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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

Young woman places a prescription bottle in secure slot in a large, green metal box
Filed Under: Health and Wellness August 6, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Agents and specialists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service are “promising” to confront the opioid problem in Mississippi communities.

“PReventing Opioid Misuse in the South East,” or PROMISE, is an Extension initiative to address this national crisis in communities across the Southeast. PROMISE is funded by a $310,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

MSU Extension health specialist David Buys said one of the main issues with the misuse of opioids is that they are more accessible than they need to be.

Children stand around a large garbage can while they shuck the husks and silks from ears of corn.
Filed Under: 4-H, Youth Gardening August 6, 2018

Gardens are great outdoor classrooms, and schools are increasingly embracing gardens to enhance their students’ learning. Home gardens are also perfect for hands-on outdoor experiences that are both fun and educational.  

A teenage boy in a blue and white long-sleeved shirt and protective gear, including a red and black helmet and black gloves, rides a red ATV around orange cones during a safety class. (Kevin Hudson)
Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Safety Programs, ATV Safety June 5, 2018

It's ATV Safety Week! (Photo by Kevin Hudson)

Filed Under: 4-H June 1, 2018

Take a look at the official State 4-H Congress highlight video! Want to learn more about what goes on at this annual event for senior 4-H’ers? (Photo by Jonathan Parrish)

A young girl and her mother are pictured with their horse.
Filed Under: 4-H, 4-H Livestock Program, Youth Livestock May 22, 2018

It was inevitable that Lauren Bryant would at least try 4-H.

Her father’s family has been active in the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development Program for two generations. And she has attended 4-H events since she was a toddler.

Now, the 11-year-old is showing her own livestock and participating in various 4-H activities through the Extension Service in Tippah County.

“Lauren is a third-generation 4-H’er,” explained her mother, Leigh Bryant. “Her granddad and her daddy were both 4-H’ers.”

Success Stories

A young man wearing a cap and checked shirt.
4-H
Volume 4 Number 1

A tale as old as time: A boy’s older relative advises him to join 4-H. He refuses.

A smiling woman in a blue shirt poses for the camera.
4-H
Volume 4 Number 1

Paige Nicholson-Bergeron shares how the 4-H youth development program helped her prepare for both her title of Miss Rodeo America 2014 and her career.*

A man and two girls stand in a barn with three horses.
Youth Livestock, Equine
Volume 4 Number 1

Mississippi 4-H youth horse instructor Tom McBeath takes great pride in having taught two generations of students, and he is now recognized as one of the best in the country at what he does.

Two elderly women display their healthy food choices.
Health and Wellness
Volume 4 Number 1

McLeod is one of about 25 members of the group that formed 4 years ago. They meet at the Columbia center that is managed by the New Zion United Methodist Church.

Man in green dress shirt sits at a table with a woman in a white dress
4-H
Volume 3 Number 4

Tiara and Jeremy Brown, former 4-H’ers from Clay and Oktibbeha Counties, respectively, discuss how the 4-H youth development program has something for everyone.

Tiara and Jeremy are both from families that were very involved in 4-H. They met while attending Mississippi State University, graduated, and married. Jeremy went on to work as a mechanical engineer at Yokohama Tire Manufacturing in West Point, and Tiara works as a special education teacher at Central School, also in West Point.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018 - 2:00am
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 2:00am
Monday, June 11, 2018 - 2:00am
Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 2:00am
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 2:00am

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Your Extension Experts

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