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.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Community improvement starts with a volunteer spirit and a desire to serve as a role model for positive change.
In north Mississippi, plenty of teenagers are ready to step up. They just need to know how to help.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H program hosted 69 14- to 18-year-olds April 22 at the Mill Conference Center in Starkville to help some of these future leaders learn not just how to lead, but also how to take care of themselves and help their peers during challenging times.
The Science Scholars camp invites all interested high school students to apply to the June 28-30 event at Mississippi State University.
Millions of Americans have food allergies. While some may outgrow food allergies, many others do not. Food allergies are common in young children and tend to appear during the first or second year of life. Check out the tips I use to help me navigate as a mom of a child with food allergies.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- After natural disasters, food and shelter are prioritized well above mental health, but ignoring emotional distress can lead to serious physical health conditions.
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Not so long ago, goats were niche livestock animals in Mississippi. But these small ruminants have grown in popularity in recent years, especially dairy goats. Farmers who have limited acreage or want to diversify their livestock operations often choose goats. Others want goats for their meat or milk. Regardless of the purpose, people who want to join the ranks of goat owners should understand some important aspects of goat ownership before bringing one home.
Once a quiet, shy teenager with a love for hunting and the outdoors, Jaxon Cook decided to join 4-H to meet other young people with shared interests, and the experience improved his confidence.
Ray Henderson’s love for the outdoors began in his youth with learning by doing in 4-H Forestry. He won the State 4-H Congress competition, went to nationals, and placed fifth. After he aged out of the youth development program, he pursued a career with the U.S. Forest Service, and he volunteered in the 1990s as a coach for a few 4-H Forestry teams in Wayne and Greene Counties.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service recently relaunched its Nurturing Homes Initiative. The program’s mission is to improve the quality of the early educational experiences provided in family childcare homes through mentoring, improving the learning environment, and delivering research-based information.
At 4-H Day on October 15, 2022, part of the 163rd Mississippi State Fair, Mississippi 4-H’ers of all ages enjoyed many different activities, from grilling to singing, modeling to public speaking, livestock showing to STEM activities.
Jilkiah Bryant is a Noxubee County native and current student at the University of Mississippi studying public health and health sciences. As a recipient of the Truman Scholarship, which she describes as the greatest honor of her life, Bryant plans to take her education to the next level with graduate school to pursue a career as a public health professional.