Cass, Decatur and Taylor 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. The online history notes the importance of the country fair to the 4-H program in Cass County.
Throughout the years, 4-H and the fair have changed emphasis to meet the needs of the times. As early as 1949, 4-H project entries began changing to meet the needs of 4-H members who resided in towns and had interests other than livestock, although animal project areas such as rabbit, poultry and goats continued to expand as well. View the full history on the blog, at www.iowa4hfoundation.org/4hhistory.
Over the next two years, 4-H staff and volunteers will be reviewing additionalcounty 4-H histories, with two to four being published on the blog each month, said Shelly Greving, marketing director for the Iowa 4-H Foundation. The idea that led to the blog took root 10 years ago during Iowa 4-H’s centennialyear, when several 4-H volunteers and ISU Extension staff members started talking about writing an illustrated history of 4-H in Iowa, Greving explained. Those early discussions resulted in “A 4-H Story: Helping Hands, Caring Hearts” (4H 4805), an illustrated 4-H ABC book for children. The book is available from the ISU Extension Online Store, https://store.extension.iastate.edu/.
County celebrations during the 4-H centennial, as well as ISU Extension’s centennial in 2003, resulted in the gathering of numerous pictures, record books and memorabilia. Florine Swanson, retired Iowa 4-H Foundation executive director, led the online history project as counties compiled their history and submitted it to the review committee to be published on the site, Greving said.
“All these efforts have resulted in what now will be 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.” Today’s 4-H youth develop citizenship, communication and leadership skills; and learn about everything from aerospace to zoology,” said Chuck Morris, director of ISU Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development.
To learn more about 4-H, contact Susan at the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132.