Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 8:22 AM by Global Reach

Irene LaryBack in 1952, Irene’s first encounter with 4-H was not a good one when she enrolled in an agriculture club with a baby beef project as there was no “girls” club in her township.  Fortunately for her, she saw 4-H girls home economics projects exhibited at the county fair and read of their activities in the newspaper.  She wanted to be in “girls” 4-H!  With the help of her mother and a few interested friends, they formed the C.C. Suzies in northern Linn County.  Through her new club, Irene became active in county activities such as the Leadership Club and was even elected a county officer in 1956.

After high school graduation, Irene enrolled at Iowa State College and was active in Campus 4-H from 1957-59.  Her 4-H career continued into 1960 when she was chosen as an Extension trainee for the summer in Clayton County, which was a positive experience for her.  Her 4-H experiences were expanded when she observed urban 4-H in some housing projects of the inner city while attending Merrill-Palmer Institute in Detroit, Michigan.

Irene’s career brought her to Muscatine county when she was employed by the ISU Extension Service from 1961-68 as an Extension Home Economist, where the major part of her work was training 4-H leaders and working with clubs and county 4-H activities.

Over the years, Irene has been a part of organizing three 4-H clubs.

  • In 1968-70 she created a neighborhood club for girls who lived in the city (Clover Leaf Pals)
  • In 1971-77, she was a co-leader of a newly formed 4-H club of non-farm girls who lived in rural areas of Sweetland Township (Sweetland Shamrocks)
  • In 1977-84, since she had sons, Irene organized and led a club for non-farm boys who lived in rural Sweetland Township so her sons could be in 4-H (Mississippi River Rangers)

Since 2007 she has volunteered to coordinate 4-H Afterschool activities for low income youth at three separate locations around Muscatine; the Flickinger Learning Center, Sunset Park Afterschool Center, and Spring Valley Camp.

She would rather not have all the fuss and publicity, but Irene is one of those behind the scene people who are quietly changing the lives of young people.  The 62 years of value she has added to the 4-H program cannot be measured.  Muscatine County is proud and honored to recognize Irene Lary as its 2014 Hall of Fame recipient.

Categories: Muscatine

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