Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on June 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM by Global Reach

The 4-H Program in Worth County has a rich history with its roots as deep as four generations.  Over the years, young people have learned, experienced and benefited from all 4-H has to offer.  Worth County records began in 1924 with around 200 4-H  members who gathered as clubs, such as beef, poultry, dairy, calf, colt, swine, and girls clubs. Through experiencing grooming and breeding to making hats, 4-H’ers of the 1920’s grew into leaders in the communities of the county.  By the end of the decade, the 4-H Program doubled to more than 400 members.

Worth County’s 4-H “claim to fame” came in 1954 when Janice Hullinger, 16, from the Lincoln Junior Farmers Club, won the Grand Champion Junior Beef Award in the Junior Livestock Show at the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.  Janice was suddenly a famous young lady due to the cover story in the Farmer’s Wife Magazine, many newspaper articles and even an appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV Show!  
Janice received $16,604 for her calf, Shorty, an Aberdeen-Angus.  When asked what she’d do with the money, she didn’t hesitate, but rather exclaimed, “Put running water in the house and save the rest to put my sisters, brothers and me through college”.  Her generosity spurred interest by various manufacturers, so her family not only got running water, but a new kitchen and bathrooms!
(Photo at right: Worth County 4-H has had great success in 4-H livestock Judging competition at the Area and State levels. In 2011 their teams managed to place in the top five in all four levels of the Sanctioned and Iowa State Fair contests. Youth have enhanced their decision making and communication skills through this experience.)
Recent history of the Worth County 4-H Program is successful, not only by the number of youth enrolled in 4-H, but also in the number who have stepped forward as leaders at the local, county, area, state and national levels.  
From 1983 – 2012 Worth County has had 79 members on the Iowa State 4-H Council, serving in leadership roles and representing northeast Iowa at the state level. Worth County also excelled in the area of State 4-H Project Awards.  
From 1984 – 2012 young leaders were awarded recognition for their efforts.  Many led workshops in their project areas to support and encourage younger members in their respective 4-H project experience.  Also, in the past 25 years, Worth County 4-H has had 130 senior 4-H members win State 4-H Project Awards and also National 4-H Congress Awards to Atlanta, Georgia.
During the same time span, Worth County 4-H had 10 4-H’ers selected for the Iowa 4-H Tech Team.  These state and national award winners show excitement for 4-H in Worth County knowing what 4-H has done for them and others.  This excitement in turn grows by inspiring local youth and leaders to gear up for more learning experiences and 4-H fun!
One of the greatest honors, and the most difficult to earn, is a trip to the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.  In the last 23 years Worth County 4-H has sent 13 high school youth leaders to Washington, D.C. to represent Iowa at the national level.
(Pictured above is the Northwood-Kensett 6th grade 4-H garden students are pictured with Linda Naeve, Iowa State University Extension Program Specialist who has been an educator and garden judge. Worth County Extension Master Gardner's and Worth County Extension Education Specialist, Dennis Johnson have reached more than 150 Worth County 4-H members in the past four years with outstanding information about gardening. The students have also prepared, planted, maintained and harvested a 21 plot garden at the Worth County Fairgrounds in each of the last four years as well.)
 All in all, Worth County is mighty proud of the number of youth that have developed in numerous areas through the 4-H Program. They have represented Iowa 4-H at the local, county, area, state and national levels.   (Pictured below on the left are Worth County 4-H members before 4-H State Recognition interviews.)
(Worth County 4-H Youth Coordinator, Mindy Tenold in cooperation with local school districts and Extension Council volunteer, Peter Julseth have organized the first ever Worth County 4-H Tech Team. Members are gaining new science based knowledge each year and the number of members joining and interest in the 4-H Tech Team is growing rapidly. A few members are shown in above right image.)
A yearly highlight for many 4-H’ers across the state of Iowa is the State 4-H Conference held on the Iowa State University Campus. In 2005 Worth County had more than 100 delegates attend this conference, which is a state record Worth County proudly holds.  In the past eight years Worth County 4-H had 551 4-H members attend the State 4-H Conference, which averages out to 70 delegates per year since 2004.  
Another tradition Worth County maintains is offering a trip for 4-H’ers, their families, and leaders every two years to Washington, D.C.  This citizenship trip is organized and led by Dennis Johnson, Worth County Extension Education Specialist. In the past 20 years, 610 Worth County 4-H members, parents and leaders have visited our nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C., gaining a greater awareness of and appreciation for citizenship.
(Pictures at right: Worth County 4-H organizes an Intermediate trip to the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines. 4-H members meet with their State Representatives and Senators as well as tour the Capitol and observe the House and Senate in session. This has been an excellent opportunity to learn about the workings of state government.)
Over the years, through excellent ISU Worth County Extension staff, top-notch adult club leaders and enthused 4-H members (and parents), Worth County steadily continues to maintain a strong 4-H tradition that began in the early 1920’s. It is rewarding to notice and reflect on what happens in the lives of Worth County 4-H youth as they successfully grow into effective adult citizens that continue to engage in citizenship, communication and leadership areas in communities in Iowa and throughout the nation.  It can be verified that Worth County 4-H has had a meaningful impact in the lives of youth and their communities.
Worth County 4-H has enjoyed a very active and vibrant 4-H communications project program in recent years. The 2011 Iowa State Fair Share N' The Fun group pictured above enjoyed a day performing on stage in the 4-H building this past summer in Des Moines during the Iowa State Fair.


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Continue the Worth County 4-H History and share your comments below.


I'm looking for the name of the BOYS' 4-H club in the 1950s, for Bristol Township. Thanks!
Vivien (Aasland) Hansen | 3/20/23 at 3:16 AM
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