Posted on March 8, 2012 at 4:53 PM by Global Reach
4-H in Woodbury County, as in all of Iowa, has from the beginning been concerned with teaching youth skills that make everyday life better while developing responsible, productive citizens.
A program book from a Farm Bureau Fair held in Moville in 1927, when the Interstate Fair in Sioux City faced financial trouble, had classes for Baby Beef & Swine and for the girls Home Improvement classes. Rules were brief, but interest was high.
In 1930 the Woodbury County Fair Association was organized, and 30 acres of a farm at the edge of Moville was purchased for a fairgrounds. The county fair was traditionally held in mid-September with the students being dismissed from school to attend and exhibit their projects.
A County Achievement Show was held in Sioux City in mid-August of 1956 because the 4-H Superintendents felt the fair should be held before the start of school and the Iowa State Fair, and the Fair Board did not agree. The following year the Woodbury County Fair was held in Moville in mid-August.
A new girls club was organized at the Sanford Center in Sioux City in 1959. It was the first inter-racial club in the county with 16 girls and three leaders. In recent years new 4-H clubs have been started at Girls Inc. and the Midtown Family Community Center. The urban effort has helped to increase membership in the Woodbury County program. The Center has helped to reach new youth.
In the 1970 it was mandated that we no longer have a Boys 4-H Committee and a Girls 4-H Committee. A 4-H and Youth Committee whose representatives were selected from equal population areas and would now oversee all areas of youth development. In order to provide continuing structure and support for the traditional community 4-H clubs, a sub-committee was formed in 1974. The duties of the sub-committee were to evaluate record books, prepare the fair classes, choose award winners, help recruit 4-H leaders and fair superintendents and to generally offer suggestions to help improve the county 4-H program.
Members of this newly formed committee were: Bill Hamann, Marian Harrison, Lou Matthey, Vince O-Connell, Russ Koskovich, Marie Albertsen, Maureen Sobieski, Marilyn Engle, Mildred Gardner, Maxine Black, Sheryl McGowan, Dorothy Powell, Nancy Burright, Dan Miller, Wayne Molstad, Bill Utesch, Joe Shoop, Nina Cropley, Eleanore Lewis, Bob Lewis, Lou Roach, Leonard Todd, and Milo Wilson. All 23 were present for the first meeting. This committee had continued to serve although their function has changed to follow the changes in the 4-H program. It is now called the 4-H and Fair Committee, and its members provide continuing support for the 4-H community clubs. Members include: Jen Ankerstjerne, Nancy Burright, Steve Christiansen, Tony Hansen, Jamie Johnson, Denise Knaack, Eleanore Lewis, Polly Pithan, Alan Ralston, Janet Ralston, Wayne Ralston, Gwyn Schramm, Tom Swanger, Kathy Tabke, Lane Tabke, Jim Thomas, Jessica Weber and Ashley Weber.
The first 4-H Hall of Fame inductee from Woodbury County was Esther Klingebiel McKee. Esther came to Woodbury County in 1939 as “Home Demonstration Agent” and served until 1968. For many people, she was the standard by which all extension personnel were measured. She was a graduate of ISU and received awards on both the state and national levels for her work with 4-H clubs and rural men and women. She was a charter member of the Iowa 4-H Foundation and assisted in raising money to purchase the
Clubs with long histories include the Arlington Future Farmers – 89 yrs, Pioneer Valley – 71 yrs, Willow Workers – 75 yrs, Triple S Hawkeyes – 61 yrs, and Rock-Kee-Union – 60 yrs. In 1963 Woodbury County boasted of 49 4-H clubs. Currently there are 20 clubs.
As Iowa celebrated the 4-H Centennial, Woodbury County was honored to premier the children’s book, “Helping Hands, Caring Hearts.” To honor Lou Roach and Sheryl McGowan, Dr. Roach and Dr. McGowan underwrote the printing costs. The book was illustrated by Carol Faber, former Woodbury County 4-H’er.
Pictured: Carol Faber, Sheryl McGowan, Dr. Gerald McGowan, Florine Swanson, Dr. Kenneth Roach and Lou Roach
A $10,000 grant from the Missouri River Historical Development allowed the 4-H Fair Superintendents to design and build new booth dividers and other furnishings for the 4-H Building on the Woodbury County Fairgrounds in 2011. The new dividers replaced the ones built in 1972 when the 4-H Exhibit Building was erected and dedicated to 4-H usage during the fair. Several years ago the Woodbury County Fair Board let 4-H members use the air conditioned Varied Industry Building to have their 4-H building exhibits conference judged before fair. This has been much appreciated by 4-H families, leaders, judges and 4-H fair superintendents.
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