Buena Vista, Lee and Van Buren Counties Add History to 4-H Blog

AMES, Iowa – Buena Vista, Lee and Van Buren counties have added their 4-H history to Iowa 4-H History by County, a blog detailing the history of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development. The history blog is a partnership of the Iowa 4-H program and the Iowa 4-H Foundation.

“We’ve also added information about C.J. Gauger and the National 4-H Conference,” said Shelly Greving, marketing director for the Iowa 4-H Foundation.

C.J. Gauger is an Iowa 4-H legend, Greving said. As Iowa State 4-H leader from 1959-1979, Gauger brought the state’s boy’s and girl’s 4-H programs together. He also chaired a national committee that increased the focus on life skills. Whether at the county, state or national level, he believed in listening to youth and involving them in shaping their 4-H program.

Iowa youth began participating in the National 4-H Conference in 1927. Originally called the National 4-H Club Camp, the delegates spent the week living in U.S. Army tents on the National Mall near the Washington Monument, Greving said.

According to the 4-H online history:

  • By the spring of 1918, Buena Vista County families were desperately in need of food. Funding from USDA allowed for the hiring of home economist Bertha Knight, who presented demonstrations in saving wheat, meat, fat and sugar, as well as canning and drying fruits and vegetables and saving fuel and clothing. Under her direction, four girls’ canning clubs were organized, which collectively canned 210 quarts of fruits and vegetables.
  • Lee County 4-H club records date to 1920, with canning and poultry clubs. In those early years, club work mostly was a summer activity, but in 1922 an effort was begun to add enough other objectives to the main project to keep the clubs meeting the year round.
  • The first available Van Buren County 4-H records are from 1926, and show 117 girls and 71 boys enrolled in 4-H clubs. In those early years 4-H’ers created, edited and published a 4-H newspaper called the 4-H Climber.

View the full history on the blog, at http://www.iowa4hfoundation.org/4hhistory.

Over the next two years, 4-H staff and volunteers will be reviewing more county 4-H histories, adding to the blog each month, said Shelly Greving, marketing director for the Iowa 4-H Foundation.

“We want this to become a living history of 4-H. We hope 4-H members, alumni, volunteers, leaders and staff will add their comments and continue the history of 4-H, sharing the many facets of each county’s 4-H program,” Greving said. “Individuals may choose to continue the legacy of 4-H by making a donation to directly impact Iowa 4-H or their county 4-H program.”

Those who wish to support 4-H in their county may make a donation to their county 4-H endowment through the Iowa 4-H Foundation, http://www.iowa4hfoundation.org/.