The 4-H Youth program strives to improve the quality of life for Mississippi youth by developing youth potential 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 youth involved in 4-H.
Head: 4-Hers focus on thinking, making decisions, and understanding and gaining knowledge.
Heart: 4-Hers are concerned with the welfare of others and accept the responsibilities of citizenship and developing attitudes and values.
Hands: 4-Hers use their hands to learn new skills and develop pride and respect for their own work.
Health: 4-Hers 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, youth master skills to make positive career and life choices. 4-H provides a safe environment to make mistakes and receive feedback, and youth can discover their capabilities while meeting new challenges.
Generosity - By participating in 4-H community service and citizenship activities, youth can connect to communities and learn to give back to others. These connections help youth find and fulfill their life's purpose.
Independence - By exercising independence through 4-H leadership opportunities, youth mature in self-discipline and responsibility, learn to better understand themselves, and become independent thinkers.
Belonging - Through 4-H, youth 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 youth 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.
LOUISVILLE, Miss. -- Thirteen Winston County children were the test pilots of a new 4-H program while their schools were on spring break.
After seeing a demonstration of the 4-H Lego Engineering Club curriculum in February, Sandra Jackson, an agent of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Winston County, immediately wanted to use it during a camp she was leading in March. The program, designed for Cloverbuds, or 4-H'ers aged 5-7, uses Lego bricks as teaching tools for fundamentals of science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Having performed colonoscopies regularly throughout his career, retired gastroenterologist Dr. Sam Pace is experienced in identifying precursors of colorectal cancer.
Although he did not feel any of those symptoms himself in 2011, Pace learned after a routine screening that he had the disease.
"My story is effective when I talk to patients who say they feel fine and nothing is going to happen to them," Pace said. "I felt fine before I found out I had colon cancer. Fortunately, I was screened early enough to treat and survive it."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will host four clinics for 4-H'ers interested in competing in two new performance classes at the 2017 Mississippi 4-H Horse Show.
Extension equine specialist Clay Cavinder will be the primary instructor at the workshops, which will teach 4-H members the rules and scope of the two classes: Ranch Handling and Cow Horse Boxing.
JACKSON, Miss. -- Before Carson Keene sold his grand champion Duroc hog at the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions, he had a conversation with his family about where the proceeds should go.
The 12-year-old 4-H'er and sixth-grader at Presbyterian Christian School in Petal had known for several months that his 6-year-old schoolmate Noelle Carter was awaiting treatment at Batson Children's Hospital for liver cancer. He decided to donate the auction proceeds to Carter's family.
“Our school was raising money, and I wanted to try to do something, too,” Keene said.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Even adults benefit from involvement in 4-H, the largest youth development organization in the nation.
Rose Coffey Graham became a 4-H volunteer leader in 1982 because she saw a need for young people living in rural Oktibbeha County. She discovered much more.
"I love having opportunities to work with children but also with the other adults. We learn together and have so much fun," she said.
The Controller's Generation II 4-H Club focuses on the essential elements of 4-H, including belonging, independence, mastery and generosity.