UT Extension 4-H Base Programs
The 4-H Mission
The mission of Tennessee 4-H is to provide research-based Extension educational
experiences that will stimulate young people to gain knowledge, develop life skills and
form positive attitudes to prepare them to become capable, responsible and compassionate
The 4-H Vision
4-H is the youth development program of The University of Tennessee's
Agricultural Extension Service. Preparing young people to become responsible, capable and
involved leaders and citizens of Tennessee and the nation is the goal of the 4-H program.
This goal is accomplished by providing educational experiences for young people to gain
knowledge, develop life skills, live healthy lives, make intelligent career choices and
form positive attitudes - values young people will rely on throughout their lives.
To reach this goal, 4-H relies on partnerships. These partnerships include the support
of federal, state and county governments, the dedication and generosity of private donors
and the devotion and commitment of volunteers. These groups work together in harmony.
Their united vision and combined efforts ensure 4-H will remain a premier youth
development program in Tennessee. Tennessee 4-H, a component of the Cooperative Extension
system, is a leader in youth development education that:
- works with all eligible youth to provide effective, enjoyable
- develops unity in all types of family structures
- utilizes a quality applied curriculum in classroom and community-based settings
- reflects and values cultural and human diversity
- employs competent, educated, self-motivated staff who are valued assets of the Land Grant University system and are recognized as youth development experts
- utilizes creative staffing patterns and contemporary working environments
- delivers programs through cooperative efforts of The University of Tennessee, Tennessee State University and public and private sector volunteers.
Health / Physical
||Through an emphasis on exercise and proper nutrition, 4-H'ers are
encouraged to develop habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle that they will take with
them into adulthood.
Personal / Social
||Being comfortable with yourself, cooperating with others, forming
friendships, assuming responsibility and having self-discipline are important components
of social development. The Tennessee 4-H program provides its members with opportunities
to develop and enhance these skills through participation in club work, conferences and
Cognitive / Creative
||Learning is an on-going part of life. Participation in 4-H projects allows
members to choose specific areas of interest and increase their knowledge of these areas
through activities. Project work also involves setting goals, evaluating progress, record
keeping and communicating knowledge to others.
||The 4-H club aims to provide its members with opportunities to gain an
awareness of and explore a wide variety of career and vocational options. The life skills
developed through 4-H participation help prepare young people for successful professional
careers. Emphasis is also placed on vocational options and use of leisure time.
Citizenship / Ethics
||Knowledge and understanding of the history and values of a community or
nation contribute to good citizenship. Involvement in the 4-H program not only teaches
young people to appreciate others and learn about their surroundings, but also encourages
them to become involved and find ways to make positive contributions to society.
I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking
|| Young people today have numerous career options to
choose from, many more than their parents or grandparents did. But today's youth also must
be better prepared. Advances in technology have mandated the need for specific skills and
critical competencies in the workforce.
The future will belong
to those who can think clearly and are prepared to meet the challenge of a changing
society and workforce. Programs in 4-H prepare young people to think clearly.
An entrepreneurship program, used to enrich project activities,
encourages 4-H'ers to use their imagination and creativity to turn their projects into
business ventures. Workforce preparation programs expose young people to different career
choices and prepare them to enter the workforce with confidence. A variety of camps and
conferences provides young people with hands-on learning experiences in fun, interactive
settings. Judging contests test a young competitor's knowledge, speaking skills and
The world is changing rapidly. But 4-H'ers will be ready to meet the
challenge. They have been preparing their heads for clearer thinking to enable them to
I pledge my HEART to greater loyalty
Pledging your heart to greater loyalty
requires commitment, faithfulness, understanding and caring. These are the building blocks
of a productive, rewarding life. They are also at the center of 4-H programs and
In 4-H, young people learn the value of helping others. They learn
to become concerned, productive citizens by understanding the history and character of
their communities and donating their time to community service protects. They learn to
nurture relationships, both human and animal, based on trust, responsibility, respect and
understanding. They discover the importance of cooperating with others, sharing
experiences, appreciating diversity and setting goals.
In all these lessons, 4-H'ers develop the social skills necessary to
become capable, compassionate adults.
I pledge my HANDS to larger service
|| Learning how to serve goes right to the heart of
valuable life lessons. Whether it's teaching younger children to care for the environment,
creating a wildlife habitat for the community, restoring and beautifying a city park that
has succumbed to neglect, caring for a prized animal or packing food baskets for a local
food bank - 4-H'ers' hands are involved in doing.
their hands to greater service, 4-H members learn marketable skills, responsibility,
commitment, teamwork and leadership. They experience the satisfaction of a job well done,
the self esteem that comes from knowing they made a difference, the flush of pride in
reviewing a finished project and the warm feeling of camaraderie that comes from working
as a team. These are positive experiences and lessons for life.
I pledge my HEALTH to better living
|| It's difficult growing up today. The health issues youth face
today go well beyond geographic and social boundaries. Drug and alcohol use/abuse,
sexually transmitted diseases, poor nutrition and teen pregnancy are among the major
health issues. Young people are also struggling with problems involving stress, gangs,
violence and managing money.
4-H health programs take a proactive approach to these issues and focus
on prevention education rather than treatment and intervention. Programs teach teens how
to make healthy choices about eating and exercising, provide cooperative programs that
offer real life simulation, one-on-one coaching in large and small group meetings with
guest speakers and health fairs that focus on teen wellness.
In addition to these programs, 4-H provides teens with opportunities
to become effective peer leaders, mentors and positive role models. In 4-H, being healthy
means feeling good both inside and out, and being in harmony with friends, family, school