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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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News

Filed Under: Health and Wellness, The PROMISE Initiative June 5, 2020

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A health leadership team led by the Mississippi State University Extension Service has received a national award for its work to address mental health challenges in the state’s agricultural community.

Directors of the PROMISE Initiative will receive the Southern Distinguished Team award from Epsilon Sigma Phi, during the organization’s annual national conference in October. PROMISE stands for “PReventing Opioid Misuse in the SouthEast.” Epsilon Sigma Phi is a nationwide organization for Extension professionals.

A baby smiling.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Children and Parenting, Healthy Homes Initiative June 4, 2020

June is National Healthy Homes month! To celebrate, we’ve created a blog post to focus on an important health concern that could happen in and around your home. 

A group of 4-H’ers make silly gestures.
Filed Under: 4-H, Coronavirus June 1, 2020

With social distancing measures still in place, Mississippi 4-H’ers will participate in the state’s first-ever Virtual State 4-H Congress in 2020 instead of the traditional in-person gathering.

Filed Under: 4-H, About Extension, Extension Administration April 29, 2020

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service’s cancellation of in-person educational meetings and events through August 1 does not affect events hosted by other organizations, which Extension personnel and clients may participate in.

All scheduled Extension face-to-face educational events and meetings through that date have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Silhouette of a paper cut-out style family of four facing a three-dimensional model of the novel coronavirus.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Coronavirus, Mental Health First Aid April 17, 2020

When confronted with the need to change or adapt to life’s circumstances, people cope with the resulting stress in many ways. David Buys, health specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the domino effect of multiple changes caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic may result in trauma.

“Usually trauma is a major life event that leads to intense stress reactions,” Buys said. “But we are seeing so many changes in such a short time it’s a struggle to manage our feelings and thoughts without falling into anxiety and depression.”

Success Stories

A young girl smiles and holds up a Lego creation.
4-H
Volume 6 Number 1

It was the summer of 2018. Grenada Elementary School teacher Dianne Brewer—a classroom veteran of more than 25 years—was working at the local Yalobusha County library, and she saw a group of 5-year-olds enthusiastically participating in a 4-H LEGO Engineering lesson.

A teenage boy stands outside with a firearm resting on his shoulder.
4-H, 4-H Safety Programs, 4-H SAFETY
Volume 6 Number 1

4-H S.A.F.E.T.Y. is Mississippi 4-H’s biggest program. Competitors in the Safe Archery and Firearms Education and Training for Youth program are immersed in essential firearm-safety training to learn maturity, self-discipline, responsibility, and sportsmanship.

A large, green, grassy field stretches out behind two young men riding brown horses along a fence.
4-H, Youth Horse
Volume 6 Number 1

Cousins Tredell and Anthony Meeks brought home top honors at the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championship in Georgia in 2019. The pair has participated in the family pastime since they were small children but decided to join 4-H 6 years ago to meet new people, learn new things, and compete among their peers.

A man wearing a light blue shirt with “US Jersey” above the chest pocket stands smiling in front of several cows.
4-H, Support 4-H, Agriculture, Livestock, Dairy
Volume 6 Number 1

Neal Smith grew up in Picayune in Pearl River County and has lived in Ohio for 27 years. As the chief executive officer and executive secretary for the American Jersey Cattle Association, Smith has been able to stay connected to the reason he joined 4-H as a child—his love of dairy cattle. He first joined 4-H because he wanted to show his Jersey calf at the Pearl River County Fair.

Two boys sit on two horses facing the camera. Both boys are wearing blue shirts and safety helmets.
4-H, Youth Horse
Volume 6 Number 1

Tredell and Anthony Meeks have been riding horses since they were small children. But 6 years ago, they decided they wanted to join 4-H in Holmes County and participate in competitions. “We saw other 4-H members who were doing horse competitions, and we thought it looked like fun,” says 18-year-old Anthony. “We wanted to try it.”

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Thursday, January 9, 2020 - 7:00am
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Friday, December 27, 2019 - 5:45am
Thursday, December 26, 2019 - 7:00am
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