The 4-H Emblem
In 1907 or 1908, the first emblem used nationally was designed by O. H. Benson, superintendent of Wright County (Iowa) schools, as a three-leaf clover with three “H’s” signifying head, heart, and hands. A four-leaf clover design with H’s appeared informally around 1908.
As the story goes, one sunny June morning in 1906 at a one-room country school near Clarion, Iowa, 11 pupils were spending 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, 4-H was known as “four-square education,” which was based upon education, physical, moral, and fellowship development.)
The 4-H emblem is a highly-valued mark within our country’s history. As such it was granted a very unique status; it is in a category similar to the Presidential Seal and the Olympic emblem. It is protected by the federal government and is under the responsibility and stewardship of the Secretary of Agriculture. The “18 USC 707” marking that appears along the right lower leaf is coding that protects the use of the clover.
The 4-H Colors: Green is nature’s most common color and represents youth, life and growth. White symbolizes purity and high ideals.
The 4-H Motto: “To Make the Best Better”
The 4-H Motto refers to each member. It means that each member will do the “best” that he/she possibly can in whatever is attempted. The member will then strive to improve the next time so his or her initial “Best” becomes “Better.” The 4-H motto encourages members to stretch their abilities and capacities to reach greater achievement within their own potential.
The 4-H Pledge
The 4-H Pledge states how 4-H goes about helping youth develop and grow in positive ways. As the pledge is recited, hand motions add extra emphasis to the head, heart and hands, as seen in the image.
The 4-H Creed
I believe in 4-H Club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen.
I believe in the training of my HEAD for the power it will give me to think, plan and to reason.
I believe in the training of my HEART for the nobleness it will give me to be kind, sympathetic and true.
I believe in the training of my HANDS for the ability it will give me to be helpful, skillful, and useful.
I believe in the training of my HEALTH for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, to resist disease, and to work efficiently.
I believe in my county, my state, and my community and in my responsibility for their development.
In all these things I believe, and am willing to dedicate my efforts to their fulfillment.