support 4-H, Youth Projects
Volume 4 Number 3

When Emma Grace McGrew became Mississippi’s 2017 Miss Hospitality, a year of exciting experiences awaited the former Prentiss County 4-H’er and self-proclaimed country girl.

A blonde woman in a white shirt and ponytail stands in front of a wooden wall and holds a brown, black, and white baby goat.
4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, 4-H Safety Programs, Shooting Sports, Join 4-H, Volunteers
Volume 4 Number 3

After working all day, Deidra Rollins knew the last thing she wanted to do was spend every evening and weekend at the ball field. But she wanted something she and her daughter, Tory, could do together. So she stopped by the local Mississippi State University Extension Service office.

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Your Extension Experts

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