Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 28, 2017 at 9:16 AM by Global Reach

Maureen R. OlsenI learned about 4-H the old-fashioned way: my mother was a leader and I was attending meetings with her and hero-worshipping the older girls long before I could become a member myself.         

When I did join 4-H at ten, I joined both "boys" and "girls" clubs because I wanted to show cattle and "girls" could only do that if they belonged to a "boys" club.             

Some of the things I like best about 4-H are: older and younger members and even adults can interact and learn from each other, the emphasis on learning to speak in front of a group, even the dreaded record book has taught me how to set realistic goals and evaluate the results, and subject matter tends to be full of practical applications, from sewing on a button to feeding cattle.                        

While a 4-H member, I held offices in both my clubs, served on the 4-H County Council, went on 4-H exchanges to Oklahoma and Colorado, went to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago and the National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C. I attended camps and took a wide variety of entries to the Iowa State Fair.        

During early fund-raising efforts toward the new fairgrounds, Mom drafted me to type up a simple flyer that could be used as a handout. Fitting West Pottawattamie County Fairgrounds on the flyer was a challenge, but my brother suggested just calling it Westfair. Mom and I put it on the flyer and accidentally made Westfair history.          

After graduating high school, I worked as a 4-H Aide in West Pottawattamie County for several summers.  I graduated from the University of Iowa in English and journalism, and taught in Kentucky for a year.  I spent almost four years as an Extension 4-H and Youth leader in Buchanan County, Iowa, where I started a 4-H apple pie baking contest.       

I moved back to Minden, started working part-time at the local newspaper and bought it two years later.  We include 4-H news, do a salute to 4-H every October and cover Westfair every summer.          

I served two terms on the West Pottawattamie County Extension Council and judged various events in several counties.  I was a local club leader in Minden along with my mother for several years.    

I have been active in my church as a Sunday school teacher, board member, choir director, organist, and even occasional preacher.  I held state offices, including president, of both the Iowa Press Women and Iowa Republican Women. For fun I enjoy travel, reading and photography . . . and my pet hedgehogs.         

4-H has been a part of my life for literally as long as I can remember. It has given me friends, knowledge, fun and learning and I hope I have been able to give a little back to 4-H.

Categories: 2017, Pottawattamie (West)

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