Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on October 7, 2014 at 4:22 PM by Global Reach

Who were the pioneer people whose impact made a difference in your county as well as beyond?

Mrs. Clyde (Achsah) Maxwell was one of those responsible for beginning 4-H clubs in Washington County.  She had read accounts of the new and almost unknown idea of teaching and of bringing college work to the farm through the medium of youth.  She became more and more interested and finally concluded that this should be introduced into Washington County.  She asked the county agent to investigate and the 4-H work was then brought into the county.  Mrs. Maxwell served many years as a leader for 4-H work, including acting as county chairman for the girls’ 4-H committee.  In 1930 she received the Distinguished Service Award for community service from the Des Moines Register and Tribune, the Iowa State Fair, and the cooperating farm organizations.

Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame Inductees from Washington County

2002    Esther Birney

2003    Gary Murphy

2004    Howard & Shirley Bohr

2005    Mike Orris

2006    Elmer Schneider

2007    Robert Spenner

2008    Marie Hora

2009    Donald Davison

2010    Pat Greiner

2011    Gale Whitacre & Harold Wylie

2012    Nancy Adrian

2013    Jim Frier

2014    Robert Emde

2015    Harold & Shirley Bohr

2016    Jim & Louella Schneider

2017    Keith & Sara Murphy

2018    Nancy & Al Schmidt


Unique programs or experiences

The first 4-H Exchange was in 1949 when 40 4-H’ers from Haywood County, North Carolina, spent a week in Washington County.

35 Washington County 4-Hers took part in the 1st Citizenship short course trip to Washington, D.C. in 1963.

In 2012 Extension Region 15 (Washington, Keokuk, Iowa, and Johnson Counties) began work to offer regional junior camps.  In 2012 it was held at Crooked Creek Christian Camp in rural Washington.  In 2013 it was held at the State 4-H Camp near Madrid.  2014-2018 it continued serving Region 15 at Crooked Creek.

2013 started an additional high school leadership team called the 4-H ELITE Project Team.  (Enthusiastic Leaders Inspiring Teamwork and Experiences) This group of high school student complete the pre-requisite leadership training and application process.  They complete two major events/projects/programs to help develop the Washington County 4-H/Fair programs.  This group is led by 4-H adult volunteers with new teams starting each year in October.


  1. Achievements of outstanding 4-H’ers

For three years 4-H’ers in Cedar Township won Grand Champion Market Litter at the Iowa State Fair.  Leonard Bridges, Dwight Booth, and Dick Young achieved the high honor in 1927, 1928, and 1929. 

In 1932, Everett Hayes was selected as champion Pig Club boy of Iowa on his 4-H 4-year purebred sow and litter project and record book.

1993    Washington County 4-H Livestock Judging Team placed first at the 1993 Iowa

4-H State Horse Judging Contest.  The Washington team composed of: Amy Jordan, Desiree Graber, Carrie Humston, and Jennifer Hotchkiss represented Iowa in the 1994 national judging contest held in Denver, CO.  Jim Hotchkiss was the coach.

2001    Brent Schneider of the Riverside Ramblers was in the Iowa State Fair Governor’s Charity Steer Show with a calf raised on their family farm.  He was partners with Governor Branstad and sponsored by Iowa FFA. 

2005    Washington County 4-H Livestock Judging Team placed first among 12 teams at the 2005 Iowa 4-H State Horse Judging Contest.  The Washington team composed of:  Priscilla Marlar, Amanda Immerman, Tommy Herschberger, and Jillian Hotchkiss represented Iowa in the 2006 national judging contest held in Denver, CO.  Jim Hotchkiss was the coach.

2005-2006  Jodi Ebert member of State 4-H Council

2010-2011 Lauren Carter member of National  Congress

2011-2012 Lexi Marek member of National Congress

2011 Washington County Fair numbers at the Iowa State Fair:  21 communication exhibitors, 59  non-livestock projects, 71 livestock exhibitors

2011 Iowa State Fair Livestock Judging Team  Contest.  Washington County senior team placed 2nd and competed nationally at the American Royal. 

2012 Iowa State Fair Queen Contest 1st runner up Lexi Marek

2012 Washington County 4-H numbers at the Iowa State Fair: 24 communication exhibitors, 59  non-livestock exhibitors, 67 livestock exhibitors

2012 State Fair Highlights – Keiffer Sexton – Champ Beef Showmanship grades 7 – 8; Jennie Greene – Res Champ Sr Horse Showmanship; Brooke Hammond – Res Champ Sr Horse Western Pleasure; Mason Wiles – Champ Mini Horse Showmanship; Spencer Arnold – Res Champ Sr Meat Goat; Jonah Van Roekel – Champ Other Meat Breeds Ewe, Grant Marek – Champ Berkshire Gilt; Logan Sieren – Res Champ Chester White Gilt; Lexi Marek – Champ Sr Swine Showmanship Grades 9 – 12; Logan Sieren – Champ Swine Showman Grades 5 – 6; McKenna Brinning – Champ Med Gilt, Res Market Gilt; Morgan Brinning – Champ Hvy Barrow, Champ Market Barrow, Grand Champ Market Swine; Grant Marek – Res Lt Barrow; Lexi Marek – Champ Lt Barrow; Logan Sieren – Champ Med Barrow, Res Market Barrow

2012-2013 Lauren Carter member of State Council

2012 Iowa State Fair Livestock Judging Contest.  The senior team and junior team both earned first place overall.  The senior team travelled to compete at national contest at Louisville, Kentucky.   Logan Sieren earned first overall in junior individual scores. 

2013 Washington County 4-H #s at the Iowa State Fair: 20 communication exhibitors, 59 non-livestock exhibits, 74 livestock exhibitors

2013-2014 Madeline Hora member of State Council

2014    Tanner Knupp of the Washington Go Getters was in the Iowa State Fair Governor’s Charity Steer Show with a crossbred steer he earned 4th overall at Washington.  He was partnered with Mike and Betsy Pearson and sponsored by the Iowa Bankers Association.  They earned “People’s Choice Award” at the show

2014-2015       Kaitlin Hora and Emma Stout member of State Council

2015-2016       Jack Carter, Emily Hora and McKenna Brinning were members of State Council

2016-2017       Jack Carter, Kristen Twinam and Emily Hora were members of State Council.

2017    Macey Thomann of the Riverside Ramblers was in the Iowa State Fair Governor’s Charity Steer Show with a homeraised calf.  She was partnered with Iowa Corn Grower and their president Curt Hora.

Outstanding programs (past and present)

Trail Performance – Ray Bonar, 4-H Horse & Pony project leader, supervised a new trail performance class added to the 1965 County Fair. 

Dog Project – A 4-H Dog Project was started in 1965.

Share-a-Calf program – 4-H’ers apply for the Share-a-Calf program.  At the market beef weigh-in in December, the 4-H’ers receive a calf from a local sponsor.  One advantage of the program is that the 4-H’er doesn’t pay for the calf until it is sold.  In addition, 4-H’ers have the opportunity to work closely with a local beef producer.

Clover Kids Sheep Mentoring project – Started in 2004.  4-H Clover Kids are paired with a 4-H mentor in the sheep project.  The Clover Kid and 4-H’er meet before the fair. The Clover Kid learns about sheep, what they eat, care of, how to show sheep.  At the fair, a special class during the sheep show allowed the Clover Kids to show one of their mentor’s sheep.  The judge talks with each Clover Kid.  The program was a success in the first year with 40 Clover Kids participating.  The program introduces potential 4-H’ers to the sheep project and allows them to work with a mentor and continues today.

Single Source Swine project – This project began in 2012.  4-Hers have the opportunity to purchase market pigs from a single supplier.  The 4-Hers may show up to three head at the county fair in their own class.  They are judged with a combination score of on hoof, interview, and derby average.  They are scanned and lean gain per day of age is calculated and an average used in scoring.  They may not show in any other swine classes other than showmanship.  When the pigs are marketed they pay their supplier.  This is a true production class.

Little Hands on the Farm – The 4-H ELITE Project Team (high school leadership team) started a Little Hands on the Farm booth at the Washington County Fair.   They did research on activities, built the displays, advertised, recruited sponsors and hosted the building during the 2013 Washington County Fair.  It was modeled after the Iowa State Fair’s Little Hands on the Farm.

Open Cattle Show – In 2009 the 4-H County Council began sponsoring an open cattle show sanctioned by the Iowa Junior Beef Breeds Association.  It is held in conjunction with a pancake breakfast.  Since their beginning in 2009 these events have raised thousands of dollars that have been used for fairground improvements.

  1. Extension Staff in county over time that have made a significant impact on 4-H.

Joseph R. Caputo is recorded as being the first 4-H Club Agent in Washington County, starting in 1934. 

Miss Anna Olson was employed for three months as Home Demonstration Agent.  She gave programs on wheatless and sugar saving meal planning, cold pack canning, cottage cheese making and use of fresh vegetables.  Ruth Foster Viggers became Washington County’s next and first fulltime Home Economist on April 1, 1943.  She provided outstanding leadership, enthusiasm and new ideas for 4-H girls and home economics programs until 1951.

Jim Frier served as the Washington County Extension Director from 1960-1992 – the longest term of any Extension Director in Washington County history.   It was during Jim’s tenure in the 1970’s that Washington County 4-H reached its highest membership at approximately 800 members.

During Jim’s years in Washington many new 4-H programs began.  Some include:  horse trail performance class, bucket bottle calf project, carcass evaluation for beef and swine, the rooster crowing contest, and special project meetings.  A new show barn, new hog barn, and new horse barn were built. 

  1. Outstanding community service projects in your county by 4-H’ers.

“4-H Supplies Food for Victory” was the theme at the 1943 county fair and victory garden exhibits were featured.  4-H clubs conducted salvage drive, sold savings stamps and bonds, and helped supply badly needed labor on farms.  One club sold over $3,000 in savings bonds and stamps.  West Point Club collected 17 pounds of rags, 43 pounds of grease, 527 pairs of hose, and 2,395 pounds of metal.


The 2011 4-H County Council dubbed fair week “Pink Week” to honor those affected by cancer.  Members sold tee-shirts and ribbons and raised over $1,300 which was donated to Washington County Relay for Life.


Washington County Community Service Awards

1997 Lime Creek Limelights – Garage Sale for Sunrise Daycare Center

1998 Over Achievers – Pop tab collection for Ronald McDonald House

1999 Over Achievers – Halcyon House visits

2000 Over Achievers – Halcyon House visits; Horse & Pony – horse arena improvements

2001 Lime Creek Limelights – Quilt donation to Sheriff’s Department

2002 Crooked Creek – Judge’s Table; Lime Creek Livewires – Relay for Life

2003 76 Progressives – Adopt-A-Highway; Washington Go-Getters – 4-H Office on the Fairgrounds

2004 Jackson Jets – planting flowers at Orchard Hill; Lime Creek Limelights – fleece hat donations to HACAP

2005 Kalona Klassics – fleece scarves & hats for mitten tree

2005 Horse & Pony Club – May baskets for retirement homes

2006 Franklin Cubs – West Chester Heritage Building

2007 – 76 Progressives – ice storm clean-up in Keota; Franklin Cubs – West Chester Heritage Building

2008 76 Progressives – hog gates in hog barn; Franklin Cubs – West Chester Heritage Building

2009 Highlanders – Christmas Mission shopping

2010, 2011, 2012  Lime Creek Limelights – Early out school program

2013 Bows & Bullets – Archery Booth/Demonstration at County Fair

2014    Highlanders – Blood Drive

2015    Washington Hustlers – Halcyon House Bingo

2016    Green Acres – Schoolhouse Improvement Project

2017    76 Progressives – Road side clean up


Other community service projects throughout the years have included clean-up at Lake Darling, working with the Humane Society, planting flowers and trees, upkeep on buildings on the fairgrounds, donation to the new Exhibition Hall on the fairgrounds, fundraising efforts for numerous causes, donations for tornado victims in Parkersburg, helping plant trees at Benton County fairgrounds to help replace trees lost in storms.


Other great 4-H stories about 4-H in Washington County.

1918 – Sixteen pig club and 8 baby beef club members were enrolled.

1922 – First junior garment club was organized

Sept. 4, 1923 – First achievement show was held

Club work became known as 4-H club work in 1926 in Washington County.  The first girls’ 4-H clubs were organized in 1926 with 55 members enrolled in five clubs.  These clubs were organized on a community basis, rather than by project.  The first clubs were Busy Bees, Ready Maids and Fairview, all in Crawford township; Fern Cliff in Marion; and Prairie Center in Oregon.  County project clubs did boys’ 4-H club work.  There were 26 members in 1926 when the 4-H livestock show was held at the Piper Garage. 

The first girls 4-H Rally Day was in 1927 when there were 8 girls clubs with 108 members.  The new Iowa Township club with 29 members was one of the largest in Iowa.

Boys club work was conducted by county project clubs.  There were 26 members in 1926 when the 4-H livestock show was held at Piper Garage.  Pigs and 23 baby beeves were exhibited.

A major change in boys 4-H took place in 1933.  For the first time clubs were organized on a community basis rather than as county project clubs.

The first Washington County Fair, a 3-day event, was held in 1933.  Mace Motor Co. donated its big display room for clothing displays and style show.  Pigs and sheep were housed in the McCormick-Deering store building; cattle and colts were tied in the alleys of Eclipse Lumber Company.  This arrangement was said to be equal to any State Fair facilities.  A major highlight of the fair was the 4 block long parade made up of floats, livestock, and special division for businessmen.

The first county girls 4-H camp was held at Lake Wapello in 1944.  18 girls participated along with leaders.

In 1941 the 4-H Show was held at Troop D Armory in Washington.  The first 4-H Camp at Lake Darling was in 1953.  They were day camps – one day for boys and one day for girls.  The first joint 4-H Jr boys and girls camp was in 1958 with 119 filling the facilities at Lake Darling Youth Center.

1960 – 4-H enrollment – 311 girls and 299 boys

1967 – 4-H enrollment – 334 girls and 262 boys

1970’s – 4-H enrollment high of approximately 800 4-H’ers

1971 – 4-H enrollment of 613 boys and girls in 36 clubs

2000    4-H enrollment of 399 in 19 clubs

2013 – 4-H enrollment of 447 in 18 community clubs and 155 in  8 Clover Kid Clubs

2015 – Afterschool STEM Club started at Lincoln Elementary School through partnership with Bazooka Farmstar/Premier 1 Supplies

2018 – 4-H enrollment of 396 in 18 community clubs and 161 in 8 Clover Kid Clubs.  (specialty club of Clover Cookers 4-H Club started)

  1. Home of Washington County 4-H and Extension

North Side of the Square – The County Extension Office was moved from the Farm Bureau Building to a new location on the north side of the square around 1957.

209 S Marion – The County Extension Office moved to 209 S Marion in Washington on January 25, 1963.

Build our Future by Building Today - In June of 2006 Washington County Extension moved to the fairgrounds to a new facility built by the Washington County Fair Board.  A Capital Campaign began in 2004 to construct a 60’ x 80’, multi-level facility to be used as a family/community based center.  It provides office space for Washington County Extension, provides three meeting room areas, consolidates the exhibition areas for the county fair, and offers a rental facility for business, community, county, and family interests.  This building offers major improvements that strengthen the viability of the Washington County Fairgrounds into the future.  Washington County Extension staff, Extension Council members, 4-H Youth Committee, County Council, 4-Hers and their families played a major part in the fundraising for this facility.

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