Posted on March 29, 2011 at 2:29 PM by Global Reach
Lavilla Onsager started her 4-H career in 1934 as a member of the newly formed Henderson Prairie 4-H club in Clermont Township, Fayette County, Iowa. Lavilla was the president of the club for three years. In 1939 Lavilla helped her club make a long chain out of clover and shaped it into a big clover on stage at the State 4-H Conference.
Lavilla and her late husband, Oliver Rowland, had three sons—Everett, James, and David. The boys carried on the 4-H tradition in the Clermont Comets 4-H club. Lavilla encourage her sons to participate in a climatology project that came to the attention of WMT TV. In 1965 the family hosted a 4-H international exchange participant from the Philippines in 1983. In the 60’s they participated in a Canadian 4-H exchange. All Lavilla’s grandchildren have been 4-H members.
As the current leader of the Clermont Comets, Lavilla has helped her club accomplish many things. In partnership with another club, they applied for a grant and used the money to plant trees and clean the trails at Montauk, former Governor Larrabee's home, near Clermont. In 2001 the club also did a History of Corn planting at the local Heritage Farm Park. They also did a vegetable garden in the shape of the state of Iowa that contains plants and vegetables forming the 4-H symbol.
Lavilla is an active member of the Fayette County 4-H & Youth Committee. She has been the leader of the Clermont Comets 4-H Club for nine years. She has been a 4-H member, 4-H parent, and 4-H leader in Clermont Township for 69 years – a true pioneer for Fayette County 4-H.