There are many programs offered here in the Mississippi Delta that help enhance the lives of our young people. Some of these opportunities include the after-school programs, various mentoring programs, sports activities, the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and others. All contribute to the lives of the Delta’s young people in a variety of positive ways.
However, there is one program that perhaps might not be in the limelight as much as the others, but can certainly be a tremendous asset to a young person and that is the 4-H program.
The 4-H program is one of the most important youth development programs offered – anywhere. With over 500,000 volunteers and 3,500 4-H professionals that mentor over six million children across the country, 4-H is the largest youth development organization in the United States. This wonderful program is often the first opportunity young people have to learn many of the skills needed to successfully maneuverer through life. The program helps young people build self esteem, teaches them how to make good decisions, teaches how to be responsible, teaches young people sound communication skills and so much more.
Additionally, in 4-H, young people learn how to conceptualize a task and carry it out all of the way to the end. The Delta is full of Cooperative Extension offices that implement and oversee these programs.
The foundations of 4-H can be traced back to 1902 with the purpose of instructing rural youth in farming and farm-homemaking practices. By the 1970s, 4-H broadened its programs to cover a full range of youth with a wide range of life experiences.
The 4-H pledge says it all:
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.
As we search for ways to prepare the youth of the Mississippi Delta with the tools needed for life, let’s not overlook the 4-H program. For more information on 4-H, visit www.extension.msstate.edu and www.4-h.org.
On the cover of this edition of the DBJ, we feature Hayes Dent of Yazoo City, one of my very good friends. In fact, our friendship goes all of the way back to around 1984. Hayes has been front and center of many things that have helped improve not only the Mississippi Delta, but the entire state of Mississippi.
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