What is Georgia 4-H?

Georgia 4-H is a world in which youth and adults learn, grow, and work together as catalysts for positive change!

What is the mission of Georgia 4-H?

The mission of Georgia 4-H is to assist youth in acquiring knowledge, developing life skills, and forming attitudes that will enable them to become self-directing, productive and contributing members of society.  This mission is accomplished, through "hands on" learning experiences, focused on agricultural and environmental issues, agriculture awareness, leadership, communication skills, foods and nutrition, health, energy conservation, and citizenship.

​Exploring and discovering, encouraging and challenging, is what Georgia 4-H is all about.  4-H is a part of the University of Georgia College, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Cooperative Extension.

4-H'ers are known for sharing their research-based knowledge and technology with people where they live and work.  4-H combines federal, state, and local expertise and resources.

4-H History

Ties to formal education and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The Morrill Act of 1862 provided federal lands to establish land-grant colleges and universities.  In 1890, colleges and universities for black citizens were established in the southern region to insure that all people were served.  The state land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension Service of the USDA maintained close contact with the development of 4-H.  The land-grant institutions recommended organizing a distinct administrative division in each land-grant institution to direct the many Cooperative Extension activities that were developing.  By 1912, virtually all of the land-grant institutions in the southern states had signed cooperative agreements with the USDA and had organized Extension departments.

Formal Establishment of 4-H

Congressional appropriations to the state land-grant institutions began in 1912 for development of early Extension work within the states.  In 1914, the Smith-Lever Act established the Cooperative Extension System within the USDA, the state land-grant universities and the counties.  Since that early legislation Congress has continued to support 4-H.

Recent History

Through the years, the overall objective of 4-H has remained the same: the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens.  4-H serves youth through a variety of methods:

  • Organized clubs
  • 4-H special interest or short-term groups
  • 4-H school enrichment programs
  • 4-H camping
  • 4-H activities, leadership, citizenship and community service learning programs

4-H Name

The first use of the term "4-H Club" in a federal document appeared in 1918 in a bulletin written by Gertrude L. Warren.  By 1924, wider usage of the name "4-H" was adopted.  This was used thereafter throughout the world.

4-H Emblem

The first design was a three-leaf clover, introduced by O.H. Benson, sometime between 1907-08.  From the beginning, the three "H's" signified Head, Heart and Hands.  A four-leaf clover design with H's appeared around 1908.  In 1911, Benson referred to the need for four H's--suggesting that they stand for "Head, Heart, Hands, and Hustle...head trained to think, plan and reason; heart trained to be true, kind and sympathetic; hands trained to be useful, helpful and skillful; and the hustle to render ready service, to develop health and vitality..."  In 1911, 4-H club leaders approved the present 4-H design.  O.B. Martin is credited with suggesting that the H's signify Head, Heart, Hands and Health--universally used since then.  The 4-H emblem was patented in 1924 and Congress passed a law protecting the use of the 4-H name and emblem in 1939, slightly revised in 1948.

History of 4-H

4-H began as a response to needs throughout the country, rather than as the idea of one individual.  The goal of the program was to extend agricultural education to rural youth by organizing boys and girls clubs and through "learning by doing".

Early Development

The roots of 4-H began at the turn of the century when progressive educators started to emphasize the needs of young people and to introduce nature study as a basis for a better agricultural education.  Boys and girls clubs and leagues were established in school and churches to meet these needs.  To spark interest of young people, Farmers Institutes cooperated with school superintendents by promoting production contests, soil tests and plant identification.  By March 1904, several boys and girls clubs had already exhibited projects.  Most states organized clubs outside the schools with rural parents acting as volunteer leaders and County Extension agents providing materials.  Farmers saw the practical benefits and public support and enthusiasm for 4-H grew throughout the nation.

Hall County 4-H