Posted on August 25, 2017 at 3:31 PM by Emily Saveraid
My affiliation with 4-H began when a neighbor girl invited me to a meeting. Without my mother’s permission I joined the West Grovettes 4-H Club that day.
4-H quickly became a very important part of my life, and eventually for my three sisters and brother. Each year was spent learning things about home furnishings, clothing, or food and nutrition. I especially enjoyed sewing and baking. We had to prepare at least three exhibits for an achievement show and then, the county fair. Other areas of interest were pursued as well, including gardening and photography. Of course, we always hoped an exhibit would be selected to go to the Iowa State Fair. As an older 4-H member, I participated in the 4-H Fashion Revue and enjoyed being a member of the 4-H County Council.
In the summer we attended Bible school and then spent a good portion of the summer working on 4-H projects and exhibits. It was a busy household during a sewing year, especially when four girls needed to use the one available sewing machine The same was true when we were baking and all of us needed to use the oven.
I learned so much from being a 4-H member and had wonderful and dedicated 4-H leaders. We met once a month on a Saturday at the nearby schoolhouse or at a member’s home. We really got to know our neighbors and became friends with them because of 4-H and riding the school bus together. Older girls became mentors and helped younger girls learn.
During college, for one summer I was lucky to be hired to work for the Humboldt County Extension office as a youth assistant. The next summer, I worked for another extension program, traveling to the smaller towns in Humboldt County and worked with youth. I judged some achievement shows and as an adult, was a 4-H judge at various county fairs for several years.
My college years were spent at Iowa State University where I received a degree in Home Economics Education and continued to further those interests in 4-H. I taught school for several years and later, while my children were in school, became a substitute teacher.
While my children were 4-H members, I served as one of the leaders for the Vernon Lassies 4-H club. Like the West Grovettes club that I belonged to as a girl, the Vernon Lassies club no longer exists, but there are many good memories for the many girls and leaders who were a part of that club.
Today I am involved in my church and volunteer on several boards. Family is important to me and although our children are grown, my husband, Rick and I keep in touch with them daily.
What you can learn from being a 4-H member goes well beyond what you learn by completing a single project. Being involved with 4-H helps develop leadership and communication skills. It helps a person to be more confident and makes a person want to help others and give back to their community. It is a wonderful organization and I credit much of who I am to my involvement with 4-H.