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4-H Lore

The 4-H Pledge

"I Pledge my Head to clearer thinking,
my Heart to greater loyalty,
my Hands to larger service,
and my Health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country,
and my world."

The pledge tells what 4-H is all about. 4-H has as its goal the four-fold development of youth: Head, Heart, Hands and Health. The pledge was adopted by the delegates to the 1927 National 4-H Club Camp in Washington, DC. State club leaders voted for and adopted the pledge for universal use. The phrase "and my world" was added in 1973. The saying of the pledge has prominent place in 4-H activities at regular 4-H meetings, achievement days, and other club events.

4-H Mission
4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.

4-H Vision
A world in which youth and adults learn, grow and work together as catalysts for positive change.

The 4-H Emblem, Colors, and the four H's

The original symbol of the Boys and Girls Clubs was a three leaf clover with the words Head, Heart, and Hands. Nebraska clubs used the words as part of their statement of purpose: "to educate the youth of the county, town and city to a knowledge of their dependence upon nature's resources, and to the value of the fullest development of hand, head and heart...."

Here are two examples of the pins designed by O.H. Benson, Superintendent of Schools, Wright County, Iowa. He used the design on placards, posters and badges in 1907 or 1908. On September 16, 1909, he placed the first order on record with the Union Emblem Company for the pins. Benson and others are said to have had a four-leaf H design around 1908, but no record of it has been found.

Early in 1911, a meeting of club leaders in Washington adopted a committee recommendation approving the present 4-H emblem design. O.B. Martin, who was directing club work in the South, is credited with suggesting that the 4-H's stand for Head, Heart, Hands and Health. (Benson originally referred to a fourth H as Hustle.)

The 4-H emblem is federally protected under Section 18 US Code 707 and belongs to the Congress of the United States. The official emblem is green with white H's - the 4-H colors. The white symbolizes purity. The green represents nature's most common color and is emblematic of youth, life, and growth. Go to Name and Emblem to learn more about the proper, legal use of the 4-H name and emblem.

Motto: "To Make The Best Better"

The motto was adopted at about the same time as the 4-H Club Pledge. Its intent is to inspire young people to continue to learn and grow, to make their best efforts better through participating in educational experiences.

"Learning By Doing"

This phrase sums up the educational philosophy of the 4-H program. Young people learn best when they are involved in their learning. The intent is to do, reflect, and apply.