Court honors 4-H work through proclamation
The 4-H pledge is:
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.
With more than 350 county-wide members, Matagorda County’s 4-H program was recognized during Monday’s meeting of commissioner’s court.
Matagorda County Commissioners honored the 4-H Youth Development Program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for 112 years of service in Texas.
“The program undoubtedly could not have achieved the success that is has today were it not for the service of its more than 22,000 volunteers, who have given generously of their time, talents, energies and resources to the youth of Texas,” said Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald as he read from the proclamation. “Through its proud history, the 4-H program has developed positive role models for countless Texans and through its innovated and inspiring programs and continues to build character and to instill the values that have made our state strong and great.”
The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach. Though typically thought of as an agriculturally focused organization as a result of its history, 4-H today focuses on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering, and technology programs.
Clubs in today’s 4-H world consist of a wide range of options each allowing for personal growth and career success. The 4-H motto is “To make the best better”, while its slogan is “Learn by doing” (sometimes written as “Learn to do by doing”). As of 2016, the organization had nearly 6 million active participants and more than 25 million alumni.
The foundations of 4-H began in 1902 with the work of several people in different parts of the United States. The focal point of 4-H has been the idea of practical and hands-on learning, which came from the desire to make public school education more connected to rural life.
Early programs incorporated both public and private resources. 4-H was founded with the purpose of instructing rural youth in improved farming and farm-homemaking practices. By the 1970s, it was broadening its goals to cover a full range of youth, including minorities, and a wide range of life experiences.
The official 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white H on each leaf standing for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. The stem of the clover always points to the right.
The idea of using the four-leaf clover as an emblem for the 4-H program is credited to Oscar Herman Benson (1875–1951) of Wright County Iowa. He awarded three-leaf and four-leaf clover pennants and pins for students’ agricultural and domestic science exhibits at school fairs.