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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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Publications

News

Volunteer teenagers use a prop resembling the human brain to demonstrate brain function to children.
Filed Under: 4-H, Junior Master Wellness Volunteer September 28, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- October is Children’s Health Month, but Mississippi’s Junior Master Wellness Volunteers are dedicated year-round to “promoting healthy living through community connections” in the state.

The Junior Master Wellness Volunteer program, or JrMWV, is a community health education and volunteer leader training program offered through the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program in partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the UMMC/Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute.

Ann Sansing, MSU Extension community health coordinator, said this is the latest program developed in a five-year partnership with the medical center around delivery of the Community Health Advocate curriculum, which began there under the leadership of Dr. Rick deShazo. 

A child’s hands poised above a collection of colorful insect specimens, pinned to Styrofoam blocks.
Filed Under: Youth Projects, Insects September 14, 2017

PICAYUNE, Miss. -- Students and families can explore and celebrate the insect world during the Crosby Arboretum’s 11th annual Bugfest Sept. 22 and 23 in Picayune.

The arboretum, a public garden operated by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, sponsors Bugfest to allow the community to foster curiosity and an appreciation of nature and adventure.

Participants can collect and identify insects alongside Extension entomologist John Guyton and others from the MSU Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology.

Four fourth-grade girls show off their personal identification cards that are passes to federal parks.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education, Natural Resources September 1, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Those of us with a strong connection to the natural world know that attachment was born and strengthened through personal experiences we had outdoors as children, generally when family members took us outside to spend time, relax or have fun.

A new nationwide program began in 2015 with hopes of increasing access to federal public lands for fourth-grade students, along with the goal of establishing connections to the outdoors. Every Kid in a Park begins its third year on Sept. 1, 2017. Every fourth-grader has easy access to a free pass for admission to public land from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2018. 

In order to make Starkville a more walkable community, bike lanes and sidewalk additions were constructed downtown on August 15, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Jessica Smith)
Filed Under: Health and Wellness, Community, Food and Health, Landscape Architecture August 15, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Walking is an easy, enjoyable way for individuals to be more physically active and for communities to improve healthy living.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are many potential health benefits of physical activity: weight control, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, stronger bones and muscles, improved mental health and mood, and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

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.

Success Stories

young males and females of various ages with black Angus heifers in livestock show
Youth Livestock Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 3

The 2017 Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions saw 43 champion market animals auctioned at the annual sale. During the weeklong 2017 Dixie National Livestock Show in Jackson, judges selected 14 hogs, 10 goats, 10 lambs, and 9 steers for the sale. 

Joe Davis with two 4-H'ers with a champion heifer
4-H Livestock Program, Volunteers, Beef Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 3

When third-generation cattleman Joe Davis was a teen, he had no idea his competition in the show ring would one day be his Extension agent in Union County.

A 4-H volunteer leader with two 4-H members at a 4-H Shooting Sports event.
Shooting Sports, Health and Wellness, Volunteers Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 3

Until recently, the Clover Dawgs 4-H Robotics team in Oktibbeha County needed a bigger robot. Club volunteer leader Robert Rice secured the first donation toward purchasing the machine from his employer.

 

A child uses colorful LEGO bricks at a 4-H Robotics competition.
STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Dairy, Pesticide Applicator Certification, City and County Government, Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers, Soil Testing, Natural Resources Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 3

4-H Debuts New Curriculum · Extension Develops Workforce · La-Z-Boy Donates Fabric · Stars Focus On Sustainability · Extension Directs Herbicide Training · Youth Discover Dairy Science · Soil Lab Welcomes New Manager

wooded paved road at dusk
4-H Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 3

Jonah Holland, a teen in the Tishomingo County 4-H Youth Development Program, became a leader for the 2017 4-H Photo Safari in March in Northeast Mississippi.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 2:00am
Monday, October 2, 2017 - 2:00am
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 1:00am
Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 4:15am

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