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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

A man stands behind a table while demonstrating equine dental equipment on two horse skulls.
Filed Under: Youth Horse, Equine February 11, 2020

The romantic idea of owning and riding horses often does not match the costly and time-consuming reality of maintaining them, a discrepancy being addressed in workshops aimed at making horse ownership more rewarding.

Clay Cavinder, horse specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, offers a one-day workshop and a six-week program to address the tremendous amount of information that a horse owner must absorb.

A close up picture of a person's foot stepping on a scale.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Food and Health, Health February 10, 2020

Did you know February is Heart Health Month? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that around 647,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. That’s one in every four deaths! 

Young girl stands and holds up the head of a white goat with a brown head while two young girls stand in the background.
Filed Under: 4-H February 7, 2020

JACKSON, Miss. -- Melissa Tolar was hopeful that her daughter, Emmy, would be featured in this year’s Dixie National Sale of Champions, but she admitted to some uncertainty about her chances at first.

Emmy, a 12-year-old 4-H’er from Marion County with autism, had difficulties with communication and presenting her animals dating back to when she began showing livestock four years ago. To advance to this year’s sale, one of the goats she showed had to place first in the Dixie National Junior Round-Up.

Rows of spices in clear jars with silver tops.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Food and Health January 29, 2020

Has anyone heard about the ‘freshman fifteen’? During my first semester of college, I gained more than fifteen pounds. The main culprit was added sugar in soda drinks and desserts

A man wearing hunting gear displays a deer he harvested with a bow and arrow.
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Wildlife, Chronic Wasting Disease October 18, 2019

For many of you, chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is old hat and you’re tired of hearing about it. I understand.

Success Stories

4-H logo and AT&T Mississippi president.
4-H, Leadership and Citizenship
Volume 5 Number 3

AT&T Mississippi sponsors the AT&T Banner Club Awards, Mississippi 4-H’s annual awards ceremony to celebrate the state’s most impactful 4-H clubs, at the Legislative Appreciation Luncheon, which is part of 4-H Legislative Day in February.

Two MSU Extension agronomy specialists instruct youth campers.
STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Technology, Lawn and Garden, Natural Resources, Disaster Recovery
Volume 5 Number 3

See what is new in Extension... Extension Holds New Agronomy Camp, Larry Alexander Fund Gives to the Future of 4-H, Extension Offers Ag Literacy Workshop for Teachers, Extension Offers Resources to Residents Affected by Backwater Flooding.

Zion Johnson.
4-H, Leadership and Citizenship
Volume 5 Number 3

He may be only 15 years old, but one Columbus High School sophomore is developing financial skills for his entrepreneurial future, thanks to his experiences at the 2019 Mississippi 4-H Cooperative and Leadership Conference.

Drew Hearn.
4-H, Join 4-H, Leadership and Citizenship
Volume 5 Number 3

Originally from Greenwood, Drew Hearn has been a state trooper with the Mississippi Highway Patrol for 5 years. In 2019, he received the “Buckle for Life” award in recognition of his advocacy for wearing seat belts and having children in proper safety equipment, including car seats and boosters. He shares how his time in the Leflore County 4-H program shaped his leadership skills and taught him responsibility.

Shandrea Jenkins sitting on a brick planter.
4-H, Join 4-H, Leadership and Citizenship
Volume 5 Number 3

What makes Shandrea Jenkins unique is her giving spirit. The Port Gibson High School junior is an active member of 4-H in Claiborne County, and she appreciates the opportunities 4-H is giving her. She’s getting to serve others, travel around the state, and connect with other focused, ambitious 4-H’ers who want to make Mississippi even better.

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Portrait of Dr. Paula Threadgill
Assc Dir, FCS & 4H & Ext Prof
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