Pocahontas County, Iowa 4-H History

Iowa 4-H History By County

Pocahontas County, Iowa 4-H History


4-H has been the guiding force for many Pocahontas County youth.  They often share fond memories of club meetings, fair activities and life learning experiences.  Just as all across Iowa, Pocahontas County 4-H began with project clubs in townships and met the needs of the youth dictated by the times.

Interest was shown in a boy’s purebred gilt club in 1920 when there were seven entrants from Pocahontas County in the Manson Fair, Calhoun County. Then in 1922 a county judging team was formed for several livestock species.  Six boys judged in county competitions and at the Buena Vista County Fair.  The team placed eighth at the Iowa State Fair.  In 1924 there were 92 girls enrolled in six girls clothing clubs.  Also in 1924, there were two Purebred Gilt Clubs in Powhatan Township and Laurens, which met, held one judging trip and one club tour.  In Powhatan Township, a Round-up was held on the street near the Plover Bank on September 27, 1924.  LaVaughn Langfitt, a girl, showed a litter of eight Chester Whites that averaged 200 pound and was awarded the grand championship.

In 1925 Pocahontas County 4-H consisted of three emphasis areas: swine, beef and clothing and was supported by the Extension Agent.  The Purebred Gilt Club had membership clubs in Garfield, Powhatan, Cedar, Marshall and Swan Lake Townships.  Fifteen members were just forming the Beef Calf Club at the end of 1925, and nine girls clothing clubs were organized by Miss Florence Packman.  The Colfax Clothing Club pinned 1, 000 Farm Bureau badges on people as they entered the gates of the Big 4 Fair at Fonda on September 16, 1925.  By 1926 the clubs had individual club leaders.  Of the clubs that began in the 1920’s, clubs still exist in Grant, Garfield, Powhatan, Bellville, Center and Cedar Townships.  4-H members worked in the past, and continue today, to gain life skills and then enjoy exhibiting their projects at the county fair.  The first County 4-H Fair was held in 1939 in Pocahontas.

By 1940 there were 20 4-H clubs in the county.  And by 1950, 16 girls clubs and 12 boys clubs had formed, and that same number continued until 1964 when the number of clubs was 24.  Clubs then began to be called livestock and home economics clubs.  By 1980 the number of clubs changed to 19, and in 1990, to 12 clubs as youth became more involved in school activities and the number of youth in rural Iowa decreased.

Livestock projects have continued to be strong in Pocahontas County.  In fact, in the 1990’s, 4-H beef exhibit numbers skyrocketed to 285 head of cattle, and two additional cattle buildings were built on the fairgrounds.  The static exhibit building is always full of outstanding projects that earn many blue ribbons and at that the State Fair.

County youth and an adult county committee, from 1940 to the present, have lead countywide events and advise the Extension staff.  Currently 17 youth are on the County Youth Council, and six adults make up the advisory Youth Committee.

In 2005 Pocahontas County 4-H consisted of 11 clubs with 215 members, 22 leaders and approximately 40 adults volunteering their time to make the Pocahontas County 4-H program a great success.  The philosophy of learning from each other through 4-H presentations has continued for 80 plus years after the beginning of 4-H in Pocahontas County.

The community clubs include Bellville Bells and Boosters, Cedar Leaders, Central Stars, Dover Doers, Garfield Gleaners, Golden Horizons, Guys and Gals of Grant, PC Union and Powhatan Pioneers.  Two project clubs include a horse club, called the Boots and Spurs, and a shooting sports club called the Sharp Shooters. 

The youth in Pocahontas County excel not only in county events but have won many district and state honors also.  Over the past six years, at least one 4-H member has been chosen yearly for the State 4-H Technology Team. This has been an advantage to our county as these youth bring back skills that benefit our 4-H program, as well as the community.  Because of the involvement with the State Tech Team, a County Tech Team has offered computer workshops for senior citizens, a wonderful intergenerational project.  

Clubs work many service hours to help their communities.  4-H clubs clean the fair grounds, provide refreshments at the blood mobile, visit nursing homes, hold teen dances, participate in the Relay for Life, donate money to worthy causes and volunteer at benefits.  Popular countywide activities include Awards Day, Junior camp, Intermediate trips and Senior lock-ins!

In 2011 Pocahontas County 4-H continues to thrive with the addition of dedicated volunteers.  A Master Food Volunteer program was started in Extension Region 6 to train three volunteers in food preservation and safety.  The volunteers, in turn, taught 4-H’ers how to make jam, yeast breads, simple candies and healthy snacks.  A Master Robotics Volunteers program began in 2012 to teach adult volunteers how to teach Lego Mindstorm Robot kits to 4-H’ers.  Pocahontas County instructed two adults in this area and, in turn, a new 4-H Club was started that focuses on robots.  One Master GPS/GIS instructor has been trained and will begin this technology in 2012 with our 4-H Clubs.

As of April 2012 Pocahontas County has the following clubs:

Bellville Bells & Boosters – Club Leaders Jon Olson and Brain Aden
Boots & Spurs – Club Leader Aimee Devereaux
Cedar Leaders – Club Leaders Wanda Krier and Kristy Hess
Garfield Gleaners – Club Leaders Kim Keller and Kyle and Candace Brinkman
Golden Horizons – Club Leader Jeri Wenell
Sharp Shooters – Club Leaders Aimee and Scott Devereaux, John Block, Terry Panbecker, Merete Klocke, Roger Eichleberger and Doug Bush
Guys & Gals of Grant – Club Leaders Dianne Dirks, Donna Seehusen and Deb Ekstrand
Central Pioneers – Club Leaders Leesa Clausen and Therese Hendersen
Robot Club – Club Leaders Scott Fossean and Greg Ahlrichs
Dover Doers – Club Leader Janice Halder

Elwood Mayberry, 4-Her Jason Ekstrand, Barb Mayberry

1942: The above picture was taken following the County Style Revue judged by Miss Gladys Adams, State 4-H Clothing Specialist. Five clubs are represented in the picture.

1930-  Pictured above are the high scoring boys in the county grain juding contest.  The County Agent is on the lieft. The next three in line were members of the winning team from the Palmer School. They are Clifford Swalin, Leonard Harrold and Leroy Beneke. Leroy Benkeke is holding the cup which was awarded by the Farmers' Elevators of the county. Next in line is Arnold Schleusener of Havelock, who made the highest score in the contest. On the right is Kenneth Rouse, another high scoring contestant.

1932- Pictured above are the 4-H club girls who represented Pocahontas County at Iowa State Fair. Left to right: Stella Mae Brinkman, the style show girl. Lyla Olson, demonstration team. Violet Jones, health representative, rated perfect in posture and for skin at the Iowa State Fair. Eleanor Crummer, demonstration team.

2005 Junior Fashion Revue Winners
Front Row: Shelby Janssen, Anna Hopkins, Carly Lampe, Megan Koster
Back row: Hannah Goedert, Rachel Procter, Tyler North, Megan Hertz, Molly Hornor, Taylor Jensen
2005 Senior Fashion Revue winners
Natalie Bailey, Andrea Jenson, Megan Jorgenson, Jill Jessee, Julia Peters
Austin Hauswirth showing beef during the 2005 Pocahontas County Fair.
Brooke Beneke showing the Grand Champion at the 2005 Pocahontas County Fair.
2012 Master Robot Club
2012 Pocahontas County depends on the many volunteers that make our 4-H program possible.

To make a donation to the Pocahontas County Endowment through the Iowa 4-H Foundation, click this button. Then select Pocahontas County in the far right column (My 4-H County) and complete the gift information.

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08/11/2012 8:36 AM
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