Imagine. It is late 1901 in Tennessee. The sun is at its peak as 5 children gather in a farmhouse. In the background you can hear the horses neighing, the pigs oinking, and the cows mooing. You watch as a 4-H meeting is being unraveled. A guest speaker comes in and talks about the sewing of corn seeds and how to do it effectively.
4-H started as a club for boys and girls and its goal was to extend agricultural education to rural youth, through "learning by doing". In the early stages, 4-H just had an agricultural agenda, but through the ages it expanded to fit much more 4-Hers around Tennessee.
4-H then took on another role: Instead of a farmhouse the meeting was in an empty room in a factory. There you could faintly hear the sounds of machinery beyond the concrete walls. The sound was coming from the machines and people working laboriously to manufacture armor and weapons to help the cause against Hitler. That 4-H meeting taught the kids about mechanics and how to use machinery. After the meeting was over, the kids went to the factory to help the men and women as their community service project.
In this next generation, 4-H had expanded far beyond its former goal. It still had the same groups that it started with, but now incorporated the new mechanical groups. This shows how Tennessee 4-H has moved with the times.
Between the 1940s and the 1970s America witnessed a huge population shift from rural to urban areas. Among these citizens who moved to the cities were people eligible for 4-H. So Tennessee 4-H reached out to those people and provided them with unique projects such as the communications project.
In the dawn of the 20th century the world burst into the computer age. According to online statistics, there are 1,018,057,389 internet users in the world. That is just over 1 billion people! There are 7 billion people alive today, which means that roughly 1/7th of them work with a computer. That means most 4-Hers work with computers. Not surprisingly, Tennessee 4-H has come out with a computers and technology project group.
As we can see over the last century, Tennessee 4-H has believed and achieved. By adding the most relevant projects of the time, Tennessee 4-H has developed a community so diverse and rich.