Hands-On History
Promoting the Health H

The following story is from the October 2015 issue of the 4-H History Preservation Newsletter

In the last issue we featured an article about O. H. Benson as one of the people selected by State and National 4-H Leaders as having “made 4-H great”. That article explained that he was instrumental in getting the clover adopted for our youth program. In 1911, O. H. Benson proposed four Hs that stood for Head, Heart, Hands, and Hustle. O. B. Martin suggested Health instead of Hustle. At a meeting in the spring of 1911, the 4-H leadership approved the 4-H emblem representing Head, Heart, Hands and Health.

An article by Gladys Scranage, a Girls’ Club Agent in WV, in the October 1938 issue of National 4-H Club News acclaimed that improving physical and mental health was vital to everyone. “[T]o create a desire for health, to aid in developing right attitudes, to encourage physical improvements, to help in establishing health consciousness in the community, to improve food habits, to aid in disease prevention, to study community health problems, and to continually set health standards are goals that seem to me to be entirely in the province of a 4-H club.”


Good safety habits contribute to good health. In the October, 1945 issue, safety cartoons by Utah 4-H member Ruth Louise Noall were featured. “Each pictured a warning, done in colored crayon and with its whimsical rhyme, occupied a full page in her [safety] book.” For example, a sketch of a child reaching for a pot on the stove warns, “Turn those handles toward the stove, If you will; And baby is not the only one Who might spill.”

Miss Scanage’s article lists some suggested activities for 4-H clubs that could be good hand-on projects for today’s 4-H clubs. She suggested that 4-H clubs should develop and promote a health program. This could include appointing a permanent health committee to direct health activities of the club. They would study local health problems, present health information as part of each 4-H club meeting, help in promotion of health in the community and encourage members to have regular checkups and make a personal health plan.

Hands-on History


How can your club benefit from Miss Scanage’s suggested activities? You could create a health officer or committee to suggest physical activities during your club meeting recreation time or recommend healthier refreshments. Your group can study local health issues and make plans to inform the community.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .