Posted on August 14, 2012 at 10:39 AM by Global Reach
Poweshiek County 4-H History
Compiled by Nancy Allen, County 4-H Agent 1978-1992, Youth Field Specialist 1992-2005
The First 20 Years
The idea for Girls Clubs in Iowa was started in 1917 by the United States Extension Department at Ames and was sponsored by Farm Bureau. Poweshiek County was a pilot area for girls club work. Mrs. Horace Royce was the organizer of the Malcom Township Worthwhile Club, which was probably the first girls club in the county. Mrs. Horace Royce of Malcom was one of the first, if not the first leader, of a 4-H girls club in the state of Iowa. The Washington Township Merry Workers Club is the oldest continuous 4-H club, organized in the winter of 1917-18 at a Farm Bureau meeting with Miss Edith Chedester as the first leader of 11 charter members. Through the 1920s, under the leadership of county chairman Mrs. Horace Royce of Malcom, the girls 4-H clubs of Poweshiek County grew, and Mr. and Mrs. Horace Royce were made the first honorary 4-H members in the county in 1929.
County Agent Joe Eves started the first 4-H beef project club in the fall of 1918 by enrolling 18 boys. Mr. Howard Willet was appointed the County Boys 4-H Leader in 1934. Much credit is due him for the success of the boys work including the election of countywide boys 4-H officers.
A more detailed history of 1918-1938 is found in Appendix A.
During the early part of this time span, clubs made their own programs following suggestions of the county club committee. Later the programs were planned by the county committee, local leaders, county officers and the county extension director. Early programs were project- and activity-oriented with a focus on various livestock projects and the corn project. Home economics projects of Food and Nutrition, Clothing and Home Furnishings and the additional projects of health, conservation, courtesy, appreciation of music and pictures, citizenship, recreation, and farm and home safety were stressed.
Camps, basketball tournaments, styles shows, victory gardens and scrap-paper drives were held as county-wide functions. The county committee and county officers planned county functions during the 1940s and 50s.
In 1955 the Extension Service and 4-H were formally separated from the Farm Bureau and the Extension Service eventually moved to the county seat in Montezuma.
New programs initiated were: fire prevention, health, farm electrification, agronomy – soil conservation, officer training schools, tractor maintenance, prevention of marketing losses, judging workouts, livestock fitting and showing demonstrations, and control of external parasites.
In 1957 the 4-H club committee started a County 4-H Foundation. Twenty-six Chicago Award Trips were given to 4-H leaders and members. In 1958 a career exploration program was started. 4-H uniform styles went through several changes.
Senior 4-H’ers were recognized with the Chicago Award Trip from 1957 to 1990 when the trip was changed to the Kansas City Career Conference.
A detailed history of 1939-1960 is found in Appendix B.
In 1962, 663 4-H members participated in local club meetings, achievement shows, fair, county camps, parties, Recognition Night and Rally Night. Interesting information in the areas of agriculture and home economics, health and safety were learned through discussion by club leaders and members. An ability to think and speak in a group was acquired by giving demonstrations or discussions at meetings. Members grew in their leadership abilities and personal knowledge and skills through many new experiences in 4-H, and they made new friends.
Perhaps the highlight of traditional events was the county fair where 562 4-H’ers exhibited, 223 in livestock departments and 339 in the Home Economics Department. The new Citizenship activity was introduced and 25 older members learned basic principles and put them into practice with a cleanup project during the county fair. In 1967 the 4-H organization moved to the project leader system.
County Citizenship Project leader Marilyn Warwick of Deep River invited State Legislators to help prepare the youth planning to attend the Citizenship Washington Focus Trip.
In 1966, a Junior Leadership project began with 30 members attending. Training was provided to adult volunteers at both the county and club level.
Boys and girls 4-H officers were selected; they provided club officer training for the local club officers.
Club leaders attended organizational and project training and were recognized for giving 5, 10 and 15 years of service.
In 1973 the 4-H club committee allowed girls to join boys’ 4-H clubs to carry livestock projects without having to also be a member of a girls club.
The 4-H Committee was made up of a male and female adult volunteer from each quarter of the county plus two from Grinnell, a male and female youth from county council, and the county 4-H youth leader.
In the 80’s and 90’s camping, farm safety, environmental education, energy awareness, and child care training were offered.
A detailed history of 1960-1990 is found in Appendix C.
1990 to present
Farm Safety Day Camps were held at the Poweshiek County 4-H and FFA Fairgrounds.
A county intermediate council was initiated to plan more activities for intermediates. Four County Intermediate Trips were held to explore different parts of Iowa. Area Intermediate lock-ins at the Science Center in Des Moines were held.
Four County Intermediate Citizenship trips to the Capitol allowed youth to visit with their state legislators.
Iowa and Poweshiek County took Intermediate Nature Trips to northeast Iowa.
Model airplane workshops, bread making, toys-in-space, conservation, global education and culture awareness, funtivities in math and science, chick embryology and biotechnology were topics for the school enrichment program and summer day camps. “Super Saturday” project workshops were held to introduce youth to the 50 projects now available in the 4-H program.
Since 2006, 4-H programming in Poweshiek has expanded into Shooting Sports, Robotics and E4D – Entrepreneur for a Day. With the resurgence of interest in home grown produce, we have initiated a Junior Master Gardener program. Another program that has been brought back is the 4-H Babysitting class.
A history of 1990 to present is found in Appendix D.
In 1990 County Extension Director Charles Wengert (1969-1990) retired and Cal Johannes became the County Extension Director. In 1992 with the Extension Service of Iowa’s reorganization, Home Economist Deb Van Arkel (1976-2008) and Cal Johannes shared the responsibilities of County Extension Director. Catherine Lents was hired as County Extension Director in January of 2009 and continues to serve Poweshiek County as Executive Director.
In 1992, County 4-H and Youth Leader Nancy Allen (1978-2005) became a Youth Field Specialist.
Poweshiek County Extension Service Staff: Appendix E
Since the beginning of 4-H in Poweshiek County, many 4-H families have now become three- and four-generation 4-H families. One of those families is the Jerry and Mary Dale family of Brooklyn. Jerry’s father, William Dale, Jr., served as a 4-H club leader. Jerry joined 4-H in 1948 and in 10 years of membership had served as boy’s county 4-H president and state vice-president, attended state leadership camp, National 4-H Conference and met President Eisenhower. Jerry’s siblings also achieved at the county, state and national levels. Jerry’s children won many county, state and national livestock honors. Jerry’s grandchildren have continued the tradition and recorded county livestock championships.
4-H Member and Leader Accomplishments: Appendix F
As of July 2012, membership in Poweshiek County 4-H is at 248 with 38 Clover Kids in 11 clubs. We have an active Shooting Sports Club that has about 30 members with 25 new certifications being awarded this summer. 30 Young people received certificates in Babysitting. Twenty youth participated in a Junior Master Gardener program.
History of Extension 4-H in Poweshiek County
In 1918 Extension Services were being organized in Iowa as part of the Smith Lever Act of 1914. The world was deep in war in 1918 in an effort “to make the world safe for democracy.” It was in the midst of this war that 4-H began its infancy in Poweshiek County. Joe Eves arrived March 12, 1918, to set up an office upstairs in a building in downtown Malcom. Extension Service worked through the facilities of Farm Bureau. Cars and crank telephones were becoming a part of rural life. Raising sufficient food was a primary job of the farmers who had to feed the allies involved in WWI. The people displayed potatoes of special varieties grown on demonstration plots set up by the County Agent Eves who also devoted considerable time to locating quantities of wheat and corn to save for seed in 1919.
Mr. Eves started the first 4-H club in the fall of 1918, enrolling 18 boys. This early club was a beef project club. The very first year 19 calves were weighed December 12, 1918, and the annual baby beef contest had begun. Eves reported three boys and girls clubs were organized in 1918 with a total of 59 members in the clubs. (Annual Report 1918)
The idea for Girls Clubs in Iowa started in 1917 by the United States Extension Department at Ames and was sponsored by Farm Bureau. Poweshiek County was a pilot area for girls’ club work. (Farm Bureau) Girls’ clubs had an early beginning. In the years preceding 1919 when there was no home demonstration agent, local farm women were very active in promoting girls 4-H club work. Miss Ida Ahrens was elected to the Extension Staff position as Home Demonstration Agent in January 1919, serving until April 1921. Ida V. Ahrens, Home Demonstration Agent, reported in the May 1-Dec.1, 1918, Annual Report that 12 members were enrolled in a girls club. Mrs. Horace Royce was the organizer of the Malcom Township Worthwhile Club, which was probably the first girls club in the county. Mrs. Horace Royce of Malcom was one of the first, if not the first, leader of a 4-H girls club in Iowa. The Washington Township Merry Workers Club is the oldest continuous (still existing in 2012) 4-H club in Poweshiek County (possibly in Iowa) and was organized in Washington Township in the winter of 1917-1918 at a Farm Bureau meeting. The name was adopted at that meeting. Miss Edith Chedister was the first leader. Mrs. Royce, Ida Ahrens and Josephine Arnquist, a state leader from Ames, helped organize this club. Charter members were Velma Donnan, Hazel Parker, Lois Chedister, Edith Harter, Berniece Bell, Thelma Gillespie, Ester Berry, Dorothy Harris, Ester Gillespie, Bessie Harris and Elsie Harris. Early, the girls learned to sew and mend clothing, care of feet, “proper” shoes, care of hosiery, canning fruits and vegetables and music appreciation. In addition to the Merry Workers Club, one other girls club has been in continuous existence since its organization in 1919. The Chester Stars of Chester Township was first called the Alpha Chi Club and was afterward changed to Chester Stars. Poweshiek County may have the distinction of having the first girls’ leader in the state of Iowa, Mrs. Horace Royce of Malcom, and having the first organized county 4-H Girls’ Club Committee in the United States. In 1920 Mrs. H. J. Royce was the first girls’ county 4-H committee chairman in the United States. Through the 20s it was her leadership as county chairman that built girls’ clubs in Poweshiek County.
In 1919, Home Demonstration Agent Miss Ahrens organized six cooking clubs and two sewing clubs. There were few local leaders so Miss Ahrens attended every local meeting with her 77 4-H’ers. Things were on a “Wartime Emergency Basis,” and Miss Ahrens assisted by teaching people how to cull hens. Some rural young people joined poultry clubs.
In the 1920 Annual Report, Malcom, Bear Creek and Union townships had 75 enrolled members in clothing clubs, Warren had 12 enrolled in Own Your Own Room club, and Malcom had 15 in a food preparation club. In 1921, 26 clubs were organized. A County Committee of four women was appointed to supervise the leaders and the 280 girls. Training schools were held for 4-H club leaders. Leaders were trained in refinishing furniture and their clubs were called “Own Your Own Rooms” Clubs. In the cooking club, girls learned to demonstrate the benefits of canning chicken. Ruth Decatar made her first dress as a member of a sewing club in 1922. The very first Rally Day for girls was held in Grinnell in 1922. A girls’ club tour of 250 girls was entertained by the Grinnell Commercial Club. They toured the new Grinnell High School building, Morrison Ricker glove factory and the Washing Machine Factory (Laundry Queen). Miss Daisy Davis of Malcom, vice president of the state organization, spoke of the advantages of a county organization as a preparation for future work. Miss Talcott, home demonstration agent, took charge of the meeting, and a motion to perfect a county organization and elect officers with a unanimous vote was passed. The first county president was Miss Carrie Graham of Madison, vice president was Lucile Molison of Pleasant, and Elsie Harris of Washington was secretary and treasurer. The officers were elected to compose a committee for the county to work with the senior County Club committee and appoint necessary subordinate special committees. State Leader Miss Arnquist conducted two meetings for club leaders, mothers and members and tried to train leaders to test posture and feet.
Miss Fannie R. Buchanan of Victor Talking Machines Company conducted meetings for music memory. She became the county music leader and later joined the Iowa State Extension Staff. She wrote five 4-H songs, including “The Plowing Song” dedicated to farm boys and “Dreaming” for 4-H girls. Both were introduced at the National 4-H Club Camp in 1927. “The 4-H Field Song” was very popular.
In the 1922 report, 26 girls clubs were organized: 24 garment-making clubs, one “Own Your Own Room” club and one canning club. There were 287 girls in clubs, and 229 girls completed their work: 1,665 articles were made by club members, $2,104.98 estimated store value of articles made, six contests held for girls clubs, five demonstration teams sent to state fair, and $49 in premiums were earned by girls at state fair.
In February 1919, Mr. Carlos J. Fawcett was hired as the County Agent. The Junior Club Work was started by Mr. Fawcett early in the winter of 1919, when he organized a Baby Beef Club. Only a few days were spent in actually organizing, but he succeeded in lining up 14 boys with 24 calves. The work was somewhat “de-arranged” by Mr. Fawcett’s leaving in the middle of June. Mr. M.D. Korns, a purebred Angus man, took charge of the work, and made the entries at the Grinnell and State fairs and accompanied the boys to both places. The club ranked second in premiums at the State Fair. Two of the calves were bought by the college for the purpose of fattening and fitting for the International. Another was bought by Mr. Rosenfield, an Angus breeder, for the International. Fifteen boys finished the calf club contest, kept accurate feeding records and showed their calves at three fairs, two in county and the state fair. Fourteen of the calves were taken to State Fair, winning 13 prizes including three championships.
Judging was a part of 4-H from the beginning. In 1919, 21 boys took part in three judging contests. The three boys receiving the highest scores went to the State Fair. County Agent Mr. Fawcett noted that all three were from a calf club thereby proving the benefit of club work. (Annual Narrative 3/1-9/15, 1919)
Mr. Fawcett also organized the purebred pig club, and he freely made suggestions for the care and feeding of the pigs. The club had been organized only a short time when Mr. Fawcett left and Mr. Ernest Davidson of Brooklyn took charge. Much interest was shown in the club by farmers and purebred hog men. At the Brooklyn Institute sale they sold for an average of a little better than $50, the top being $105 and the bottom $27.50. Much interest on the part of the boys and a true spirit of competition was shown. Mr. Fawcett wrote, “We expect all this year’s boys and many more to be in next year’s clubs because they and also their parents are beginning to see the practical value of such work.” In 1922 Bill Sargent showed his best Hampshire boar pig and won second at the state fair and later was chosen junior champion at the National Swine Show.
Mr. Paul Tomlinson reported a baby beef club of 24 members from Jefferson, Pleasant, Malcom and Washington townships and a market pig club of 16 members from Madison, Bear Creek and Grant townships. (Annual Report 1920)
In the early days, the County Agent selected the calves for club work. Beef club tours had a different purpose in the beginning. The County Agent went on the tour and picked the calves for State Fair. An Angus raised by Joe Eisele gained 3 lb/day. Not many feeders topped this. The calf sold for $14.25, which was a good price. In 1921, County Agent Paul Tomlinson noted that the calves didn’t do so well because they lacked the “finish and bloom so essential for critical judgment.” It was almost a sin not to exhibit if chosen. Bud Sherwood of Hartwick didn’t take his red calf to the fair in 1923 because he was afraid it wouldn’t win. He shipped it to Chicago where yardmen called it one of the thickest calves they had seen. Bud was censured for not showing his calf. Fairs were the popular highlight of the year. The important thing was the beef calf. All breeds were shown together. Grand Champion Market Beef winners were: (1925) Marion Goodrich; (1926) Velda Easton, champion club member; (1927) Forrest Breniman, champion club member, 4-H Club Congress; (1928) Joseph Eisele, Donald Baustian, gold medal; (1929-30) Marion Goodrich. In 1925 three club members fed six calves that were shown at the Brooklyn Institute and later sold at the calf auction at Chicago. In 1927 six baby beef club members fed nine calves, which were shown at the state fair.
Sheep project clubs were also popular. They centered around Grinnell. Melvin Hall showed a prize-winning lamb. In 1922 two boys won the first two prizes on ram lambs at the state fair. Mr. J. Blakely of Grinnell is credited with starting the first sheep club in Poweshiek County and has been directly responsible for a lot of boys and girls getting a better understanding of club work, its aims and purposes. His efforts introduced a high quality of sheep stock in the county. In 1923 he received a pair of a new breed, Columbians. They were shipped to Mr. Blakely who helped his 4-H’ers develop the breed. Wool was shipped via railroad. Sheep club members pooled their wool to get the highest prices and used the latest means of transportation to haul the wool to the railroad. Seven club members were enrolled in the sheep and lamb club.
During 1922 one of the outstanding forward movements was the inclusion of boys’ 4-H club leaders on the County 4-H club committee, thus making it a joint committee.
In late 1923 Farm Bureau Headquarters and the County Agent’s office moved to Brooklyn. Fairs were held at several places in one year. 4-H’ers showed at fairs at Malcom, Grinnell and the Brooklyn Institute. Even churches sometimes had fairs. In 1925 15 lambs were shown at the State Fair. The club leader Judson Blakely coached a demonstration team of Ruth Decatur and Wilbur Farley, and the team won second place in the state contest. A lamb tour was conducted with 30 in attendance. In 1926 Ruth Decatur had a grand champion ewe at the State Fair and won a trip to 4-H Club Congress after being in club work for six years. Sixteen sheep club members raised 40 lambs with 20 being shown at the state fair.
In 1925 nine club members joined a purebred gilt club, and nearly all showed the gilts at the Brooklyn Institute. A standard sow and litter club was organized with seven members enrolled. Monthly meetings were held at the homes with a club leader in charge. Twelve pigs were shown at the Brooklyn Institute. Twelve sow and litter club members raised 92 pigs. Sow and litter clubs helped promote the McLean System. This amounted to getting hogs out of mud holes and out on clean pasture. This system proved effective in growing 200 pound hogs in six months.
A dairy calf club was started late in the fall of 1925 with a few members enrolled.
From 1924-29, county club officers were elected: (1924) Virgie Patten, Mary Reitzler, Mary Sanders; (1925) Virgie Patten, Ruth Decatur; (1926) Janet Miller, Lois Crider, (1927) Katherine Gross, Violet Easton, (1928) Forrest Breniman, Irma Miller, Ralph Reams; (1929) Zelma Hicks, Esther McFate.
In 1925 nine girls’ clubs in eight townships with a total membership of 74 were organized to take up home furnishing. Each club had a club leader and held monthly and semi-monthly meetings. The club members made or refinished 171 articles of household furnishings. A Rally Day program was held at Ewart and was attended by about 75 folks. Another club day was held at Grinnell. Gladys Patton trained the Scott Township demonstration team of Kathryn Close and Lillian Gross; they demonstrated rug making at the state fair. The rally day and achievement day programs were enjoyed by 150 people. A health girl was selected. County Health Champions selected have been (1926) Leona McMeekin; (1927-28) Ruth Clindinin; (1929) Edith Poots. A music memory contest was held at Grinnell where the winning club was awarded $10. Eight girls were sent to the short course at Ames. Eleven girls were fifth-year members. County Chairman Mrs. Will Steenhoek gave much of her time in this work.
By 1926, 180 boys and girls were actively engaged in club work. Ten were in baby beef, 19 in pig, nine in sheep, 99 in poultry with 10 leaders, and 46 in the Home Furnishing clubs. The objectives of the early clubs were simple. 4-H was a tool to help the rural poor become more efficient. The goal was to see what a boy could do with a pig or calf. For girls the goal was to economically use the resources at hand to produce food and clothing. Five demonstration teams were trained. Two of these represented poultry and home furnishing clubs at the state fair.
In 1926, the County Agent encouraged 4-H’ers to join the poultry club because poultry was one of the most profitable industries. Harlan Geiger showed some prizewinners, and first became known for his poultry judging skills. He won both state and national poultry judging contests. Geiger later became a state 4-H leader with the Iowa Extension Service.
Horse and pony clubs were popular. Horses provided the means of power, so size, strength and endurance were features club members tried to develop in their horses.
By 1927, 211 boys and girls enrolled with 122 girls enrolled in nine clothing clubs. Each group adopted a club name. Three training schools were held to teach subject matters to leaders. Articles made totaled 320, and 16 articles were exhibited at the state fair. In 1927 two boys were selected to attend National 4-H Congress in Chicago.
In 1928, the Poweshiek County 4-H Fair and Shortcourse was organized at Grinnell at the Spaulding Building under the joint sponsorship of the County Farm Bureau and the Grinnell Kiwanis Club. The club committee selected Irma Miller for the Style Show, and she won first place in the state contest, and the county was awarded $100 in prize money. Miss Miller also went to the Homemaker’s Exhibit at Chicago. At the Rally Day held at Merrill Park, a picture was taken of the club members in the position of a huge four leaf clover. County club officers were elected: Forrest Breniman, president; Irma Miller, vice president; and Ralph Reams, secretary. The Grinnell Kiwanis club provided a banquet for the club committee and about 20 club girls. The state club leader addressed the audience on the subject of 4-H club work.
Corn clubs were a part of Extension in every corner of the county. In 1927 the high corn yield was 74.4 bushels per acre. Early corn clubs aided in the promotion of corn hybrids and in 1937 Marion Hendrickson won the sweepstakes. In 10 years corn yield records had doubled to 140 bushels per acre. But even with record yields, the corn was picked by hand. Five acres of corn meant a lot of work as a 4-H project.
In 1929, the Good Luck Club of Scott Township made Mrs. Royce and her husband, Horace, the first honorary 4-H members in the county.
In 1930 the first Beef Heifer Club was organized with three boys purchasing purebred Angus heifers to show at the County Club Show and at the State Fair. Twenty boys of club age organized a Farm Management Club.
In 1931 more than 200 club members and parents attended the first attempt to hold a County 4-H Club Banquet. The Dairy Calf Club was organized with the election of officers.
In 1932 Mrs. Charles McSherry was very interested in getting some of the boys and girls who were not doing livestock work into 4-H Club work, so she organized a forestry club with 29 members to study trees, and they held eight meetings. A club orchestra was also organized. In addition to the county organizations of the Baby Beef Club, Sheep Club, Pig Club, Dairy Calf Club and the Forestry Club, local clubs were organized to accommodate the club members who had to travel great distances to attend meetings of the respective clubs. The Lively Livestock Club was one of the first clubs organized under this plan. The club embraced members of all the individual clubs and members were from Scott, Warren and Bear Creek townships. Another club organized was named “The Better Livestock Club.” Townships represented were Madison, Bear Creek, Sheridan and Chester.
For the first time in the history of Poweshiek County 4-H, the boys were organized on a county-wide basis in 1934. A County Boys 4-H Club Leader was appointed, Mr. Howard Willett, and much credit is due him for the success of boys’ 4-H work in the county. A countywide boys 4-H meeting was held, and county officers were elected: Donald Baustian, president; Melvin Price, vice president; Estel Pilgrim, secretary-treasurer; and Marvin Bunnell, historian.
Drought hit severely in 1934 and 1935. But 4-H pushed forward making progress in agriculture, home economics and developing good citizens. The leadership of Mrs. Charles Hudson is to be credited with the boost of 4-H during the 1930s. Many of the changes in philosophy and activities included in 4-H were the direct results of her efforts. One of the changes was that project clubs became community clubs. In girls clubs all the girls carried the same project in one year, and projects rotated from home furnishings to food and nutrition to clothing. In boys clubs the boys carried a variety of projects. Each year a boy and girl were selected as County Health Champions. The Hall of Fame was formally introduced at the County Club Party on Jan. 2, 1936. Poweshiek County is the first county in the state to have a printed Hall of Fame booklet.
During the early part of World War II, 10 4-H clubs were active in the county with representatives in all townships except Deep River. In 1941 a club was organized in Deep River. The early programs were project- and activity-oriented to produce an interest and awareness in the people of 4-H. Discussion topics at the local meetings were of practical interest to everyone. They included such things as discussions on care and management of the project, selection of projects and fitting and showing of projects. The project consisted of the various livestock projects and the corn project. A few members also carried the farm record project. Emphasis also was put on judging of livestock.
During the early part of the period the clubs made their own programs following the suggestions of the county club committee. In 1941 the club committee met to plan the 4-H program for 1942. Later the 4-H program was planned by the county committee, local leaders, county officers and County Extension Director. No one method was predominant, however, the county club committee functioned in some way at all times except in 1942 when it was inactive because of the war except for the chairman, A. J. Blakely.
In December 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. was once again in war. 4-H’ers joined as a member of the 4-H Victory Army, which was commissioned by President Roosevelt. 4-H’ers helped plant victory gardens, producing food for the home folks. During the war, the girls 4-H program followed much the same pattern as it had previously. In addition to the Home Economics projects of Food & Nutrition, Clothing or Home Furnishings, the health program, conservation, courtesy, appreciation of music and pictures, citizenship, recreation, and farm and home safety were also stressed. Then during the war, some clubs held scrap paper drives and helped collect tin cans and fats, and the girls sold war bonds at local club and countywide functions. Poweshiek Girls sold war bonds and were second high in the state with $5,503 invested in 1943. As the war ended in August 1945, 4-H’ers were a part of the celebrating and in welcoming weary soldiers back home. 4-H resumed a more normal capacity following the war. Camps, basketball tournaments and style shows all were resumed.
After the war, the program continued to stress the major projects by rotating food and nutrition, clothing and home furnishing through a three-year cycle, and the minor projects and activities were stressed as before.
With the ending of World War II, the 4-H program began to broaden. The project was still very important, but other activities were included that were designed to develop the member and broaden his/her knowledge. Many more joint activities for both the boys and girls clubs also were introduced.
All through the period the club program was prepared by the County Club Committee. Starting late in the post-war period and continuing to the present, the 4-H program has continually broadened. The project was still very important but was starting to be used as a tool to teach other things. The special activity program also added greatly to broadening the knowledge of the members. More demonstrations by the boys’ club members were also stressed because of the experience that the members gained by thinking and talking on their feet. More joint activities, such as the joint boys and girls camp, were started with a major purpose of teaching members to get along with others. A career exploration program was started to make the members more aware of the problem they would face of choosing an occupation when they were through school.
The 4-H program was set up and planned on a year-to-year basis by the county club committee until 1958 when a projected program for the county was set up. This program was prepared by the club committee and council representatives and ran until 1965 with alterations as needed.
The county 4-H officers have taken a very active part in planning joint activities such as camps, parties, etc. on a countywide basis.
The program content of the 4-H girls’ clubs has been largely recommended by the state Extension Department at Iowa State College. Emphasis on certain phases was worked out by the county committee. During the late 40s the county committee and county officers planned the county functions for the year. In 1950 the statement was made in the annual report that with heavier work loads at school, county officers do not have the time to spend with details of planning. In the late 50s the county committee had major responsibility for determining special activities to be emphasized.
During the war the 4-H program was cut back greatly. The parts of the program that remained and functioned were those already established: the project, judging and similar programs. The local leaders also carried on a fire prevention program. This program however, had been started before the war. The County Extension Director did some leader training and the leaders took this back to the clubs.
Teaching in girls 4-H has been carried out by holding leader training schools for 4-H leaders and mothers; county officers and older club members were urged to attend.
With increasing workloads, and school officials’ hesitancy to excuse girls from classes to attend training schools, leader training schools were attended mainly by adults after 1955.
In 1950 a 4-H building was built at the fairgrounds in Grinnell. A Chicago trip became a part of the 4-H program.
In 1955 the Extension Service and 4-H were formally separated from Farm Bureau. After beginning in Malcom, then residing in Brooklyn for a number of years, the Extension Service moved to the county seat of Montezuma.
Demonstration help days were held beginning in 1956 to help girls select, organize and present demonstrations at local club Demonstration Days, which were encouraged for all clubs. Prior to 1956, no mention was made of these, and no doubt each club selected a team to represent them at county fair. Demonstration Days in each club were encouraged to give more girls experience in team demonstrations. Ability to speak to groups has been developed by setting up the goal of one talk and at least one demonstration by each member at local club meetings each year.
Club Achievement Shows and County Achievement Shows have been a major educational methods used. Judges have been asked to write or to give oral comments on judging occasions.
A major project in the early and late 40s was the Social Progress Contest. Local 4-H clubs were rather weak, and to develop a stronger local unit, this contest was developed. A score card was developed giving points for various club functions and activities and the number of new members added. The project was very successful in that many new members were added and each local club was stronger.
A discussion training school was carried out because discussion was poor in the clubs. One representative from each club was invited to attend. The proper method of conducting discussion groups was discussed. The club members gave three-minute demonstrations of various discussion subjects and acted as discussion chairmen during these demonstrations. After the meeting the discussion programs in the local clubs were greatly strengthened.
Each club was asked to select a team of four to attend a Parliamentary Law contest. They were asked to demonstrate five abilities and were judged on their knowledge of parliamentary law, forcefulness, smoothness and poise. This contest greatly strengthened the club meetings because the business meetings were better conducted.
The Fire Prevention program was carried on through the local clubs. Fire Prevention was discussed at the local meetings after which the members were asked to inspect three farms and discuss fire prevention with the owners. A contest also was held in which the members made posters and presented other materials on fire prevention.
A health program also was conducted. Good health practices were discussed at local meetings. The activity was ended with many of the members taking a physical examination. The clubs continued to carry on the health program in later years. Health information was discussed at 4-H meetings, and the activity was ended with each member taking a health examination. This was considered a very good program because in some cases defects were found and corrected.
More emphasis was placed on record books during this period. The record books were collected and graded in order that members would put more work in on them and thus learn more of farm record keeping. The books were graded by the county committee, and a cash award was given for the top books.
A farm electrification program was initiated. A leaders’ training school was held in January at which an Extension Service specialist helped bring information to the leaders. A series of district meetings was continued during the winter with a Rural Electric Coop service man as instructor. Some of the local clubs presented some of the information at township Farm Bureau meetings.
A special activity of Agronomy was carried on to teach the members soil conservation practices. The leaders received training on the project, which was divided into two parts--crops and soils. They then presented this information at local club meetings. Weed and crop seed identification was carried on under the crop section and soil fertility, management and conservation were taught under the soils division. The members also went on a soils tour to see soil conservation practices in use.
Officers’ training schools were held to give instruction to the local club officers on carrying out the duties of their offices. The county officers first attended district officers’ training schools and then helped with the one in the county.
Other special activities were carried on in Tractor Maintenance and Prevention of Marketing Losses.
On the whole, the leaders were the mainstay of the 4-H program. The material was presented to the leaders at leader meetings, and they, in turn, took it to the local clubs.
Some of the material was presented at area meetings on a county-wide basis.
A 4-H activity day was carried on as it had been after the war. It consisted of a judging workout and a fitting and showing demonstration. Several stops at different farms were made in order that the member received experience in judging more than one kind of livestock.
A different special activity was carried on each year in the 4-H program. Those carried on were prevention of baby pig losses, insect and rodent control, farm electrification, control of external parasites of livestock, and conservation and land use. These were carried out by the leaders attending leader training meetings and then taking the information to the local clubs. The activity on the control of external parasites was presented by the assistant at each of the clubs.
Emphasis was placed on demonstrating in the boys clubs. Demonstration training schools were held for leaders and members. The health activity had been dropped during the first part of the period but was added again later. Health was discussed at local meetings and inserts included in the record book on which to record health activities. A poster contest was started at the county fair. The object was to inform the public of the activities that each club was doing.
In 1953 a doll-making service project was carried on successfully and was featured on the County Close-Up television show. Approximately 800 dolls were sent to hospitals and orphanages both here and overseas to Greece, Holland, England and Korea. These were distributed by church agencies and arrived in time for Christmas. In 1955 the Pleasant Chickadees were recognized for seven years of overseas giving. 4-H’ers had made 200 picture booklets for patients in Holland and Latvia, and 350 dolls and animals for orphanages in France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Greece and Korea.
At the 1954 Girls’ State Convention, 10 girls state convention delegates did the Bohemian Dance, “Cshehbogar,” for the historical opera pageant, which had been done 20 years before by Poweshiek County girls. This was originally directed by Fannie Buchanan.
In 1957 the 4-H club committee voted to start a County 4-H Foundation that was set up on an annual basis with memberships selling for $25.00. A board of directors elected from the membership would decide how the money should be used. Twenty-six Chicago Award trips were given to 4-H members and leaders, four leaders received outstanding leadership, and 11 boys and 11 girls received outstanding 4-H records recognition. Two clubs were selected to receive $25 for an educational tour involving the whole club.
A joint camp was started in 1958. The purpose of the camp was to acquaint the member with camping, nature study, group and individual recreation, crafts, leadership training and the ability to get along with others. The county 4-H officers had primary responsibility of camp planning and were assisted by the extension staff.
Also in 1958, a career exploration program was started. The program consisted of a series of four meetings with a different topic being taken up at each meeting. The first meeting was employment opportunities in agriculture; second was labor unions; money and credit was the third; and the last meeting was on general college information.
Training in the home economics project area has been an important part of girls’ 4-H. Selection of foods for good nutrition, instruction in food preservation, planning use of time and energy in meal preparation, selecting and construction of becoming clothes, and appreciation of good design in home furnishings have been important objectives and have been carried out through girls’ projects.
The health program has been an important part of girls’ 4-H. Each year a health clinic was held in Grinnell, and girls were examined by doctors and dentists.
Opportunity to take part in business meetings in a small group of their own has given many 4-H girls a good background for leadership and good training in citizenship.
4-H uniforms were blue cotton “middy” until 1948. From 1948-1961 it was a turquoise dress with a sailor collar and white bow. And from 1961-1968, it was a green-and-white stripe box-pleated skirt and blouse changing to a shift and a jacket. The 70s introduced the solid green polyester tailored suit. Today in 2012, dark jeans or skirt and a white blouse or t-shirt with the 4-H emblem is appropriate to wear at the fair, during presentations and judging.
History of 4-H from 1960 - 1990
In 1962 the purpose and objectives of 4-H club work were achieved through a well-rounded 4-H club program including local club meetings, traditional events and projects. Through the local club meeting the 663 members of boys and girls 4-H clubs of Poweshiek County learned the value of organization. They lived democracy in action in their business meeting, exercised leadership abilities and practiced parliamentary procedure. Interesting information in the areas of agriculture, home economics and many related areas such as health and safety were learned through discussions by club leaders and fellow members. An ability to think and speak in a group was acquired through giving demonstrations or discussions at meetings. 4-H’ers also learned to be a better host or hostess through having club meetings in their homes.
Another important sector of the well-rounded 4-H program was traditional events. Through attending and participating in local club achievement shows, fairs, the county camp, parties, Recognition and Rally Nights, 4-H’ers learned to broaden their horizons. They gained new experiences, met new friends and experienced additional leadership experiences.
About 65 4-H’ers attended senior 4-H camp in July. They learned more about group living and attended lessons nature study and citizenship.
The 37 local 4-H club presidents were host to the Poweshiek County 4-H Foundation at the foundation’s annual dinner and presented a program explaining the various phases of 4-H club work. The county 4-H officers and committee were in charge of planning and serving the banquet.
In June 450 4-H’ers attended 4-H Rally Night and took part in the election of the county 4-H officers for 1962-63. Mrs. Sylvan VeVerka and William Dale Jr. were initiated into the county 4-H organization as honorary members by the members of the Union Township clubs. The new county 4-H officers were installed by the retiring officers.
Five hundred fifty 4-H members, mothers, leaders and friends attended the 4-H Mother Daughter program given by a field representative of the American Institute of Baking on “Snappy Snacks.”
About 300 4-H’ers attended Recognition Night in November to receive or see fellow 4-H’ers receive awards for their outstanding work in the 4-H club program.
In 1962, as in past years, 23 4-H members and leaders made the Chicago trip sponsored by the 4-H Foundation. Objectives of the Chicago trip were to learn more about life in a large city and the many educational, cultural and recreational opportunities available there; delegates also saw the many career opportunities available there.
Perhaps the highlight of the traditional events was the county fair in August. A total of 562 4-H’ers exhibited at the county fair, 223 in the livestock departments and 339 in the girls department. All 4-H’ers enjoyed the fair through winning the various classes as well as just exhibiting and having their achievements of the year evaluated.
A third sector of the well-rounded 4-H program was activities. Through the various
4-H activities such as demonstrating, judging and the citizenship program carried on in Poweshiek during the year, 4-H’ers developed initiative and a spirit of service to others. They also gained additional knowledge and experience.
Demonstrations were presented in all the local 4-H clubs, and 11 boys teams and 38 girls teams participated in the county demonstration contest. Two top boys and the top girls team demonstrated at State Fair and the top girls’ dairy team demonstrated at Dairy Cattle Congress.
Judging workouts were held with beef, sheep, dairy and swine. About 100 4-H members took part in them and learned some of the fundamentals of selecting livestock for breeding and show purposes.
A new activity introduced into Poweshiek County in the Brooklyn area was the citizenship program. Twenty-five older 4-H members learned some of the basic principles of good citizenship and selected the project of keeping the fairgrounds clean during the fair as their project. The project was a means of putting some of the things they learned into practice.
The last sector of a well-rounded 4-H program was project work. Through the project the 4-H’er gained knowledge through doing. They also developed a stronger sense of responsibility and learned the value of keeping records. Projects also required making decisions, which helped to develop judgments.
Project work in Poweshiek County covered a wide area, from the home furnishings, food and nutrition and clothing programs in girls work, to the livestock and crops projects in the boys program. Projects such as gardening were done by both girls and boys.
In 1966 a Junior Leadership Project began with 30 members attending and 14 completing the project records. In 1967 the Poweshiek County 4-H organization moved into the project leader system, which was new to most Iowa counties. In each club, project leaders worked with members carrying certain projects. Training was provided by Harlan Geiger and Tom Wickersham for swine, horse, beef and dairy project leaders. County project leaders were in the areas of photography, garden, entomology, swine, dairy and automotive. Girls’ projects rotated among Home Furnishings, Food and Nutrition, and Clothing. Supplementary projects rotated among Electrical Engineering, Animal Science, and Plant Science. Thirteen delegates attended the Iowa Youth Safety Conference at Iowa State University. Driver Improvement was the focus, with additional safety workshops on such topics as animal, chemical, electrical, tractor and machinery, fire, home and recreational safety. In 1968, 1,000 youth were reached with Lawn Mower Safety workshops held throughout the county. Poweshiek had the largest delegation at the Iowa Farm Youth Safety Conference. An Auto Project Group was organized.
4-H Club Committee was now reformed to include six members representing 4-H, three members from the Extension Council and one from the County 4-H Council.
Emphasis in the 4-H beef program was redirected to focus on the realities of beef management and production – buying, feeding and management. Evaluation criteria such as rate of gain and carcass information received more consideration.
In 1973 the 4-H Club Committee decided to allow girls to join boys clubs if they wanted to carry livestock projects. They would not have to belong to a girls club to join a boys club. In 1974 a summer aide recruited youth in the summer, and five new clubs were started in Grinnell in the fall. The 4-H Citizenship Program in 1979 included citizenship project meetings with a state senator and representative, field trips and a variety of individual clubs conducting community service projects. The 1980s began a focus of increasing participation in the camping program: “Camp I Can” was offered for weight control, Intermediate Camp was held at Diamond Lake and planned by County 4-H Council, and a joint counselor training and Junior Camp Overnight was held at Rock Creek with Jasper County. Summer Day Camp topics varied from bike and farm safety, nature and art activities, science and math, to a study of different cultures. A Wildside Camp for fifth graders was co-sponsored with the County Conservationist and held at Diamond Lake in the 90s.
In 1985 fundraising for the construction of new county fair facilities included quilt raffle, county cookbooks, garage sales and pancake breakfasts.
Child Care training was conducted that reached many non-4-H club members. A focus on energy awareness was incorporated throughout the 4-H program in camping, club meetings, newsletters and county fair. A county intermediate council was initiated to plan activities for intermediate members. An Area Intermediate Lock-in at the Science Center in Des Moines was held, and annual fourcounty Intermediate trips explored Northeast, Northwest, Central and Southeast Iowa. Sig Manufacturing provided resources for model airplane workshops. Dog training classes were held. Photography workshops were conducted. Farm Safety Day Camps were conducted at the fairgrounds. Tractor safety and maintenance classes were held for youth to be certified to work on farms. “Super Saturday” project workshops were taught by county resource people to introduce 4-H’ers to the 50 projects now available. School enrichment classes included making bread, child care training, toys in space, conservation, global education and culture awareness, skills for adolescents, chick embryology, Funtivities in math and science, and biotechnology.
Boys and Girls County 4-H Councils – 60’s, 70’s, 80’s
Present 4-H 2000
Poweshiek County initiated a Shooting Sports program in January of 2006. Six volunteers attended instructor training in the spring, and the first certification class was held in March. Several youth attended the state meet in June that year and placed very well. Since then certification classes have been held every summer. Youth have the opportunity to be certified in Rifle, Shotgun, Archery and Muzzleloader. More than 100 Poweshiek youth have become certified, and several remain active members of the Shooting Aces 4-H Club. The Shooting Aces meet monthly and “go to the line” for practice March – October. The remaining months they discuss service projects, fundraising, have workshops and some field trips. There are currently 10 certified and active instructors
The Robotics program began in 2009 with project clubs in Montezuma and Brooklyn. Members practice building Lego Mindstream Robots and programming them to meet various challenges. In the three years since, two teams have gone on to state competition.
Past County Agricultural Agents
Joe Parvin Eves Feb. 27, 1918 - Jan. 1, 1919
C. J. Fawcett Feb. 2, 1919 - Aug. 1, 1920
Mr. Grant Chapman, Iowa State County Extension Service Interim, May, 1919
B.W. Lodwick August 23, 1920 - Dec. 31, 1920 Assistant County Agent
Paul Tomlinson November 1, 1920 - Sept. 1, 1923
W. A. Geiger Sept. 1, 1923 - May 1, 1933
Harold F. Miller May 8, 1933 - Sept. 20, 1940
Loren D. Brown Sept. 21, 1940 – April 15, 1942
Kenneth C. Thatcher April 15, 1942 – November 1, 1943
J. S. Quist (acting) January 1, 1944 - February 1, 1946
Loren D. Brown February 1, 1946 – January 31, 1952
Stanley R. Stover February 1, 1952 - February 28, 1954
Kendall Kimberlin May 1, 1954 - December 31, 1954
Roger Sandage January 1, 1955 – August 31, 1959
Clair E. Hein January 25, 1960 – March 31, 1965
Gary M. Peterson June 16, 1965 – August 15, 1969
Chuck Wengert Dec. 1, 1969 – 1990
Cal Johannes Jan. 1, 1991 – Sept. 30, 1992
Past County Home Demonstration Agents
Ida Ahrens Dec. 1, 1918 - May 1, 1921 Assistant State 4-H Girls Club Leader
Avis Talcott May 1, 1921 - Sept. 1, 1922
No Home Demonstration Agent until 1935
Florence Schuerman Dec. 1, 1935 - Sept. 9, 1937
Frances Hettler Sept. 15, 1937 - Sept. 15, 1939
Wanda Cooper Sours June 16, 1941 – March 1, 1943
County Extension Home Economists
Mildred Tramel April 8, 1943 – June 30, 1952
Beverly Anderson July 1, 1952 – October 31, 1952 (Home Economist at large)
Ardis Walter November 1, 1952 – March 24, 1955
Carol Lee Pieper July 1, 1955 - August 15, 1956
Kathryn S. Wemer May 1, 1957 – July 3, 1976
Deborah VanArkel Sept. 1, 1976 – Sept. 30, 1992
Past 4-H Club Agents
Melvin Goeldner June 1, 1934 - Aug. 31, 1934 (summer)
J. D. Hayes Jan. 15, 1935 - Aug. 31, 1935 (summer)
L. D. Brown Dec. 1, 1935 –Sept. 20, 1940 (full time)
County Extension Youth Assistant
Richard D. Pilgrim July 1, 1947 – September 30, 1947
Maynard Raffety July 15, 1950 – August 31, 1950
James R. Borcherding June 13, 1955-September 9, 1955
Kay Connelly June 18, 1956 – April 30, 1959
Allen C. Jensen June 1, 1959 – September 30, 1960
Allen D. Koester October 1, 1960 – December 7, 1964
Max Schmidt August 1, 1967 - 1969 share with Jasper Co.
Judy Rama November 1, 1969-1971 share with Jasper Co.
David Wagner August 1, 1972 – January 15, 1976 share with Jasper Co.
Don Buzzingham July 1, 1976 – August 31, 1978 share with Jasper Co.
Nancy Allen Dec. 18, 1978 - July 1, 1992, Youth Field Specialist, 1992 - March 1, 2005
County Extension Education Directors (Beginning 1992)
Cal Johannes Oct. 1, 1992 - June 30 1999 (half-time)
Deborah Van Arkel Oct. 1, 1992 – June 30, 1999 (half-time)
Deborah Van Arkel August 1, 1999 – 2008 (full-time)
Catherine Lents January 1, 2009 – August 2009
County Executive Director
Catherine Lents August 2009 - present (July 2012)
County Office Secretarial Assistants
Summer 4-H Aide
1974, 1975 Michelle Tarvin
1978, 1979 Ann Lang, 1978 Jon Benda CETA aide
1980, 1981 Cindie DeCoster
1982 Debbie Lovig
1983 Carla Wentland
1984 LeAnn Hauser
1985 Dan Adams, Charlotte Emmert
1986 Renee Read
1987 Charlotte Emmert
1989 Kristine Hauser
1990 Brad Dale
1991 Tammy Jones
Clover Kids Coordinator
– Karen Adams
School Enrichment Coordinator
– Renny Crawford
County Council Advisors
1. Karen and Dan Adams,
2. Jennifer Fisk and Lisa Kline
3. Renny Crawford and Morgan Schafbuch
County Youth Coordinators
4. Julie Baumler, Karen Adams
5. Jennifer Fisk
6. Renny Crawford
Accomplishments beyond the county level have included:
Ruth Decatur had a grand champion ewe at the State Fair and won a trip to 4-H Club Congress after bei