4-H Clubs, American Organizations, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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4-H Clubs
4-H is an organization for youth administered by the United States Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension System. The core of the 4-H program, which is widespread, are the over 100,000 clubs that serve many millions of young people ages 5 to 21 all over the country. Though the roots of 4-H, which go back more than 100 years, were originally in America’s agricultural communities, the organization has expanded to include a wide range of youth education and participatory activities. The common thread is the hands-on experiential learning program, designed to help young people develop citizenship awareness, life skills, and leadership skills.

The 4-H motto is “To make the best better” and the creed is “Learn by doing.” The 4-H Pledge reflects the origin and meaning of the traditional four uses of the letter H: “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 distinctive 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover with a white “H” on each leaf to symbolize the 4 H’s: Heart, Head, Hands, and Health. It is common to see green and white 4-H signs and logos in rural communities throughout the United States, especially when local 4-H clubs sponsor community activities. The 4-H white symbolizes purity. The green represents nature's most common color and is emblematic of youth, life, and growth.

Though increasingly urban and suburban in its activities, 4-H is still associated with summer camps, and county and state agricultural fairs. The organization has sponsored international youth exchange programs and other cultural events for many years.

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