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 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.
The most common question we get is: how do I join 4-H? It’s encouraging to see so many young people wanting to get involved in the activities 4-H offers!
“4-H has something for everyone.” If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard that phrase a time or two. As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. There’s a wide variety of activities and clubs that ensure that everyone has a place in 4-H.
Controller’s Generation II and Controller’s Generation III 4-H club members in Oktibbeha County pick produce from a community garden in Maben, Mississippi, on August 6, 2019.
School is out for the summer, meaning 4-H activities are in full swing! I had the privilege of leading the Media Corps Team at the 4-H Cooperative and Leadership Conference earlier this month. We discussed how our smartphones and social media have changed the way the media works, and then we worked together to “cover” the conference as the media would.
There’s always something new happening in the world of Extension. This time, the spotlight is on a new workshop: “From Micro to Macro: Growing Ag Literacy.”
Before we get into the specifics, you might be asking, “what is ag literacy and why is it important?” (Photo by Kevin Hudson)
For the 50th anniversary of the sale, the record-breaking total amount earned was $382,775. While the animals in the sale are impressive, the 4-H’ers are even more astounding.
Nerves jangling, Jaylin Smith of Greenwood stepped to the podium to address legislators and guests gathered in the Mississippi Senate chamber in February 2019. Her audience seemed preoccupied, checking their cell phones. By the time she finished her speech, they were on their feet, applauding.
William Hall “Corn Club” Smith, Francis J. Lundy, Alphonse Marks, Hobson Waits, Lester Spell, and Harry Dendy have been recognized for their contributions to 4-H.
When FARMtastic makes its rounds over South Mississippi, residents, businesses, schools, and community organizations come together to ensure that participants have a great time.
Legislative Day is a favorite among 4-H’ers. Each year, Mississippi 4-H Council officers and ambassadors spend a day visiting their legislative leaders at the Mississippi State Capitol. Not only is the visit an interesting experience for 4-H’ers learning about how state government works, but it’s also a way to thank legislators for their support of 4-H and the Mississippi State University Extension Service, which oversees 4-H statewide.