Whether you are already a member of 4-H or are thinking about joining, it is important to know the 4-H pledge and what it stands for. At every meeting, 4-H members place their hand over their heart and say the 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”
This pledge isn’t just something you repeat all of the time. It is a pledge with meaning and devotion to making your world a better place. Joining 4-H not only teaches you how to be a better citizen for your community, it is also an opportunity to make new friends and develop lifelong skills that will help you make a better future.
The 4 “H”‘s
Pledging your head to clearer thinking is a commitment to keeping your mind clear of the thoughts and ideas that will hold you back as an individual growing in today’s society. By stating these words, members are learning to stop caring solely about themselves and concentrate on other people and things that are in greater need than they are. 4-H members can grow as individuals with leadership skills and kindness to make the world better for all. Thinking with a clearer head also allows 4-H members to think of other things of greater importance in life, such as heart.
Pledging your heart to greater loyalty is pledging to care more for other people instead of only caring for yourself. This is a commitment to being faithful to each and every person and guarantee to help out if anyone is ever in need. The ability to have “heart” can make a member become a giving person who puts the needs of others before their own and gives out what they need with their hands. Showing kindness to others can go a long way and by being surrounding with other members they get more encouragement to continue in that path.
Pledging your hands to larger service is a promise to give the world as much as a member can give. Like “heart”, giving your hands to larger service is when a member steps back from their own personal needs and gives to others what they can. Through “hands”, 4-H members gain the ability to give strength to others. 4-H members have the opportunity to get out in the community and show everyone how much care their hands hold, while being able to maintain their own personal health.
Pledging your health to better living is the one part of the pledge that focuses on themselves before others. Through all of the thinking, caring and giving, it is easy to forget about ones self and endanger personal health. If you do not keep up with your own personal health, you will not be able to give to others with 100%. Thinking, caring and giving to others is very important, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle amid all of the helping is equally as important.
“For my club, my community, my country, and my world.” The 4-H pledge stretches past local concerns to make the world a better place for all. The pledge has taught thousands to use their head, heart, hands and health to make a difference whether it is just locally or globally. Support and encouragement from members, volunteers and 4-H agents, have made this a very successful program.
To become a member or volunteer, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension Office for more information.
Jana Hart- Extension Agent- FCS/4-H