4-H History, Pledge, Emblems & Symbols
4-H is more than a club.
Watch the Award Winning 4-H Promotional Video! (NOTE: this file is 39 MB and is very large, if you are using a dial-up modem it will take a very long time to download.)
What is 4-H?
4-H is a positive youth development organization that empowers young people to reach their full potential. A vast community of more than 6 million youth and adults working together for positive change, 4-H enables America’s youth to emerge as leaders through hands-on learning, research-based 4-H youth programs and adult mentorship, in order to give back to their local communities.
4-H prepares young people to step up to the challenges in their community and the world. Using research-based programming around positive youth development, 4-H youth get the hands-on real world experience they need to become leaders. Young people who are a part of 4-H have the opportunity to explore all types of science, health, and citizenship programming delivered through 4-H clubs and camps, as well as afterschool. Find out more about 4-H projects here.
In 4-H clubs, youth serve as officers and learn to conduct meetings, handle club funds, and facilitate group decision-making. In a growing number of communities, 4-H youth serve as youth representatives in municipal or county government or as members of Teen Courts. They give back to their communities through community service projects.
4-H is the youth development program of the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Cooperative Extension System of the nation’s land-grant universities. Wisconsin 4-H is a program of the University of Wisconsin-Extension in partnership with state, federal and county government in each Wisconsin county.
4-H reaches every corner of our state—from urban neighborhoods to suburban schoolyards to rural farming communities. In Wisconsin, with a network of more than 33,000 youth and 17,000 volunteers, 4-H helps shape youth to move our communities, state, country and the world forward in ways that no other youth organization can.
Check with your County Extension office for information on 4-H in your area.
4-H experiences are designed to address the four essential elements of positive youth development: Belonging, Mastery, Generosity and Independence.
Essential Element Book Mark (2 pages, 300 KB, 2 per page, front and back of the handout) – Front and back of a handout featuring the four essential elements, with brief descriptions of the critical components of each element.
- 4-H Traditions – Pledge & Motto
- 4-H History
- Mission & Vision
- Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development State Staff
The 4-H Clover Emblem and Pledge Explained
The first 4-H emblem was a three-leaf clover, introduced sometime between 1907 and 1908. The three “H’s” represented head, heart and hands. In 1911, at a meeting of club leaders in Washington, a fourth “H” representing health was added and the current 4-H four-leaf clover emblem was approved. It is protected by the U.S. Congress. More information on Clover logo usage is available.
The 4-H pledge was worded by Otis Hall, Kansas state 4-H leader. It was approved at the first National 4-H Club Camp in 1927 in Washington, D.C. The words “my world” were added to the pledge in 1973. Their addition is the only change ever made to the 4-H pledge.
- HEAD stands for clearer thinking and decision-making. Knowledge that is useful throughout life.
- HEART stands for greater loyalty, strong personal values, positive self concept, concern for others.
- HANDS stands for larger service, workforce preparedness, useful skills, science and technology literacy.
- HEALTH stands for better living, healthy lifestyles.
my Head to clearer thinking,
my Heart to greater loyalty,
my Hands to larger service,
my Health to better living.
For my Club, my community, my country, and my world.
To make the best better.
UW-Extension 4-H Youth Development integrates research, education, and community-based partnerships, enabling youth to learn and practice skills to be productive citizens.
- 4-H Youth Development Mission and Vision Graphics — Multicolor (Word, 1 page, 30 KB)
- 4-H Youth Development Mission Graphic — White and Green (Word, 1 page, 1,296 KB)
- 4-H Youth Development Vision Graphic — White and Green (Word, 1 page, 1,058 KB)
- Cooperative UW-Extension Mission
4-H Youth Development: A catalyst for positive community youth development.
Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development State Staff
Wisconsin 4-H News