Posted on April 21, 2011 at 1:16 PM by Global Reach
From 1931 to 1942, Neoma Wonderlich was a member of the Junior Homemakers 4-H Club in Ollie, Iowa. Highlights of her 4-H years included:
· Showing her Brown Swiss at the National Dairy Cattle Congress in the 4-H division at Waterloo
· Attending the 4-H State Conservation Camp at the Boy Scout’s camp in Boone
· Clothing projects selected to go to the Iowa State Fair
· Being on the Keokuk County Dairy Judging team at the National Dairy Cattle Congress
· Receiving the Farm Bureau 4-H Club award
· Helping plan a 4-H Girls Conservation Day at Lake Keomah
In 1941, Banker’s Life and Iowa State College sponsored the First Farm Youth School for 4-H members. Neoma represented Keokuk County. She fondly remembers these six weeks which included: home management, nutrition, clothing and leadership classes, new friendships, and the opportunity to learn to golf, bowl, and swim.
During her years as a 4-H member, she held offices in her local club and was the vice president of Keokuk County 4-H Girls.
After her daughter joined the Ollie Busy Lassies, Neoma joined on as one of the 4-H leaders and served for several years. During her years as leader, she enjoyed seeing the girls learn and watching their personal development. She not only worked with the members, challenging them to try new projects, but empowered mothers to be involved in the process.
Jo Swanson, who was a co-leader with Neoma, states: “Neoma took time for the girls even though she was a very busy farm wife, church worker, and mother. She didn’t just talk to the girls; she took extra time to make sure that they learned. I always thought that I learned as much from her as the girls. She was a wonderful mentor to me.”
During her years as a leader, Neoma judged local achievement shows for other 4-H clubs and served as the 4-H Home Improvement Superintendent at the Keokuk County Fair one year. In 1965, Neoma received the 4-H Keokuk County Alumni Award. Neoma and her husband Charles received two recognitions from the Iowa 4-H foundation as investors in the development of youth.
She has told her children and grandchildren she uses what she learned in 4-H daily. The leadership skills she learned in 4-H and as a 4-H leader were used in different leadership positions she went on to hold in her church at the local, area, and regional levels.