4-H Makes Contemporary History

4-H isn’t always old. Sometimes a current event is history-in-the-making; sometimes the significance is a link between past events and a new situation which highlights the importance of tracking 4-H History. We can call it “current history” or “contemporary history”.

4-H International: “The Washington Post” recently reported that Mary Kerstetter, a USDA employee stationed in Baghdad, started 4-H clubs in Iraq, the latest country – as far as we know – where 4-H has been introduced. Definitely history-in-the-making! As of November 2010, there were four clubs with 124 members. “[The kids] are very quiet and shy when you start with them” Kerstetter says; “and then they become more confident. They’re learning responsibility; they’re learning leadership.” Yousif Mahamed Nea’amh, 13, was elected News Reporter for one of the clubs. “The first thing I learned from the 4-H club is how to work as a team” he said. They voted to name their club “Al Amal” which means “hope” in Arabic.

4-H Alumna: The Commonwealth of Virginia’s first female Chief Justice of the Supreme Court sworn in on February 1, 2010, Cynthia Kinser, was a 4-H member in Lee County, Virginia. “Her most influential activity,” reports the “Richmond Times-Dispatch,” “might have been her involvement in the 4-H youth organization. She raised steers and researched nutrition, but also developed leadership and speaking skills.” As a high school senior, her first airplane ride was to National 4-H Congress in Chicago. “The 4-H motto – `To make the best better’ – serves as a mantra for her approach to life” says the “Times Dispatch.” She still farms in Lee County.

A Model 4-H’er: Norman Rockwell painted his iconic “The County Agent” for a July 24, 1948 “Saturday Evening Post” cover, and in 2010 Jama Fuller, the model for the 14 year old 4-H girl in the painting, recalled the experience in an interview with Portland, Indiana’s “The Commercial Review.” Jama, now 73, a resident of Redkey, Indiana, and her sister, Sharon Smith (also a former 4-H’er) are the only two surviving models portrayed in the painting. Jama’s brother, Larry Steed, is in the painting, as is County Agent Herald Rippey and hired hand Arlie Champ. All three Steed children were active in 4-H, members of the Jefferson Livewires 4-H Club. The original painting is housed at University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The National 4-H Youth Conference Center has a numbered print of the much reproduced painting.

from National 4-H History Preservation Program. info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com http://4-Hhistorypreservation.com

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