Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 5:57 PM by Global Reach

4-H an organization for young people, started in Emmet County about 1919. The beginning was a pig club with eight members. In 1920 a purebred sow and litter club was organized with 18 members; in 1921 a dairy calf club, a poultry club and corn club was added. In 1923 the first girls club was organized. This was called a garment club. Three years later canning clubs were organized.

Would you believe, in 1926 there was a sugar beet club? Each year there were new clubs, and a few dropped so enrollment was never too large. The County Agricultural Agent with the help of willing adult leaders worked with club members. In 1926 it was noted that club work in general was rather a new thing in Emmet County and was slow in getting a foothold, but wherever started its value was immeasurable. The community, parents, and children benefited.

The first girl’s committee in 1923 was:

                Mrs. W. J. Gordon

                Mrs. E. J. Maniece

                Mrs. M. L. Soeth

                Mrs. Olin Anderson


First boy’s committee in 1925 was:


August Rosenberger

Fred Wossman

Martin Peterson


Other early leaders were George Robb, M. L. Soeth, C. J. Skattebo, S.O. Laundy, John Darling, J.C. Jansen, Theo Christianson, Gilbert Gibbon, G.A. Bonstetter, Mrs. Max Soeth, Mrs. George Robb, Mrs. Owen Morton, Mrs. Walter Blagg, Mrs. J.C. Bosold, Mrs. C.E. Conrad, Lillie Gilertson, Mrs. E.E. Logue, Mrs. August Ronenberger and many other men and women interested in helping the young people in the county.


In 1934 the first Home Demonstration Agent came to Emmet County . She was Margrette Pfeil. With her help the girl’s clubs were helped greatly. In early years much interest in gril’s clubs was place on garment construction, bread making, and canning. As years passed, a three-year cycle of Food and Nutrition, Home Furnishings, and Clothing was put into use. There are many other projects that can also be carried.

In the early stages of 4-H clubs, it was thought that a Show Day or Achievement Day was necessary. (A special day when all clubs in the county could bring their projects together to show what had been accomplished throughout the year.) The girls held a county Show Day each year in different parts of the county. The first real Achievement Day was held in August, 1925. Mrs. Edith Barker, State 4-H Leader, attended this day. In her remarks she stated, “This is the best Achievement Show for the first one that I had ever attended.” At these Achievement Shows, demonstrations were given and a top team was chosen to go to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.


Achievement Show for nutrition and other such projects were held at the fairgrounds in a gravel floored steel building. This was a very dusty place. The National Guard Armory building was made available later for the girls exhibits and demonstrations.


The first Rally Day was held in June, 1926. This was a day for girl’s clubs. New County officers for the coming year were elected, after much campaigning by clubs and speeches by the candidates. Each club had some part in the program. The newly elected officers were installed in a pleasing candlelight service.


An Honorary Member, an adult, that had done a lot in 4-H club work, was initiated with an inspiring ceremony using a live clover chain, songs and speeches. The first Honorary members were Mrs. J.C. Bosold, Mrs. George Robb, and Mrs. W.G. Gordon.


The County Girls Creed, a reading written by Jessie Field Shambaugh, was always a part of Rally Day. This reading was a county girls thoughts and feelings of what county life meant to her, and why she liked to live in the country. Pictures and the artist, music and the composer, was studied through the year. Contest on these were held on Rally Day which awards given for 100% papers. Dreaming, Ceremonial Song, and the 4-H Field Song were rational selections which helped to make Rally Day Complete. In 1962, the last Rally Day was held.


Each year a Junior Shortcourse for girls was held at Ames. This was a once in a lifetime trip for a young person. Later this was called State Convention. Still later it was called State Conference and boys and girls both attended.


State Fair at Des Moines was also a treasured trip. It was and still is a great honor to be chosen to the Demonstration Team of Emmet County and to make this trip. Awards for good projects have been given to youth through all the years. These have been given at Rally Days, Achievement Shows, Banquets and County Fair. An Awards Night, to be held after projects and completed in the fall, was started in 1963 and most awards are given at this time. Boys and girls county officers are elected on this night. In earlier years girls county officers were elected on Rally Day and boy’s officers elected at the Farther-Son Banquet.


1961 marked the first year in Emmet County, the girls could carry a livestock project in addition to their regular home economics projects if they desired. The better Grooming contest ended in 1963. In 1966, there were 184 girls involved in 4-H club work in Emmet County. That same year saw all 160 boys involved in 4-H study of electricity.


Every year the county 4-H officers set goals for the 4-H program. The 1967 goals were to encourage more demonstration in the boys clubs, work on 4-H county officer elections, organize a 4-H carnival in March or April to raise enough money to sponsor a summer 4-H dance and assist at the County Fair.


1967 marked the first year that age divisions were used for the purpose of records, exhibits and other participation in county and out of county events. Youth needed to be 10 year of age to join and the age categories were as follows: Junior grades 4,5, and 6. Intermediate grades 7, 8 and 9 and Senior grade 10 and above. It was also noted that to exhibit outside of the county you needed to be an Intermediate or Senior member and to demonstrate outside of the county out needed to be a Senior 4-H Member.


1967 also marked the first year that enrollment in clothing was optional if you had carried the clothing project in 1963 or 1966. If you chose to not carry the clothing project, carrying the Home Improvement project was mandatory. Membership in Emmet County was 202 girls and 163 boys for a total of 365 members.


1968 saw the emphasis in 4-H clubs to be Food and Nutrition in the Home Economics Clubs and Animal Science for the Agriculture clubs. Health was the project emphasis within Personal Development. It was also determined that a 4th graders whether 10 or not could join 4-H. The Small Engine project was added to the county fair class list in 1970. Also in 1970, youth 9 years of age if in the third grad could join 4-H. Two new projects areas, bicycling and community service were added in 1973. With the increasing interest in small animal projects, the need for defined class descriptions was noted in 1979. In 1980 a pen of rabbits was defined as 3 rabbits. 1980 also saw two new events: working exhibits and the pie baking contest.


1990 saw the communications contest move to the spring season vs. being held during the fair. A new member contest was initiated with a pizza party awarded to the club with the greatest percentage increase in new members. The 4-H booth theme was “4-H Spark the Spirit.” A six county Intermediate Trip was started in 1991. In 1993 Junior Fun Day during Christmas Break was held and the 4-H committee voted to pay 50% up to $50 for a youth to participate in State 4-H Conference, Citizenship Washington Focus trip, etc.


Four “4-H Welcomes you to Emmet County” signs were put up at the borders of Emmet County in 1995. Clover Kids, a program in K-3rd graders was started in Emmet County with education, social skills and recreation at the base of the program.


The Emmet County 4-H Foundation was formed within the Iowa 4-H Foundation in 1998. Iowa proposed the use of the uniform style for 4-H shirts in 1998 and Emmet County joined in on the state wide effort. Eight 4-H members attended Citizenship Washington Focus. In 1999, ten 4-H members from Emmet County attended the Citizenship Washington Focus Trip.


2000 marked a Robotix workshop in Emmet County and after school programming for 3rd and 4th graders. Youth could join 4-H anytime through the calendar year in 2001 as long as they could meet the 4 meeting attendance guideline.


In 2002 Emmet County had a 4-H Centennial Float with the various styles of 4-H uniforms and exhibits signifying the various project areas. The float was the three parades within Emmet County. A photo montage was assembled representing each decade of 4-H in Emmet County with the exhibit shown during the fair. The premium auction was started in 2002. In 2002-2003 Emmet County saw 220 4-H Members. The shooting Sports program was introduced. Horse Helmets “Every Time, Every Ride” became a requirement in Emmet County in 2004. Two education trips were held during the Christmas break with one centering on agriculture and one on Home Economics. Many project workshops were held throughout the year. Enrollment was at 219.


An Intermediate County Council was started in 2006 with similar goals of the County Council. In 2007, 39 youth were involved in Cloverkids. Numerous Summer Camps were held through the summer. 2009 was a 7% increase in enrollment with 12 delegates to State 4-H Conference. In 2010, 93 youth participated in Clover Kids and a Lego League Club was formed. Eleven youth attended State 4-H Conference. County Council consisted of 13 members and Intermediate Council consisted of 12 members. County membership was at 220. 2011 saw 14 members attending State 4-H Conference and seven summer days camps for K-6th Grade youth. In 2012, six summer camps were planned and 2013 marked a new Food Project Group started.

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