Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on April 11, 2017 at 10:10 PM by Emily Saveraid

With the passage of the Smith-Lever Act by the United States Congress in 1914, the Cooperative Extension Service was established.  Its purpose was diffusing useful and practical information on subjects relating to agriculture, home economics, and community affairs among the people of the United States.  In Louisa County, Farm Bureau was the sponsoring organization for the Louisa County Extension Service in cooperation with Extension Service, Iowa State College in Ames, (currently Iowa State University), and the United States Department of Agriculture, cooperating. 

In June of 1918, the first full time extension worker, A.H. Picford began working in Louisa County.  According to the Annual Louisa County Extension Report written by HP Kelley, Louisa County Agricultural Agent, 4-H was first started in Louisa County in 1921.  The report stated two clubs of boys and girls were organized.  They were the Purebred Gilt Club and the Market Beef Club.  The clubs were not called 4-H Clubs. However, a picture of the members showed girls wearing the traditional 4-H uniform, which was a blue pleated shirt and middy blouse worn with a black tie.  

4-H clubs, as they were later called, were started to teach young people new and improved methods of raising livestock and home economics skills for the girls.  It was thought that if the new methods were taught to the youth, they in turn would teach their parents.  "Learn by doing", using projects such as beef, pigs, corn, sewing, canning, etc, were the methods used to teach young people in small groups or clubs.  Tours, demonstrations, and contests were other approved methods of teachings first used with 4-H.

The first beef club began with seven members.  Two girls and two boys completed the year with each one showing their calf at the Columbus Junction District Fair.  (It wasn't until 1931 that the fair was called the Louisa County Fair.)  Josephine Garden took her calf to the Iowa State Fair and placed third in a class of thirty.  The club had three leaders while only two meetings were held.

The first gilt club was started by a number of hog breeders in Columbus Junction on March 1, 1921 with four club leaders.  Forty youth enrolled with 35 youth completing their projects.  The club held one meeting and one club tour.  Fifty-five pigs were shown at the Louisa County Fair.  It was reported that there was a great deal of interest shown by members and also by fair attendees.  The club intended that the boys and girls carry their animals through to the next year into a sow and litter club.

In 1922 six members were enrolled in the baby beef club with 5 completing their projects. Even though it was a small club, the interest was great and two new project leaders, Clyde Turkington, Hereford breeder from Letts and John Garden, had signed up 20 new members for the 1923 beef club.

The purebred gilt club continued with 48 members owning 74 pigs.  The beginning cost of the pigs was averaged at $20.00 and at the end of the year their average was $40.  Nineteen members of the 1922-gilt club became members of the sow and litter club.  The gilts farrowed approximately 150 pigs and 115 of these were raised.  The litters were shown at the Louisa County Fair.

A poultry club was organized which were later divided between the Morning Sun area and the Wapello area.  The agricultural teachers in each school served as the leaders.  Boys and girls from the ages of 8 to 10 years could join the club.  During that year, 1091 eggs were set, 828 chicken hatched, and 725 chickens matured.  The youth entered their chickens at the Columbus Junction District Fair and prize money was awarded to winners in the 16 breed classes offered.

In May of 1924, 4-H girls club work officially began in Louisa County with 55 girls belonging to four clubs.  Three were from Columbus City Township and one was from Jefferson Township.  It was reported that a great deal of interest was generated in the first year even though three of the four clubs completed the year.  The only livestock club mentioned in the 1924 report was the Baby Beef Club, which included 9 boys and girls from the ages of 10 to 19. 

At the end of 1925, there were 125 girls, ages 12-21, that had completed 4-H. They belonged to 11 clubs in the following townships: Columbus City, Concord, Elm Grove, Grandview, Marshall, Port Louisa, Union, also two clubs in Jefferson and Wapello Townships.  Clothing was the main project and it was reported that the value of the 427 garments constructed was $1,179.50 with the actual cost of $650.

A typical girls 4-H club consisted of a volunteer leader and girls living in that township.  Each club had one major home economic area of study for the year rotating between clothing, home furnishings and foods, which might have had an emphasis on bread one-year, or canning another year.  Besides these main topics, parliamentary procedure, health, approved footwear, music, better recreation, and keeping expense accounts were taught.

In 1925 the market beef club had 12 boys and girls from Wapello, Marshall, Grandview, and Concord Townships.  It was reported by the county agent that the youth had trouble securing suitable calves for their project.  He recommended for the next year that suitable range calves be purchased as a group.  The county agent believed that by buying the same kind of calves at the same weight, and the same initial cost per pound that the club members would start out on equal footing at the beginning of the project.  The market pig club was composed of 12 boys and girls from Wapello, Jefferson, and Concord townships.  Since the Columbus Junction District Fair was not held in 1925, the beef and hog projects were shown at the Wapello Fair.  

The first Girls' Rally Day was held on June 25, 1925 with approximately 200 in attendance.  Rally Day events lasted a full day and included singing of 4-H songs, reading of the County Girls Creed, business meeting, reports from all club presidents, campaign speeches for members running for county offices, election and installation of the new officers.  Often there were guest speakers, skits, or other entertainment.

The first girls Achievement Day was held at the Wapello Fairgrounds on August 12, with approximately 200 attending (in 1925 the Columbus Junction District Fair was not held).   Ten of the 11 girls' clubs in the county gave demonstrations with one club advancing to the Iowa State Fair.  The Hopeful Workers Club of Concord township, along with their club leader, Mrs. Belle Gartett, had won the most first place ribbons on constructed garments.  Their reward was a trip to a short course at Iowa State College (currently Iowa State University).

In 1926 an effort was made to secure baby beef club livestock leaders in the townships.  A committee of seven men was appointed to secure suitable calves for club members. Twenty-one Herefords were shipped from Texas at $.10 a pound.  The county secured the Mutual Livestock Insurance Agency to insure the calves against injury or death and rules were set for the care and feeding of the calves.  Eleven boys and three girls, ages 10-18, raised the calves.  The calves had an average rate of gain of 2.5 lbs. per day with a feeding period of 235 days.  The average selling price was $11.75.  A club tour was held to view the calves starting in Marshall Township proceeding to Wapello, Port Louisa, Grandview, and Concord Townships where the club members lived.  

The object of the Market Pig Club was to interest boys and girls in more economical pork production and to teach them the proper kinds of rations to be fed to market pigs.  In 1926 there were four clubs with boys and girls from Columbus City, Concord, Elm Grove, and Wapello, Townships

The Louisa County 4-H Girls Club Committee was formed in 1926 under the direction of Mrs. C. E. Pierce.  The Louisa County Extension Service did not have an Extension Home Demonstration Agent, as they were called in the 1920's, to assist the girls with home economics.  It was reported that Mrs. Pierce issued many important letters to leaders and members and the committee prepared a club paper "Clover Leaves".  Mimeographed club booklets were prepared for thirteen   clothing clubs with each member being assigned a topic for that meeting.  A typical club program would include roll call, minutes of previous meeting, business and reports plus demonstrations and talks on the clothing, which was the subject matter for that year.  Members and leaders always gave talks on health and footwear plus there was time for music.  The meeting ended with a social hour.

In 1926 there were 119 girls enrolled with a total of 140 meetings in the county.  One hundred twenty five exhibits were shown at the Wapello, Columbus Junction and State Fairs.  Eleven demonstration teams were trained with 22 demonstrations being given to a total of 1060 people.  The clubs that were organized with townships in 1926 are as follows:




Col. City




Elm Grove


Elm Grove

Eliot Township

Eliot Township



Blue Bird







Morning Sun


Port Louisa






The first item on the agenda at the Rally Day on June 25 was the music memory contest.  The H. W. Club won first place, the prize being a "portable Victrola". Second and 3rd place clubs received "Victrola records".  The Louisa County 4-H club officers of president, vice president and secretary-treasurer were elected.

Achievement Day was held at the Wapello Fair that year and ten clothing clubs gave demonstrations competing for the opportunity of representing Louisa County at the Iowa State Fair.  The Blue Bird Club won first place and received third place at the state fair with their demonstration, "Approved Footwear".  It was noted in the annual report that this "third place win was very good because the other two counties that won first and second place had a Home Demonstration Agent and Louisa County Extension had none.  The third place award was $15.00.

Many garments were entered at the fair.  The 4-H clubs were awarded prize money for their members' exhibits.  This money was to be used to send girls to the Junior Short Courses held at Iowa Sate College in December.

From June 28 to July 1st of 1927, the first girls' camp was held at Chautauque Park in Columbus Junction.  The emphasis of the camp was on home furnishing, but the girls also participated in health and music contests.  It was sponsored by Louisa County Farm Bureau.  Forty-one girls attend the camp which concluded with a county wide Rally Day with 380 people attending.  All 4-H members and leaders were present along with other family members, to elect county 4-H officers for the coming year.  Each club came to Rally Day with one nominee to be elected.  Campaign speeches were given and after elections, a formal officer induction ceremony was conducted.

From 1924 until 1928 livestock clubs continued in the county with both girls and boys. The livestock clubs during this time used a less structured format compared to the girls club'.  The 1928 Louisa County Extension Agent, S. Lysle Duncan, was responsible for organizing livestock (boys & girls) similar to the girls' clubs. He states:

Club organization activities resulted in the formation of eight livestock clubs with twenty-one active leaders and committeemen in livestock work and eighteen active leaders and committeewomen in home furnishings.  Five committee meetings were held with thirty people in attendance for planning the various 4-H club activities for the year.  Twenty other meetings were held in schools in the interest of organizing the various 4-H clubs.  A total of 601 people attended.  Louisa County 4-H Clubs for the first time had all its various clubs under a definite committee for each with local leaders and set programs.

The object of this work was to organize the clubs in order that more club boys and girls might be reached and personal help given to the members.

The method used was to have a committee write the project for it's respective club, hold meeting present the information at schools and other meeting, giving enrollment cards to those present and following up on all prospective members in hopes of getting as many as possible to enroll.  After enrollments were completed, the committee would organize the membership into club groups with a local leader under the supervision of the County Committee.

In 1928 there were seven baby beef clubs with fifty-one boys and seventeen girls completing the feeding of 110 calves.  There were 68 Herefords, 22 Angus, and 20 Shorthorns raised.  A two-day beef tour was held with 775 people in attendance.  For the first time, a baby beef club record was handed into the extension office for every calf.  107 calves were shown at the county fair, and 44 calves were selected to go to the Mississippi Valley Fair and Exposition in Davenport.  The Louisa County Champion Angus calf shown by Richard Fletcher of Winfield, won the grand championship in Davenport with a prize of $35.00.  The calves were loaded from Davenport and taken by train to the Iowa State Fair where Louisa County had the largest 4-H beef exhibit.  Richard won second place in the Angus division winning $23.00.  The calves were later shown in the open class beef show at the Iowa State Fair.  Charles Stone won first place with his Shorthorn, obtaining a prize of $40.00.  Richard Fletcher won second place in the Angus class, receiving $25.00.

The market pig club consisted of seventeen boys and two girls feeding 46 pigs.  One purebred litter club had seven boys feeding seven litters forty-four pigs.

In 1928, a boys judging team was formed.  They entered the competition at the Davenport Fair and they won 1st place.  They competed at the Iowa State Fair and placed 32nd.   The girls judging team placed 2nd at the Iowa Sate Fair and 1st in individual score.

One hundred eleven girls were enrolled in eleven home-furnishing clubs.  The first county girls' club tour was held as well as the first county health contest.  In 1928, the girls in Louisa County began participating in statewide events.  From June 11-13, twenty-six 4-H'ers and one leader attended the first Iowa State 4-H Convention in Ames.  Grace McCormic, the county 4-H president, was elected as the state 4-H historian at the convention.  The girls' demonstration team received third in the competition at the Iowa State Fair.  The county was also represented in the girls' state health contest.

On November 15, 1929, the first girl's 4-H countywide banquet was held in Wapello.  Seventy people attended, honoring the 4-H'ers with awards they had won for their outstanding projects and leadership for that year.

The 4-H objectives in the 1930's according to Dr. C. B. Smith of the U.S. Department of Agriculture were as follows:

  1. To do something worth while and to stimulate interest in community progress.
  2. To improve farm and home practices.
  3. To teach pride in occupation.
  4. To give training in agriculture and home economics.
  5. To develop appreciation of nature.
  6. To teach cooperation.
  7. To develop leadership.
  8. To give vision.
  9. To develop men and women.

Club enrollment in girls 4-H remained about the same in the 1930's with slightly over 100 girls involved with nine to twelve clubs in the county.  In the 1930's boys were enrolled in sheep, dairy, bees, corn, draft colt, forestry and farm records. 

During the 1930's, Iowa State College of Agriculture produced many 4-H leader manuals.  The manuals varied according to subject matter.  They provided leaders with directions, information, and rules on club organization.  They also included programs that must be included during the year, record forms, suggested fair classes, demonstration, judging contests, and pageant scripts.

1935 was the first year the Louisa County boys and girls 4-H clubs held their awards banquet together.  Hilda DeWaele (Ziskovsky) of Letts acted as the toastmistress.  Slightly over 100 people attended with a cost of $.40 per person.

A very large countywide musical play with 14 scenes was held in 1935, at the Louisa County Fair under the direction of Mrs. Peg Eliason.  The boys and girls 4-H clubs plus members of the Louisa County Farm Bureau presented the "Bohemian Girl".  With a cast of over 155 and an orchestra of 25, this must have been quite a performance!

In 1936, a countywide party for boys and girls was held in Wapello with Fred Stone of Wapello presiding.  This was the start of many fun activities for both boys and girls.

In 1940, the 4-H boys and girls' clubs held their annual fun night holding a surprise mock wedding and shower for the county club agent, Keith Myers, and his new bride, who were leaving the county.  This was a huge success with 211 4-H'ers attending.  Boys' basketball also started in 1940.  A countywide tournament ended in an over-time thriller with the Concord boys' team over winning over the Columbus City team.

Fred Stone, Wapello, in competition with 844 club boys from Iowa, won the Grain Judging contest during the 4-H Iowa State 4-H Convention in Ames.  As well as being the highest scoring individual in the grain contest, he placed second in the livestock-judging contest.

During the 1940's, 4-H enrollment numbers for girls increased but the number of boys enrolled decreased during the war years.  By 1943 there were only four boys' clubs in Louisa County.  It was also reported that there were insufficient boys' club leaders.  The emphasis of club work in the mid 1940's was on service with the theme "4-H Builds on Victory".  At the county fair in 1943, the girls' 4-H clubs sponsored a blood drive.  At the 4-H camp held at Chautauqua Park in Columbus Junction, the girls gave a program in honor of all former Louisa County 4-H men serving in the military.  Both 4-H boys and girls' clubs assisted with a salvage campaign that collected more than 6 1/2 tons of paper and rags!  Clubs also sold war bonds.  By the late 1940's, 4-H club work started to increase.

In 1948, the 4-H uniform for girls changed from the 2-piece middy to the aqua colored dress with a sailor collar and white bow.

During the 1950's the enrollment for girls in 4-H was 300.  By mid 1950's there were 466 boys and girls enrolled in Louisa County 4-H.  In 1957 there were 16 girls clubs and 11 boys clubs with 51 volunteer leaders.  County rules for membership during the 1950's stated that 4-H members must complete one project, keep a record book, belong to a local club, and regularly attend meeting.  "Girls who wanted to show livestock must join a boys' club but must also belong to a girls' club while carrying her girls 4-H activities first," said Jim Nuss, Louisa County 4-H agent in 1957.

Louisa County "made the news" statewide two different times in 1950.  Earl Keith Nau from the J.C.A. B. club won the Grand Champaign at the 4-H Baby Beef Show at the Iowa State Fair. He showed his 912 lb. Angus, named Shorty.

Softball was very popular with the 4-H boys.  Louisa County 4-H had its own softball field south of Wapello on land that was rented to 4-H by owner Lee Dotson for $1.00 a year.  Utility company employees volunteered their time, along with 4-H parents, to set electric poles and do the wiring for the first lighted ball field in the Wapello area, even before the school.  The boys played games on Tuesdays and Fridays nights.  Gate admission was $.25 for adults, and $.10 for children.  4-H leased the concession stand to a private party.  The profit from the ball field for the year was $625.31.

At the end of the year, (1950) an All-Star Boys 4-H Team was selected by the managers and a club committee.  The Louisa County 4-H team, coached by Delno Stineman and Paul Buster, headed to Ames to compete in the state championship games.  The team was declared the 1950 4-H softball champions at the Iowa Farm Sports Festival in Ames. They won over Des Moines, Boone, Monroe, Mahaska, Plymouth, and Mitchell Counties in that order.  In September, the Louisa County team, which was the Iowa Champion 4-H team, played the Illinois 4-H Champion softball team in Wapello.  The first night Louisa won the game and the second night the Illinois team won.

In 1951, the all-star 4-H boys softball team from Louisa County again won the statewide boys 4-H tournament in Ames.  In 1952, an all star team was selected but since there wasn't a statewide tournament the boys' team held a tournament playing against the county 4-H leaders and managers.  The boys won with a score of 14 to 12.  The boys' 4-H clubs played forty-five games that year.

In 1952, fourteen girls and three leaders rode a bus to the Girls State 4-H Convention in Ames.  Three of the girls sang in the state choir, one girl was on the president's council, and one represented the county in the Girls Better Groomed Contest.  Rally Days continued at the county level for the girls.  It isn't clear when the clover chain was first made for the initiation of county 4-H officers, but during the 1950's and early 1960's two or three clubs were assigned to make a giant chain of clover.  Clubs would head to a clover field, cut the clover, and then tie it into one huge, very heavy chain.  A procession of girls wearing their 4-H uniform would carry the chain into the auditorium.  They would arrange it on the floor in the shape of a four-leaf clover.  The officers would stand in each of the four clovers during the induction ceremony.  

In 1954, the Secretary of Agriculture issued a memorandum, which made the separation of Farm Bureaus and the extension service mandatory.  This was followed by the 56th General Assembly of Iowa and it's passage of the County Agricultural Extension Law.

During the late 1950's and into the 1960's more joint boys' and girls' activities were held. The joint boys and girls 4-H county council had responsibility for planning and conducting the annual club officers training school.  They also planned two countywide parties each year.  The county 4-H Award Banquet grew with over 350 in attendance for many years.

The traditional club projects of livestock and home economics continued in the 50's and 60's but new topics were offered.  In the mid 1950's, six leaders attended a three3 day short course on tractors in Ames.  These leaders returned home and taught tractor maintenance and safety classes to 4-H youth.  189 boys and their dads attended the first class.  145 attended the second one and 240 attended the third class.  The boys were given booklets with worksheets, which were checked at each meeting.  The boys with the top tractor rated workbooks received a special award of a sterling silver medal.

For the first time in 1962, boys were allowed to enter exhibits at the county fair other than livestock.  These included exhibits from their garden, entomology, and crop projects.

During this time an emphasis was placed on youth learning social skills, citizenship and leadership skills.  The boys clubs were required to discuss citizenship at six of their club meeting using the six new citizenship manuals.  Delegates from both girls and boys clubs were sent to state leadership camps and to health camps.

This also was a time when emphasis was placed on state and national youth exchanges.  In 1960 through the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) conducted by the National 4-H Club Foundation program, Frederico Garcia from Portugal visited Louisa County for three weeks staying at the Ray Bieri home.  Larry Hiller was the first 4-H'er from Louisa County to be selected as one of nine international IFYE delegates.  He spent six months living with different families in the Philippines.  In 1964, Steve Schomberg of the Letts Go Club visited the United Arab Republic through the I.F.Y.E. program.  Steve shared his experience with county members through a series of letters while in U.A. R. and talks after his return.

Greater emphasis was placed on keeping good 4-H records.  Record books were used to help members improve themselves.  They also were used as a basis in selecting county award winners.  A state extension leader conducted a record book workshop in Columbus Junction for girls and 110 members, leaders, and mothers attended.  At the end of the year, record books were submitted to the county extension office where they were judged.  In 1960, 132 out of 153 boys completed their books.  A committee of men judged them.  A committee of women judged the 172 out of 192 girls' record books.

In 1961, there were twenty 4-H clubs in the county.  A new event that was very popular for girls during the 1960's was a cherry pie bake off contest sponsored by Muscatine and Louisa County Girls 4-H.  4-H clubs in each county chose a representative to enter the pie-baking contest in each of their respective counties.  The six winners and two alternates from each county actually had to prepare a cherry pie in the storefront window of a department store in Muscatine.  A judge selected the first and second place winner.  First place prize was a paid weekend trip to the Veishea celebration at Iowa State College, (currently Iowa State University) in Ames, and second place was a $50.00 saving bond.

A new 4-H uniform was introduced in 1962 for the girls.  The fabric was a cotton green and white stripe.  It consisted of a pleated skirt, a blouse with roll up sleeves, and a convertible collar.  Boys were to wear a green necktie and white shirt with dark trousers.

In the 1970's the girls' uniform was changed to a solid green polyester tailored suit.

In 1969, Mrs. and Mrs. Warren L. Langwith of Davenport, Iowa donated to the Iowa 4-H Foundation 90 acres located in Louisa County southeast of Grandview.  The deed stated that the land " is to be used by the Davenport Extension Area 4-H for camping and educational programs of said Foundation particularly for the benefit of its members in Clinton, Des Moines, Henry, Lee, Muscatine, and Scott Counties."  This property was named Langwood 4-H Reserve.

During the 1970's a local Langwood Board was developed.  Extensive fundraising and volunteer efforts were initiated to develop the area for youth programming.  A. J. Boysen, Keith Hiller, and Bill Newell all from Louisa County were instrumental in the development of Langwood.  John Wanfalt, Extension and Youth Leader for Louisa and Muscatine Counties, had responsibility for working with the Langwood board and overseeing the operation of Langwood.  Many 4-H'ers, leaders, parents, and businesses gave countless hours, materials and money to develop the camp.  A 1440 sq. ft. lodge, A-frame dormitory, and restroom/shower buildings were constructed.  A rappelling tower, low-ropes course, rifle range, hiking trails, and a five-acre pond were constructed for adventure activities.

Since this camp was located in Louisa County many 4-H clubs held meetings and camped at Langwood.  The camp was used for county 4-H camps, area camps, theme camps, and workshops for 4-H groups.  Langwood was also used by area scouts and church groups.  From 1983-1988 a summer camp programmer was employed by State 4-H to assist groups with their camp programming.

In the late 1960's and continuing into the 70's a greater emphasis was placed on expanding 4-H projects.  Horse, dog, and rabbit projects were started during this time with project leaders assisting club members.  Muscatine County 4-H assisted Louisa County 4-H'ers in conducting a horse show at the Louisa County Fair.

In 1971 leaders, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Newell of Letts organized the first coed 4-H club.  There were eight members of this club, the L-M Co-Ed Club.  The Over the Hill Gang in 1972 was the second coed club to be formed with Mr. and Mrs. Ron Stout as leaders.  Twenty-six members were enrolled in the club.  Their main purpose was to conduct volunteer service type projects in the county.

Enrollments in 4-H traditional community clubs began to decline in the 1970's and continued into the 1980's.  School enrichment programs were developed at Iowa State University for use in the elementary grades.  In 1987, 375 youth participated in 4-H sponsored programs in several Louisa County Schools.

In the 1980's, camping programs expanded.  An intermediate area convention was held with four other counties attending.  Ski trips were popular.  Countywide project leaders held trainings for members in horse, rabbit, electricity, photography, dog and poultry.  Many 4-H'ers attended the weeklong Washington Citizenship trips.  These are still held today but with less participation.  In 1985, the first Lock-In for 4-H'ers and guests was held at the Family Y in Muscatine.  This soon became a big hit with the youth.  In succeeding years, up to 250 youth attended the Lock-In's to have fun with 4-H'ers from all clubs.

In 1983, 4-H'ers of Louisa County, along with county fair board members, completely renovated the hog and sheep barn at the Louisa County Fairground.  All 4-H clubs, along with individuals and businesses, donated money along with many hours of labor.

The 1990's will always be remembered as the "Year of the Flood".  In June, water flooded the Louisa County Fairgrounds, up to 6 1/2 feet.  Because of the levee the water didn't recede; it had to be pumped out of the fairgrounds with two large water pumps, This took almost a week.  Mud was packed everywhere and there was plenty of debris.  Everything inside the buildings was ruined including the food stand equipment.  The fair secretary's office was destroyed.  A massive clean-up effort was started on June 16 and many 4-H'ers, leaders, and parents, along with other volunteers, worked with fair board members to get the grounds ready for the fair in July. 

In 1993 another flood occurred.  High water started flowing into the fairgrounds in Columbus Junction in July.  This happened shortly before county fair time making it impossible to hold the fair in Columbus Junction.  The 4-H part of the fair was held in Wapello.  Livestock was stalled at the Wapello Sale Barn, owned and operated by Marge Heindel and sons, Tim and Rob.  A number of volunteers erected a large tent for the show-ring outside the sale barn.  The other exhibits were judged and displayed at the Louisa County Heritage Center.  Many volunteers worked all day in the extension office on the Saturday before the fair, having to redo all the previous plans, while other volunteers were setting up the heritage buildings and helping the Heindels at the barns for the arrival of the livestock on Monday.  Everyone felt that the 4-H fair was a real success.  This was due to the countless volunteers who worked many hours to make it happen.

By the late 1990's extension funding from national and state funds had declined.  To increase programming without raising local taxes, extension staff started writing grants to increase the number and quality of programming especially for families and youth during this time.  Summer youth day camp programs were started with funds from grants.  Over 200 youth had fun learning about energy, energy conservation, renewable energy and energy safety during the summer of 1990  by participating in the Energy, Sun n' Fun Day Camps.  Grant funds from Farm Bureau and the Iowa Energy Center made it possible for extension to sponsor the camps in ten different locations.  Two field trips and the take home book bags reinforced the daily hands on activities to help the children become better stewards of our natural resources.

As a result of these day camps, a new 4-H club was organized in the Columbus Junction area.  With 3 new leaders, one being fluent in Spanish, most of the club members were Hispanic. 

To celebrate the 100th birthday of the 4-H organization in 2002, Louisa County Extension hosted a 4-H Centennial Celebration in the afternoon of October 13th, at the Briggs Center in Wapello.  During the celebration three and four generation 4-H families were recognized with a certificate, 4-H songs were sung, former members shared stories about 4-H and many former 4-H'ers brought pictures, record books, historians books, etc. to share with guests.

Iowa 4-H Foundation established the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame as a part of the 4-H Centennial Celebration in 2002.  100 people, one from each county, were honored with an induction ceremony into the Hall of Fame during the Iowa State Fair. Counties selected one individual who had made a significant contribution to the 4-H program in their county.

Keith Hiller was the first inductee. He joined 4-H in 1924 and at age 21 volunteered to be a leader.  He also was on the boys 4-H club committee, serving as chair for many years, and was an original Langwood Board Director.  He gave of time and talents to Louisa County 4-H for approximately 60 years.

A.J. Boysen was the 2nd inductee.  AJ was a 4-H leader starting the Marshall Miniature Farmers 4-H Club.  He was on the 4-H and youth development committee and was one of the original Langwood board members.  A.J. served as member of the Iowa Foundation Board of Trustees.

Kathy Barrick was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004. She was a member of the Marshall Miniature Farmeretts 4-H Club and later became a volunteer serving on the 4-H and youth development committee, county 4-H fair committee, club leader, and member of the Louisa County 4-H Foundation Board.

Larry Boysen was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.  Larry joined 4-H in 1949.  He was volunteer club leader, served on the 4-H and Youth development Committee, and was a 4-H beef superintendent at the fair.

Shirlee Werner was inducted in 2006.  She was a member of the Jolly Workers 4-H Club, 5 year leader of the Jolly Workers and one leader of the Watermelon Bunch 4-H club.  She was employed by Louisa County Extension for almost 21 years where she worked with many 4-H youth.

The Louisa County 4-H Foundation was formed in 2002 to provide resources to 4-H'ers in Louisa County.  The purpose of the Foundation is to help promote and assist with the education and development of youth and 4-H members in Louisa County plus assist Louisa County 4-H program.  The Foundation provides financial assistance for youth to attend county and state camps, conferences, award programs, and to pay the membership fees for youth to join 4-H when there is a need.  They provide scholarships to graduating and alumni 4-H'ers.

In the early years of 4-H, the four-leaf clover was chosen for the 4-H emblem.  At that time it stood for the following:

The H's stand for Head, Hand, Heart, and Health - the training and proper care of which will be the best assets a boy or girl can possess.  In 4-H club work the things learned train the head to think correctly, the work done is the best possible training for the hands, the cooperation in clubs build up the proper attitude of the heart, while health is being emphasized through the health contests, recreation and better living.

The 4-H pledge was first written as:

I Pledge

  My head to clearer thinking

              My heart to greater loyalty

              My hands to larger service, and

             My health to greater service for my club, my community and my country.


The 4-H Motto is:      "To make the best better."

The slogan is:              "To win without bragging,

"To lose without squealing."

The 4-H colors are white and green. - white being the characteristic of purity and the green is for nature's most common color.


As of 2006 the 4-H motto, emblem and colors remain the same but the 4-H pledge was changed to include "my world" at the end of the pledge.

Many 4-H traditions have remained the same.  There have been many changes but the constant that has always remained the same is the volunteer.  Volunteers have always been the backbone of the organization since the beginning in 1921 when Louisa County had its first two clubs 4-H clubs.  Without volunteers, 4-H could not exist.

Thanks to everyone that has given so graciously of their time to Louisa County 4-H since its beginning in 1921.  As once stated, in an old Louisa County Extension Annual by the extension board, "Our best crop (in Louisa County) is our boys and girls.”

Complied by Shirlee Werner from information recorded in numerous Louisa County Extension Annual Reports and 4-H historians books with assistance from Keith Hiller, and Bill and Helen Edwards.

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