Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on March 26, 2013 at 12:27 PM by Global Reach

Clarke County 4-H was started in 1910 by school superintendents Frank Reed and Bessy Hart. It was sponsored by the school. Girls clubs were first recognized in the 1919-1920 Clarke County Extension Annual Report.  Many changes have taken place in the years since then.


In 1947 the first fair was held at the brand new fair grounds located in the north part of Osceola. There were 9 4-H clubs that year. In addition to traditional livestock projects, honey production, gardening and light draft horses were popular projects that year.


Clarke County boys demonstrated their home-made electric pig brooder at the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago in 1951. It had captured first place at the Iowa State Fair. It was also demonstrated in Omaha at  4-H Livestock Conservation Day.
In 1952, Lorna Miller became the first girl in Clarke County 4-H history to own and show the grand champion baby beef.  158 girls enrolled in home economics projects and 369 garments were shown at one county fair in the mid-1950’s. Seventy-one youth from Clarke County attended camp at the first county 4-H camp held at the new 4-H Camp Center near Madrid in 1959.


Clarke County 4-H’ers raised $2,000 for the state camping center.
The first Osceola 4-H club for city girls was organized.
The first joint boys and girls county convention was held in 1962.


In 1971, Clarke County 4-H’er Brad Waller was chosen to be a state 4-H officer. 
There were ni Home Economics clubs and 12 Agriculture clubs with over 200 members.
Projects such as safety, ecology and bicycle were popular.  Interest in the Ecology project was matched with a county-wide paper drive as a 4-H fund raiser.


There was an increase in small animal projects, and fewer traditional ag projects as the rural crisis caused difficult times for farm families. 
In the 1980’s, boys and girls clubs were integrated into a single program. Clarke County 4-H membership peaked in 1985 at almost 300 members in 18 clubs.
County-wide fruit sales was an annual 4-H fund raiser for several years.


A celebration of 50 years at the current fair grounds was held in 1997.
In 1997 Ashley Graff showed the Grand Champion 4-H Market Lamb at the Iowa State Fair and her sister, Nicole, showed the Reserve Grand Champion.
The annual County 4-H Fall Fest was started in 1999 to recruit new members and showcase 4-H club projects and achievements.


Clarke County 4-H’er Marisa Boldon was chosen as Poultry Queen at the 2001 Iowa State Fair.
Merlin Newman was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame in 2002 for his many years of 4-H volunteer work.
Construction began on a new fairground west of Osceola in 2002. The final fair at the old fairground was held in 2003.  The new fairground continued to evolve with new buildings and improvements added each year.
Dog obedience classes were started in 2003 and the number of 4-H’ers participating with their dogs had grown to almost 40 by 2005.
Beth Taylor was selected to serve on the State 4-H Council in 2003.
In 2004, Clarke County had seven traditional 4-H Clubs, while a new after school group and a Clover Kids group were started in Murray.
The 20th annual Clarke County Classic Rabbit Show was held in Osceola in 2006.  The show began in 1987 under the leadership of two 4-H leaders.
Through many changes over the decades, 4-H continues to be an important organization for the youth of Clarke County.


The year 2011 was a big year for 4-H, as many exciting changes came to Clarke County 4-H.

o   We received a $500 mini grant to start an Environmental Club.

o   We organized a 4-H and Youth Committee. This committee is made up of both youth and adults to help promote and grow the    4-H program and make recommendations to the Extension Council.

o   We also re-established the Murray Clover Kids Program with 18 participants.

o   Began organizing an Osceola Clover Kids Program and received a $500 local grant to help get it started.

o   Re-established a 4-H awards Night. The first on was held at the end of October.

o   Re-established an active Youth Council

o   A new program called 4-H Online was established. In 2011, only CYC had access to this program, but for the 2012 re-enrollment year, 4-H families would re-enroll their children online instead of on paper. This is where they would also identify their animals instead of using the ID sheets and register for state and national 4-H events.

In 2012, we began the Osceola Clover Kids, meeting once a month right after school at the elementary with over 50 participants at each meeting

Started organizing project workshops, including Visual Arts and Woodworking. In conjunction with these workshops, we have seen a tremendous increase in exhibits in our exhibit building during the county fair

As of April 2012 we currently have 10 4-H clubs, 91 Clover Kids (grades K-3rd), and 141 4-H members (grades 4th-12th). We also have 20 4-H leaders and numerous volunteers.

Received the 4-H/ MG Wal-Mart grant. 4-Hers had nine plots at the Community Diversity Gardens where they grew, maintained, and harvested a variety of herbs, vegetables, and much more.

We are starting to see a small increase in Hispanic enrollment.

In conjunction with Union County, we received a STEM grant for a Lego League team.

4-H members, volunteers and parents helped volunteer one day at the Iowa State Fair at the Little Hands on the Farm.

4-Hers went to the Science Center of Iowa where they got to stay the night and experience an actual mummy and watch an IMAX movie. 

To make a donation to the Clarke County Endowment through the Iowa 4-H Foundation, click this button. Then select
Clarke County in the far right column (My 4-H County) and complete the gift information.

Donate Today!




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