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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

A group of teenagers pose for a photo celebrating their induction as 4-H Leadership team members.
Filed Under: Collegiate 4-H December 15, 2017

Members of the Hinds County 4-H Leadership team for 2017-2018 were recently selected. The team consists of 4-H’ers in both the Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program and the Alcorn State University Extension 4-H program. Team members are selected based on performance in and commitment to the 4-H program and participation in leadership roles in their 4-H clubs, schools and communities. Selected team members will learn about and practice leadership, citizenship and communication skills through various projects.

A small yellow bird holding a worm in its beak while perched on a small tree branch.
Filed Under: Wildlife Youth Education December 15, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Winter weather makes life more difficult for wildlife, even in the South. Animals must have shelter to survive the potentially deadly effects of ice, snow and freezing rain.

Food can be hard to find in winter. Animals that eat plants or insects have few choices once their food dies with the cold weather or is covered by wintry precipitation. Even predators face food shortages since winter conditions can cause their prey to spend more time in hiding.

Hunter wearing camouflage secures a portable platform to the side of a tree.
Filed Under: 4-H Safety Programs, White-Tailed Deer December 1, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Although they are beneficial as a hunting tool to increase visibility, elevated tree stands come with many safety concerns.

Fortunately, it is easier than ever to hunt safely from trees. When using a tree stand, design choice and placement location are your most important decisions. Finding a healthy, large tree with no visible signs of damage or rot is essential when using fixed, permanent or ladder-style tree stands. These stands require a sturdy base to mount and climbing gear to reach ideal hunting height.

A hunter in camouflage and an orange vest places his rifle into storage on the back of an ATV in the woods.
Filed Under: ATV Safety November 30, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Hunting and driving all-terrain vehicles are so linked in Mississippi that many people forget safety precautions when using these powerful machines.

Bradley Staton, Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H ATV associate, offered a few tips to increase the chances that people will have a safe time in the woods on ATVs.

"Always wear protective gear," Staton said. "That means a helmet to protect the head if you lose control and flip the ATV, and appropriate clothing, including long sleeves, a jacket and boots. And, since it's hunting season, always wear an orange vest so others hunters in the same area can see you."

A woman stands in front of several award ribbons.
Filed Under: 4-H, Women for Agriculture November 21, 2017

INDIANOLA, Miss. -- Learning how to show pigs in 4-H livestock competitions made a leader out of Sarah Thomas Smith.

Smith, 17, is a junior at Indianola Academy in Sunflower County, Mississippi. She has been an active member of the Sunflower County Livestock 4-H club since 2010.

Success Stories

Man in green dress shirt sits at a table with a woman in a white dress
4-H Extension Matters: 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.

Three women and one man hold a large 4-H clover
STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math, Volunteers Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 4

When she started volunteering with Tate County 4-H almost 15 years ago, Joy Magness didn’t know much about the youth development program delivered by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

She was home-schooling her two children, Samantha and Eli, and her fellow home-schooling parent and friend Adelia Gaines asked Magness if she’d like her kids to join 4-H and if she’d like to volunteer.

Pavilion surrounded by trees
4-H Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 4

Arboretum Celebrates 20 Years with MSU Extension • Plant Disease and Nematode Analysis Fee Changes • Improving Mississippi’s Fiscal Health • Know Your Roots to Attract More Customers

a red and blue ribbon from the Neshoba County Fair
4-H, Commercial Horticulture Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 4

When Mississippi’s Giant Houseparty kicked off at the end of July, hundreds of exhibitors displayed thousands of items that showcase their handiwork to the Neshoba County Fair’s many visitors.

The Exhibit Hall, organized and operated by the Neshoba County office of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, annually displays the handiwork of adults and children in several categories, including fresh fruits and vegetables, field crops, food preservation, arts and crafts, posters, and food and nutrition.  

White horse stands beside teen boy with blue dress shirt and black cowboy hat
4-H Extension Matters: Volume 3 Number 4

Noah Carpenter will tell you himself that he wouldn’t have the life skills he has today if not for 4-H.

“My involvement in 4-H has taught me responsibility, teamwork, and leadership skills,” he says. “I’m better at communicating with others because I’ve built self-confidence through showing horses.”

Listen

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 7:00am
Thursday, January 4, 2018 - 2:00am
Thursday, December 28, 2017 - 2:00am
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 2:00am
Monday, December 11, 2017 - 2:00am

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