Find Out Night celebrates 4-H
Thursday is 4-H Find Out Night, from 4-7 p.m. at the Activities Building at Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
Anyone interested to learn more about 4-H and its activities, clubs, projects and opportunities is invited to stop by.
“Anyone from kindergarten students through seniors in high school have a place in 4-H and are welcome to come Thursday to look at our displays and talk with other 4-H members and volunteers,” said Courtney Taglauer, county youth coordinator for Jefferson County ISU Extension Office.
She said 4-H members who may have only belonged a year or two often attend to learn more about the program and opportunities.
“It’s not just for kids living on farms, it’s for everyone,” said Taglauer. “Youth in grades fourth through high school seniors can belong to 4-H; Clover Kids is for grades kindergarten through third.”
Thursday’s Find Out Night will include a drawing to give away five project kits, said Taglauer.
Project kits to be given away Thursday include one about food and nutrition; paint supplies for fine arts projects; a kit focused on small animal care such as dogs and cats which includes toys and grooming tools; a kit with seeds and potting soil; and a sewing kit to create a tied blanket.
The Find Out Night will include posters about the history of 4-H, Jefferson County clubs and activities, county fair projects and rules, along with 4-H members and volunteers available to discuss any information.
“Not all activities are centered around the county fair,” said Taglauer. “Students can be in 4-H and not exhibit at the fair. But categories are so widespread, there is something for everyone.
“County fair projects can be about livestock and agriculture, but also about clothes, pets — and I’ve seen lizards and turtles exhibited — about woodworking or refinishing, gardening, canning, shopping, photography, just about anything. 4-H is about networking and learning.”
Information will be available about signing up online to join a county 4-H club. Taglauer said there is a $10 annual dues for 4-H members, but some of the clubs pay the dues. So if a family were struggling to be able to pay dues, they would be guided to join one of the clubs that pays the dues for its members.
National 4-H Week is celebrated Oct. 6-12, and Thursday’s open house is one outreach to promote 4-H.
Taglauer also had a booth at Fairfield 1st Fridays Art Walk Oktoberfest to promote 4-H.
4-H is being promoted at state and national levels, also.
“Last Sunday, Living History Farms [in Urbandale] had free admission for 4-H members,” said Taglauer. “4-H members may wear their 4-H T-shirts to school one day this week.”
More about the history of 4-H in Jefferson County will be available at Find Out Night Thursday.
Call the Extension office at 472-4166 for more information about 4-H programs.
Jefferson County 4-H clubs began in the early 1920s, with separate boys and girls clubs. In 1922-1924, the combined membership was 335. Some of the girls clubs were named Merry Maids, The Lively Nine and The Little Women. The boys had clubs called Hereford Calf, Sow & Litter, Jersey Calf and Garment.
“In 1924-25, efforts [were] made to get all clubs started on 12-month basis, instead of three months; but not successful because of school. A music contest was introduced in 1925. Rally Day held in June, played games, sang and were taught folk dances. Clubs did educational or humorous stunts. Activities were held at Chautauqua Park, in Fairfield,” according to a written history of 4-H in Jefferson County.
“Local and county achievement shows were held and a health girl selected to participate at state. Several demonstration teams placed at state fair each year, as well.”
The history tells of the drought of 1936 and the labor shortage for harvest during World War II, which brought out men, women and youth volunteers to help with harvest, and “none lost due to lack of labor.”
Jefferson County Fairgrounds did not exist before the late 1940s; 4-H Rally Days and exhibits were held at various venues, including Chautauqua Park, Howard Park, Fairfield High School, Parsons College Gym and at local farms. Boys camped at Lacey-Keosauqua State Park in Keosauqua and in cabins at Lake Wapello.
The livestock show was held in the “Chicago stockyards, northwest part of Fairfield,” in the late 1930s.
“Boys educational tour, June 20, 1939, through locks, dam and power plant at Keokuk and state penitentiary at Fort Madison,” according to the history. “Cost for the trip was 25-cents each. They took sack lunches. Boys competed in county-wide softball tournament.”
A building drive began in 1941 with a committee soliciting $1,800 toward the project.
“The big change came in 1948 when the junior ag board purchased 40 acres of land, west edge of Fairfield on Highway 34. The board, with lots of volunteers, erected one permanent building for livestock in time for the Junior Ag Show, in August 1948. However, the girls county Achievement Show was held at FHS because no building available on new fairgrounds for girls exhibits,” according to the history.
“In 1949 everything was shown on the fairgrounds at the Junior Ag Show. Five large tents were rented from Ottumwa Tent & Awning Co. for livestock, 4-H girls exhibits and two tents for commercial exhibits. Also, a 60-foot-by-100-foot tent to cover the show ring. Bill for tent rental amounted to over $700.
“1951 Junior Ag Show was a memorable experience for all the 4-H girls that exhibited at the fairgrounds in the tent. Many exhibits were extensively damaged when a storm and heavy rains wrecked their tent during the night. That prompted merchants and businesses to be huge supporters for the new girls building. Several farmers and other interested persons helped with construction. Milton Schuck and Bill Hipp were carpenters in charge. [The] 40-foot by 100-foot [building] was still under construction, but far enough along to use for exhibits at the 1952 Junior Ag Show. Had lots of rain and mud for the fair. The new Activity Building was very much appreciated.”
The history reports 16,000 people attended the 1953 Junior Ag Show and no admission was charged.