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Head,   Heart,   Hands   and   Health

History of 4-H

Introduction
The 4-H Story: A History of 4-H Club Work, by Franklin M. Reck and 4-H: An American Idea, 1900-1980, by Thomas Wessel and Marilyn Wessel document the origin of the 4-H Youth Development Program throughout the United States. In summary, the rapid changes taking place in rural America at the turn of the century led educators to seek ways to link learning to the needs of rural families. Youth were leaving farms to seek jobs in towns and cities. Adult farmers were reluctant to try new techniques of crop production. Agricultural leaders began seeking ways to teach agricultural producers improved methods of crop production.

The Beginning
The first county Extension agent in Texas was appointed in 1906, 8 years before the organization of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. Two years later, T.M. (Tom) Marks, county agricultural agent, organized the first boys’ “corn club” in Jack County. Marks found that he was more successful teaching new production technology to the youth than to the adults. Within a matter of years, “pig clubs,” “beef calf clubs” (Coleman County, 1910) and girls’ “tomato clubs” (Milam County, 1912) were also initiated. The stage was set for the rapid expansion of educational programs directed to rural youth. Within a span of 91 years, 4-H enrollment in Texas has grown from the original 25 corn club members in Jack County in 1908 to more than three quarters of a million in the late 1990s! The Texas 4-H Museum is located in Jacksboro (Jack County), the birthplace of 4-H in Texas.

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.

4-H Motto
“To Make the Best Better”

Who are 4-H members?
4-H Members are boys and girls between 8 years old and in the third grade to 19 years old. They live in cities, suburban neighborhoods, small towns and farms. They join 4-H because it’s fun. It provides opportunities to work and play with friends, to learn about and do interesting things and to develop leadership skills.

A special 4-H Clover Kids program is available for children in kindergarten through the second grade, ages five through eight.

4-H gives young people the opportunity to explore new things…from photography to rocketry, and everything between. Call 817-884-1291 for details.

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid, services, or accommodation in order to participate in meetings or events are encouraged to contact Cindy Bryant CEA-4-H at least ten days prior to the event at 817-884-1291 at the Tarrant County Texas AgriLife Extension office.
Educational programs of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age or natural origin. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating.

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