Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 11:44 AM by Global Reach

The Bremer County girls’ 4-H clubs were organized in 1920 with special project clubs such as: Food Club, Own Your Own Room Club, Garment Club, Expense Account Club, Health Club, Bread Club, Canning Club, and Home Furnishing Club. 

In 1921 the girls' 4-H clubs started with 3 clubs and 16 more added before 1937.  Of the original 19 clubs,  Do-R-Best  is the only active club today.  Several other clubs have had name changes over the years and are still active today. 

In 1921, Bremer 4-H boys organized into a Holstein Calf Club, followed by a Jersey Calf Club, Ayrshire Brown Swiss Calf Club, Guernsey Calf Club, Poultry Club, Colt Club, Beef Club, Market Pig Club, Corn Club, and Purebred Pig Club.  In 1934, Township Boys’ Clubs were organized.  One club CoLaPiCa, which stood for cow, lamb, pig, and calf, was in existence for several years.

The first Achievement Day was held in 1923. The First 4-H Rally Day was held also in 1923 and the first 4-H banquet was held in 1924.

In 1940 there were only five girls clubs in the county with a membership of 62.  4-H club work was conducted in Bremer County for rural girls with the following general objectives: to have an organization for rural girls; to develop community spirit and a sense of responsibility to community; to develop an appreciation for better music and recreation; to develop an interest in building good health; to develop in each girl unselfishness, loyalty, friendliness, high ideals, cooperation, and responsibility; to help each girl find her place in her home and to contribute her share in its work and pleasure; to appreciate the joy and art in every day tasks; and to develop an appreciation of the dignity of rural living.  (The preceding sentence was taken from the 1940 Annual Report written by Laura Holst, Home Demonstration Agent.) 

In 1943 there were 6 boys clubs with membership of 89 and 6 girls clubs with membership of 70 and 17 leaders. 

In 1950 there were 12 boys clubs with a membership of 264 and 13 girls clubs with 232 members and a total of 50 leaders. The emphasis for the girls was clothing and switched between Foods, Clothing and Home Economics every year. 

In 1960 a total of 32 clubs were available to Bremer County Youth to become members of with the theme “Learn – Live – Serve Through 4-H.”  There were 196 boys enrolled in 10 clubs and 22 girls clubs with a membership of 298 for a total county membership of 494. 

The first County 4-H Committee was organized in 1934 for boys and girls clubs (separate committees).  In 1970 men and women were combined and served on the same committee.  That committee helped plan and carry out the 4-H program much as it does today. In the early 70’s there were 32 active boys and girls clubs in the county.

In 2004, 298 members were enrolled in 17 clubs with 42 club leaders.  An additional 1,261 youth were reached through summer day camps, school enrichment, and special interest groups.  Forty-three Clovers (K-3 grade) attended some of the community clubs and there were 3 Clover clubs in the county.   Clovers could bring two exhibits to the fair to be on display.  Bremer County has the largest poultry show in the state, other than the Iowa State Fair.  Fairground improvements have brought excitement and long-lasting memories to the fair for 4-H members and their families. 

In 2012, 300 4th-12th grade members and 120 Clover Kids were enrolled in 20 clubs with 35 club leaders. Additional youth were reached through summer day camps, after school programs, school enrichment programs, and special interest groups/workshops held throughout the year. Clover Kids have grown in their project areas and are now allowed to take a larger variety to showcase their skills. The fair is also working with the families on bringing a new grounds to the family for a better exhibition and memories.

Through the years, 4-H in Bremer County has developed into clubs promoting everything from food to goats to computers to aerospace. Clubs are no longer separated by gender; of the 17 clubs 3 are girls clubs and one is a boys club and the rest are co-ed. 

4-H in Bremer County is alive and going strong!


Visit the Bremer County 4-H Website.


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

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


I spent many years in the Readlynettes 4-H club, a girls-only club that met in Readlyn, Iowa, in Bremer county. It is not mentioned in this history. Why not, and how can we update this?
Pamela Brandt | 3/20/23 at 3:16 AM
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