Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 3:10 PM by Global Reach

Generations of memories live in the heads, hearts, and hands of East Pottawattamie County 4-H members. Avoca, Iowa, is the home of the original Pottawattamie County Fair established in 1896 . . . six years before 4-H officially began. Bringing 4-H to this wonderful fair was the perfect addition and continues to this day - over 100 years later - and still counting!

In 1918, the first Extension youth worker was hired. By 1927, there were ten clubs with a total of 133 members and 18 leaders. Boys clubs and girls clubs were organized separately. As an example, in 1935 the main project for the girls clubs was bread making and the boys clubs carried various livestock projects. 1956 was rich with 4-H youth . . . there were 12 boys clubs with 163 members and 19 girls clubs with 259 members. One of the biggest changes that has been made through the years is that boys clubs and girls clubs are no longer separate - each 4-H club has boys and girls.

Ask any 4-H member, past or present, of their remembrances and many special experiences will come to mind:

  • 4-H exchange program with other 4-Hers from another state or country
  • Going to Washington, D.C., National Congress
  • Christmas caroling
  • Holding an office - local level and state level
  • Jamboree
  • The “I Dare You” award
  • A county baseball team
  • Singing 4-H songs; Rally Day
  • 4-H uniforms
  • Summer camp at Madrid
  • Day camps (how many fish did you catch?)
  • State Conference in Ames
  • County fair and, of course, the Iowa State Fair.

County fair and state fair brings to light even more memories:

  • Work day before the county fair
  • Exhibits that become family heirlooms
  • Weighing in the livestock
  • Pie and pizza baking
  • Educational presentations, share the fun, and working exhibits
  • Fashion show
  • 4-H fun night
  • Pie auction
  • Receiving a ribbon or trophy
  • Watermelon feed put on by the county fair champions; getting dunked in the livestock tank; Sunday afternoon water fight; the delicious meals cooked by Pork Producers and Cattlemen; Livestock auction at the close of the fair
  • Working in the 4-H food stand
  • Herdsmanship duties
  • 4-H parade and dance in front of the grandstands
  • Eating at the church food stand (homemade pie always hits the spot!);
  • County fair exhibits displayed in the boys’ building and the girls’ building, then there was the 4-H Exhibit Building
  • Church services and picnics under the big shade trees

County fair used to be held toward the end of August and is now enjoyed around the middle of July. The sale barn was used to weigh in the livestock at the beginning of the fair and then utilized at the end of the fair for the livestock auction - it is difficult to part with your animal, but the lessons we learn and wonderful memories last forever. A horse barn used to be located close to where the high school is now and the track in front of the grandstands was used as a horse track. Animals would be shown on the grass by the trees west of the sale barn. Eventually the horse show was held south of the hog barn and open cattle shed, then at the Carson Rodeo Arena, and is now held in combination with Shelby County 4-H during their county fair.

Many years ago it was possible to show livestock in both 4-H and open class . . . and there would be many who would enter open class so it was always a good show. 4-H members are dedicated and stay overnight with their animals - whether it was right in the barn where their livestock was bedded down, in the big tent filled with army cots that was pitched where the poultry shed currently stands, under the bleachers in the sale barn, or in a tent or camper located nearby at the camp sites. The activities . . . as well as the sights and sounds and smells . . . of our county fair become a pleasant memory for anyone who takes the time to enjoy it!

4-H lives strong in East Pottawattamie County as it helps youth qualify for aspiring careers in their community, their country, and their world.

2000 – After much discussion and careful consideration the Carsonettes 4-H Club and the Carson Commanders 4-H Club have decided to consolidate and become one club effective with the 2000-2001 4-H year.  They will retain the name Carson Commanders.

Paula Pilling and Jim Hoffmann were recognized as Honorary Members in a ceremony conducted by the County Youth Council at Jamboree.  Outstanding Junior members were Kiley Feigenbutz and Taylor Haines.  Outstanding Intermediate members were Jessica Williams and Jonathan Schroder.  Outstanding Senior Members were Tiffany Obrecht and Steven Schroder. 

A Clover Kids club was started in the county this year.  This is a special club for K-3rd grade kids to introduce them to 4-H.  LaDonna Applegate provided leadership for this group that had seven youngsters participate in several meetings which gave them a taste of what it is like to belong to a 4-H club.  This club remained part of East Pottawattamie for two years, before moving to West Pottawattamie.  Ninety-six Market Beef projects were weighed in early January. 

2001 – During April several 4-H members purchased project pigs from the Lauren Christian Swine Farm near Atlantic.  This is the first year that pigs have been available from the research farm for our 4-H youth. 

2002 – The Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame was born.  Our county’s first honorees were Bernie and Norma Bolton.  Judy Scheffler and Roger McMartin were recognized as Honorary Members in a ceremony conducted by the County Youth Council.  Outstanding Junior members were Luke Applegate and Brittni Johnk.  Outstanding Intermediate members were Kiley Feigenbutz and Ryne Johnk.  Outstanding Senior Members were Elizabeth Bentley and Bethany Obrecht. 98 Market Beef projects were weighed in early January.  Over 150 lambs crossed the scales at the fairgrounds to be identified as 4-H projects. Installed as members of the 2000-2001County Youth Council were Elizabeth Bentley, Chad Schroder, Tiffany Obrecht, Brent Applegate, Jennifer Bates, Cody Boysen, Ann Gramkow, Vanessa Hansen, Jackie Hoffmann, Sasha Musich Eva Newill, and Lauren Rollins.  Elizabeth Bentley was installed as a State 4-H Council member for the 2002-2003 year. A new fund raising activity was introduced in October.  The 4-H Booster Fund Drive will be an annual event in which our 4-H members canvas the county to ask businesses for a contribution to East Pottawattamie County 4-H. Bethany Obrecht and Elizabeth Bentley represented East Pottawattamie County at the Area Recognition Interviews.  Both girls advanced to state interviews on campus at Ames in August.  Elizabeth Bentley was selected to attend National 4-H Club Congress in Atlanta in late November. Summer workers were Tiffany Obrecht and Ryan Hoffmann, along with Steven Schroder and Program Assistant Karrie Tiarks.

2003 – Claire Vance was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

2004 – Max Hummel was honored to be our East Pottawattamie inductee into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

2005 – East Pottawattamie’s inductee into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame was Geneva Kaven.

2006 – Dr. Bruce Van Zee, D.V.M. was selected for induction into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

2007 – The late Kenneth Parkhill was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

2008 – Clover Kids were re-introduced to the East Pottawattamie 4-H program continuing with the Westside Clover Kids.  The group has seven members.  It is led by Kerri Wede. Gary Nilan was selected by the County Youth Committee as our 2008 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame recipient.

2009 – Tom Pattee was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.

2010 – We have eighty-six members in our 4-H program.  Twelve youth are members in our Clover Kid age group.  We have one active Clover Kids club; other youth are Clovers in community clubs.  Kerri Wede became our County 4-H and Youth Coordinator. Dorothy Meyers was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame. 

2011 – Traditional age 4-Hers total seventy-seven.  With the addition of two new Clover Kid clubs, we have forty-one Clover Kids in East Pottawattamie County.  The new clubs are the BVA Clover Kids and the Walnut Clover Kids.  We still have some third grade youth in traditional clubs adding to our Clover kid numbers. A new Junk-in-a-Bucket program was offered to 4-Hers.  Volunteers gathered ‘junk’ that 4-Hers could weld or create an exhibit with in Mechanics or Visual Arts. Mini garden plots were offered to 4-Hers on the fairgrounds, for the first time. Dr. Jim Hoffman, D.V.M. was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame. 

2012 – Seventy-three 4-H youth make up our 4th -12th grade clubs.  We made the change to start traditional 4-H club membership in 4th grade.  Our three Clover Kid clubs total forty-four members. Ralph and Junellyn Pierce were inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.  Claire Vance was honored as a Friend of 4-H at our county awards Jamboree.  Bailey Nielsen was awarded our county 4-H Senior Scholarship. Members of the Botna Valley Achievers painted barn quilts to adorn the barns at the Pottawattamie County Fair, in Avoca. 

2013 – Clover Kid membership has grown, tremendously.  We have five clubs, totaling sixty-two youth in K-3rd grades.  Our 4-12th grade total is at ninety-two and growing due to the advancement of our Clover Kids into 4-H clubs.  We have four traditional community clubs:  Botna Valley Achievers, Carson Commanders,   Layton Lincoln Leading Livewires, and the Westside Feeders.  We have two specialty clubs including the East Pott. Hot Shots, a shooting sports club; and the Riverside Technics, a First Lego League Club, which as a new addition, this year. Matt Wise of the East Pott. Hot Shots was our Senior Scholarship recipient.  Our 4-H Hall of Fame recipient was Nancy Hering. Hallie Peck started at the Extension Office as the Assistant County Youth Agriculture and Livestock Coordinator. Our Junk-in-a-Bucket project was showcased at the Ak-Sar-Ben Livestock Show. 

2014 – We have a new Clover Kid Club, The Lucky Bug Clover Kids.  This group is led by Kerri Wede with Lydia Wede as the Junior Leader. Nine Intermediate 4-Hers went to Minneapolis on a 3-Region Weekend Trip. On our 4th Annual Junior Overnight Camp at the Henry Doorly Zoo, we had 32 youth attending.  This year, we camped at the Aquarium’s Shark Reef!

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