Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on September 12, 2014 at 3:55 PM by Global Reach

Crawford County 4-H is rich in its heritage.  Many things have changed in 4-H over the years, but many have stayed the same.  Early history of Crawford County’s 4-H club members and their work seems to have been lost in the files in the Farm Bureau office, although scattered records gleamed from different reports show this history goes back to about 1914 or 1915 when corn clubs were common over Iowa.  School Supt. F. N. Olry, who had been a booster of 4-H club work, helped the rural boys get started.  Two of the leaders of these early clubs were Z. T. Dunham of Boyer township and Ed Reimer of Morgan township.  These Master Farmers served as club leaders. 

Decade of 1920s

John Quist, first county agent of Crawford County (1918-1922), was an enthusiastic organizer of 4-H clubs.  The first organized girls’ clubs in the county were started in 1923 with seven organized township clubs with leaders:  Jackson, Dow City, East Boyer, Hayes, Denison, Washington and Milford.  Many of the girls were already involved in livestock clubs in the county but expanded into bread making, gardening and canning in girls’ clubs. 

The oldest annual report of the Crawford County Extension Service is the 1925 report, which reported 369 youth ( 139 boys and 240 girls) were involved in 4-H clubs.  In 1925, 4-H clubs were organized in different departments: Market Pig, Sow and Litter, Ton Litter, Poultry and Girls Garment Clubs. The 4-H club program is organized into club groups with volunteer leaders.  At this time, there were boys’ clubs and girls’ clubs.

The 4-H Pledge:  “I Pledge My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service, My Health to better living, for my Club, my Community, my Country, and my World”

The 4-H Motto: “To Make the Best Better”

The Iowa Slogan: “To Win without Bragging and to lose without squealing”

The 4-H Colors: White and Green.          

Decades of 1930s- 1940s

In 1936, the fourth annual 4-H girls’ Club rally was held.  At this time, there were sixteen girls’ clubs:  Jolly Workers, Lucky 4-H, Union Bluebirds, Busy Beavers, Country Lasses, Nimble Fingers, Boyer Boosters, Wild Rose of Soldier, Jolly Rustlers, Happy Hearted Hustlers, Hanover Stars, Scattergood, Merry Maids, Happy Helpers, Merry Mixers and Busy Bees. 

Boys’ and girls’ club work continued to grow during the WWII period, but at a slower rate due to the fact many boys of club age were doing men’s work on farms.  4-H girls did their part in the war effort with Food for Victory program working in war gardens and preserving the food produced. 

Decade of 1950s

In 1952, the following clubs were active in the county:  Buck Grove Jolly Boys, Manilla Blue Ribbons, Charter Oak Boosters, Willow Township, Vail Volunteers, Westside Peppy Pals, Schleswig Pioneers, East Boyer Rustlers, Hawkeye Girls, Kiron 4H Stars, Merry Maidens, Lucky 4H, Westside Allstars, Paradise Pals, and Atomic Starlets. 

Decade of 1980s

During this time period clubs evolved to no official “girls” or “boys” clubs.  Both sexes and persons from all backgrounds are welcomed into all 4-H clubs.  Starting in the 1980’s, 4-H began offering experiences for youth in over 100 project areas, including projects as varied as aerospace, citizenship, clothing, computer, electronics, food and nutrition, home improvement, horticulture, leadership, small engines, and livestock and crop production, to name only a few.

Evolution of 4-H Requirements

4-H uniforms were required for members for a number of years.  The uniform for boys was a white shirt, dark pants, and a 4-H tie.  The design of girl’s uniforms has evolved over the years.  The first uniform was a dark blue middy blouse with a pleated skirt.  Soon, a second uniform (1948), a blue-green one-piece dress with a sailor collar, was designed.  Later, a two-piece pinstripe dress with jacket was worn.  Then the uniform for girls in 4-H was a green suit with a skirt and jacket, worn with a white blouse.  There are no uniform requirements for 4-H members today.

All members are required to complete their record books.  In early club work, these records recorded such projects as food and nutrition, clothing, home improvement, garden, creative arts, health, and many others for girl’s 4-H clubs.  In the boys clubs, there were swine, cattle, poultry, sheep, horses, dogs, and many other projects.

In Crawford County, non- livestock exhibits are still required to go through a local achievement show before they can be exhibited at the county fair.  Crawford County 4-H members exhibit livestock at the Crawford County Fair, Iowa State Fair and Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Show in Omaha, Nebraska.  Crawford County youth have earned many different top awards through the years.      

Participating in events outside Crawford County has long been a part of the 4-H program.  The International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYW) program was a strong program in Crawford County.  Many 4-H families have hosted youth from other nations in their homes for three to six weeks at a time.  Another event was through 4-H Interstate Exchange Program.  Weeklong “adoption” by a 4-H family in another state was alternated by weeklong hosting of 4-H’ers here in Crawford County.  Exchanges have been held in Georgia, Utah, Michigan, and Kansas.        

At Awards Night, 4-Hers are honored for their accomplishments.  Merit, Citizenship, Leadership, and “I Dare You” awards were and are highest honors for 4-H members along with project awards.

4-H Clubs

Many clubs have been a part of 4-H through the years.  A few include:  Lucky 4-H Club, Willow Willing Workers, Vail Volunteers, Junior Stockman, Happy Hustlers, Happy Homemakers, Scattergood, Peppy Pals, Boyer Boosters, Busy Beavers, Happy Go-Lucky, Schleswig Go-Getters, Denison Farmers, Hawkeye Girls, Nimble Fingers, Southern Bells, Manilla Jolly Girls, and Manilla Blue Ribbons.

Clubs active in 1985 (some having been in existence for many years) were:  Atomic Starlets, Boyer Rooters, Charter Oak Boosters, Denison Diamonds, Eager Eagles, East Boyer Rustlers, Friendly Willows, Good Handy Helpers, Denison Friends, Four Corner 4-H, Manilla Marvels, Jackson 4-H, Kiron 4-H Stars, Kiron Winners, Crawford County Horsemasters, Merry Maidens, Dow City Dazzlers, People Pleasers, Schleswig Pioneers, Schleswig Stars, Nifty Neighbors, Sunshine Friends, Crawford County Trail Dusters, Westside 4-H and Westside Winners.

In 2005, there were 282 4-H members involved in 14 clubs across the county.  Active clubs were:  Aspinwall Achievers, Boyer Rooters, Charter Oak Achievers, Charter Oak Boosters, Crawford County Neighbors, Dow City Dazzlers, East Boyer Rustlers, Four Leaf Clovers, Good Handy Helpers, People Pleasers, Schleswig Sharks, Soaring Eagles, Sunshine Friends and Westside 4-H.

Currently (2013), Crawford County has 249 4-H members with XXXXX volunteer leaders.  There are 13 active clubs:  Aspinwall Achievers, Boyer Rooters, Charter Oak Achievers, Charter Oak Boosters, Crawford County 4-H Shooting Sports, Dow City Dazzlers, East Boyer Rustlers, Four Leaf Clovers, Good Handy Helpers, Paradise Pioneers, Schleswig Sharks, Sunshine Friends and Westside 4-H. 

The hallmarks of 4-H work have been and continue to be skills which 4-H’ers use long after their 4-H years are past.  These skills are leadership, citizenship, communications, record keeping, and decision-making skills.

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