1908 Country Life Commission a Key Beginning to Success of Smith-Lever Act

The Smith-Lever Act of 1914, establishing the Cooperative Extension Service, celebrates its centennial next year.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s Country Life Commission, a group of educational leaders who made a thorough study of rural life in 1908 stated that the country was not related closely enough to boys’ and girls’ environment. It pointed out the need for practical education in farming and homemaking and called for increased extension activity on the part of the colleges and gave high encouragement to those country school superintendents and teachers who were already pioneering in this area of farming and homemaking skills. This helped set the stage for the formation of the Cooperative Extension Service.

The National 4-H History Preservation Program has spent most of 2013 working with state and county Extension offices on a project supporting the upcoming centennial. Voices of 4-H History encourages current 4-H members to seek out and record the recollections of  4-H alumni – past staff, 4-H leaders and members – about their personal experiences in 4-H. Information on this program can be found at http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/Voices

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