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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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News

Rankin County 4-H member Robert Herrington takes a close look under the hood of a tractor as he identifies engine parts during a portion of the tractor competition on June 1, 2017. More than 700 4-H members took part in contests, workshops, tours and entertainment during their annual state meeting at Mississippi State University. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Linda Breazeale)
Filed Under: 4-H June 2, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi 4-H competitions continue to help "make the best better" more than a century after the first corn clubs for boys and tomato clubs for girls were formed in the state.

Hundreds of 4-H members converged on Mississippi State University for three days of competitions, workshops, tours and entertainment from May 31 to June 2.

Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education May 16, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Three Mississippi State University Conservation Camps are giving Mississippi middle and high schoolers a chance to explore wildlife, the outdoors, and careers in science and nature this summer.

The MSU Extension Service and the MSU College of Forest Resources have offered the Conservation Camps since 2005.

Tom McBeath of Union, Mississippi, explains a riding pattern he will judge to a group of young women. McBeath, a long-time volunteer with the Mississippi 4-H Program, is the American Youth Horse Council Adult Leader of the Year. (Photo by Jeff Homan)
Filed Under: Youth Livestock, Equine May 10, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A long-time volunteer with the Mississippi 4-H program is the American Youth Horse Council Adult Leader of the Year.

Tom McBeath of Union, Mississippi, received the honor at the recent American Youth Horse Council symposium in Wakefield, Massachusetts. He has spent nearly four decades working with youth to establish strong foundations for successful experiences with horses.

Brittny Fairley, right, checks Dequesia Perry’s blood pressure in their health science class at the Hinds County Career and Technical Center in Raymond, Mississippi, on May 4, 2017. They are members of the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Junior Master Wellness Volunteers group in Hinds County who received training to deliver basic health information and provide supervised basic screenings. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
Filed Under: 4-H, Community, Leadership, Junior Master Wellness Volunteer, Health, Rural Health May 9, 2017

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Rocheryl Ware sees members of her 4-H Junior Master Wellness Volunteer group as catalysts that can help change Mississippi's health landscape.

The Rankin County 4-H robotics team, Wait For It, was in the winning alliance of three teams at the FIRST Tech Challenge in Houston, Texas. Members Lilli Stewart, left, Lauren Blacksher, Noah Gregory, Maisyn Barragan, Jordan Hariel, Logan Hariel and Mathew Blacksher are on the playing field of Minute Maid Park in front of 25,000 people to receive their award on April 22, 2017. (Submitted Photo)
Filed Under: STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math May 3, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mariah Morgan remembers inquisitive 8-year-olds, just learning how to program beginner robots for 4-H projects. The rest of the world now sees one of them as a team of champion programmers.

Wait For It, the Rankin County 4-H robotics club, just earned top honors at the FIRST Tech Challenge at Minute Maid Park in Houston. FIRST stands for "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology."

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