Posted on August 23, 2021 at 5:45 PM by Emily Saveraid
Chuck Morris began his 4-H career as a member of the Walnut Progressors 4-H Club in Dallas County. He participated in beef; swine; and science, mechanics and engineering projects early on, but especially appreciated his opportunities in the leadership program, where he learned about himself and the person he wanted to be. 4-H became a part of Chuck’s life, including a 37-year professional career in ISU Extension, seven of those years serving as the Iowa State 4-H program leader.
One of Chuck’s special memories as a 4-H’er was representing Iowa at National 4-H Conference during his senior year in high school. At that time, Iowa had added “and my world” to the 4-H pledge, but the rest of the country had not. Through his and others’ work on the international committee at National 4-H Conference, they proposed that addition be adopted nationally, which came to fruition in 1973.
Chuck attributes many of his connections and special relationships to shared 4-H experiences, his most important being his wife, Mary, who he met through 4-H. They, in turn, prioritized 4-H activities and encouraged and supported their children, Emily and J.C., to be involved in 4-H experiences at the club, county and state levels as well.
Chuck began his extension career as Extension 4-H and Youth Leader in Clay and Buena Vista counties in 1975 and was soon asked to join the State 4-H Youth Staff on campus. On campus, Chuck provided leadership in Agriculture and Volunteer Development prior to becoming Assistant State Leader and finally, State 4-H Leader in 2006. After seven successful years as state 4-H leader, Chuck retired in 2014.
A few of Chuck’s notable professional accomplishments which have created lasting impacts on the Iowa 4-H program today include creating new recruitment materials for 4-H volunteers; developing a volunteer training and support plan; creating animal species advisory committees to provide oversight and assistance in decision-making; creating the horseless horse program for youth who want to learn about horses but do not own one themselves; and leading the Strengthening 4-H Clubs effort that included club assessments and efforts to improve vibrancy in our 4-H clubs.
Chuck served in various leadership roles across the 4-H and larger Extension system, including the National 4-H Curriculum committee; the Iowa State Fair Board; president of Epsilon Sigma Phi; Chair of the NCR State Leaders and Iowa Excellence in Extension committee. Chuck has also served as a member of the Governor’s Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service; member and Chair of the Governor-appointed State Task Force on Youth Education Employment and Training; a member of the Iowa Arboretum Board of Directors; FarmHouse Fraternity Association Board President; and various roles in his local church.
Chuck Morris has always had a smile and handshake for everyone he meets. 4-H staff, volunteers, and members would agree Chuck is a most supportive, encouraging, and caring leader. Those that have worked with him have grown from his guidance.