"To Make the Best Better"
Club work for rural youth was organized many years before the term "4-H" or before the four-leaf clover emblem was used. In the early years, 4-H's foundation can be found in the public school system. The 4-H emblem is one of the most highly recognized logos in the world and got its start from a small town in Iowa named Clarion, and went something like this.....
One sunny June morning in 1906 at a one-room country school near Clarion, Iowa, 11 pupils spent their recess outside searching for four-leaf clovers. They had plucked seven clovers when a visitor drove up, the Superintendent of schools. At the teacher's suggestion, the children surrendered their good luck charms and placed the seven clovers into the hands of the superintendent.
He said, "I've been looking for an emblem for the agricultural clubs and the schools of the county, and you have just given me that emblem, the four-leaf clover; it will help explain to young and old the message of a four square education." (In those early days, 4H was known as "four-square education," which was based upon educational, physical, moral, and fellowship development.)
The clover was officially adopted as the national emblem in 1911.
The official colors of 4-H are green and white. Green is nature's most common color and stands for springtime, life, youth, and growth. White symbolizes purity and high ideals.
The 4-H pledge was officially adopted at the first National 4-H Camp (similar to a national conference) in 1927. Originally written by Otis Hall, state leader of Kansas, it was fine tuned by Dr. R.A. Pearson, president of Iowa State College, and Dr. A.C. True of the federal extension service, and submitted mostly as written to the National 4-H Camp. The wording adopted for the whole country by the leaders in 1927 is that of today:
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."
In 4-H, youth participated in many activities: picnics, fairs, short courses, recreational events, community festivals, and many other educational activities. In the early 1900's, the superintendent of Wright County Schools, O.H. Benson said, "In general, these activities built a greater brotherhood and community spirit amongst people." Imagine - the core focus of the organization, remaining viable, and vigorous though the 20th, and into the 21st century.
It wasn't until 1907 when Jessie Field Shambaugh, from Page county, and superintendent of Wright County Schools, O.H. Benson, started using a three leaf clover for the identity of boys and girls clubs. The 3 H's were for; Head (was trained to think plan and reason); Heart (to be kind true and sympathetic); and Hand (to be useful, helpful, and skillful). It wasn't until 1911 when O.H. Benson worked in Washington D.C. that the idea of the four-leaf clover came into play. He suggested the fourth "H" to stand for Health (to resist disease, enjoy life, and make for efficiency). Those are the four H's on the four-leaf clover .
(Information acquired from the Iowa State University 4-H web site)
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