Applying the 4-H pledge to member’s lives

Add meaning to the 4-H pledge by discussing its impact in a member or volunteer’s life.

The 4-H clover at the top with images of a rainbow head, red heart, orange hands and green apple. This image also has the words: The 4-H Pledge. I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.

Spending time applying the 4-H pledge to your life can enhance its meaning. While we say the 4-H pledge together at 4-H club, council and committee meetings and see it written on flags or signs, taking time to consider each year how it connects to your life or goals can support your development.

A great way to do this is to go through each “h” of the pledge and determine connections. This can be done around a content area or topic, or in relation to each individual person. For an in-person event, participants can write their ideas on personal sheets of paper or list ideas on flip chart paper in the room. It could also be done through conversation and discussion. In a virtual setting, Google jamboards or chat could be used, as well as general conversation.

To pose this question, mention that we often say the pledge but don’t take time to think about its meaning. Then take each part of the pledge into discussion. For you personally, or related to topic (such as money management), how do you…

An extension of this activity is to focus on each sentence of the pledge at different group meetings. A meeting could be focused around “pledging your head to clearer thinking.” The icebreaker for that meeting could be to discuss the personal connection to that line in the pledge or activities can be focused around that theme. For instance, perhaps the “clearer thinking” meeting includes time management tips, problem solving activities, working through various scenarios, or a planning/goal setting activity for the club or individual member lives.

Taking time to hear what members or volunteers see as the application of the 4-H pledge in their lives can be both insightful and inspiring. Many times, we don’t take the time to consider its meaning in our growth and development. Discussing the 4-H pledge as a group provides a space to put the “do-reflect-apply” model of 4-H directly into action and apply its message to our club and our lives.

If you are interested in learning more about the 4-H pledge or getting involved in a 4-H program, visit Michigan State University Extension.

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education or entrepreneurship, contact

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