Posted on August 21, 2015 at 2:00 PM by Global Reach
Mary was an outstanding 4-H member who showcased her leadership & communication skills throughout her membership in 4-H.
Mary began her professional Extension career in 1972 as the Cass County Extension 4-H and Youth Leader for 20 years. Mary strived to increase 4-H membership by building strong relationships with the youth in the county. Mary worked to provide council and guidance to individual youth about personal relationships and careers. Mary developed the 4-H Youth Council in Cass County, which provided youth opportunity to take on additional leadership roles beyond their 4-H club. Mary was very proud of the Cass County Fair. She enjoyed the fair and the opportunity for youth to showcase their projects and learning. (Mary’s son was even born during the fair!)
Under Mary’s leadership, the ever popular 4-H Foodstand at the Cass County Fair moved from being run by busy 4-H families during fair week to recruiting volunteers to run the foodstand while 4-H families focused on 4-H related activities. The 4-H Foodstand is still run by businesses and other volunteers to this day. Also related to the Cass County Fair, Mary developed the system of volunteer superintendents for each department. Mary sought out those volunteers who would be interested and had knowledge in each of the departments and supported them throughout the year. Mary was also the 4-H Personal Development Superintendent at the Iowa State Fair for many years.
Mary created many innovative programs for club members, schools and other youth organizations in Cass and surrounding counties. Through patience and hard work she even moved a locally written Growing Up with Self-Esteem program for K-6 grades to a nationally available program.
After her time in Cass County, Mary served as the Youth Specialist in Eastern Iowa and then returned to Southwest Iowa as the Audubon County Extension Education Director.
Mary Ottmar truly bleeds 4-H green! Many in Cass County think of her as the mother of 4-H.