Father Flanaghan’s Boys’ Town and 4-H


The following story is from the National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility on the National 4-H History website at

http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/4-H_Promotion/



Father Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of what’s known as Boys Town, had a dream that every boy could be a productive citizen if given love, a home, an education and a trade. Father Flanagan, a Roman Catholic priest, firmly believed, “there are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.”

In December, 1917 Father Flanagan opened his first Boys’ Home in a run-down Victorian mansion in downtown Omaha, Nebraska, accepting all boys, regardless of their race or religion. Four years later, in 1921, the operation had grown so large that a move was made to Overlook Farm, outside of Omaha, where it continues today. Father Flanagan accepted boys of every race, color and creed. While Boys’ Town continued to grow, it became internationally known with the help of a 1938 movie, “Boys Town,” starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney.


Father_Flanagan

Boys_Town_Postcard


During this same period, Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Town 4-H Club was an active part of the activities. The 1939 National 4-H Club News magazine lists Denny O’Brien as president of the club and also herdsman of 60 Brown Swiss dairy cattle. Teams from Boys’ Town judging or showing beef and dairy cattle often won the competitions at state and county fairs and even at nationally known livestock expositions. Those boys graduating from Boys’ Club during these years, in the yearbook… even the star football and baseball players, often listed that they belonged to the Boys’ Town 4-H Club.


 

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RCA National 4-H Program on Social Progress


The following story is from the National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility on the National 4-H History website at

http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/4-H_Promotion/




In July, 1936, while most of the country was still wrestling with the Great Depression, the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work, in partnership with the Extension System, announced a new awards program quite different from any that had preceded it. Called the National Program on Social Progress, the new program was sponsored by the Radio Corporation of America, through its services, RCA Victor and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC).

Inspired by 4-H, the President of RCA, Mr. David Sarnoff, worked personally with 4-H to create the program to energize rural communities and simply help young boys and girls feel better about themselves and their future. It was a broad program encouraging community parties and cultural events where youth could expand their horizons, conservation activities, discussions and debates, volunteer programs and personal growth opportunities.


RCA_Social_Progess_Poster


The awards structure for the program was generous, including both individual and club awards along with county, state, sectional and national recognition. The top 4-H boy and girl in the United States were awarded $500 scholarships at National 4-H Congress, plus a trip to New York City (each with chaperon) to personally meet with Mr. Sarnoff and tour RCA and NBC facilities. Both an appreciation for music and the hands-on use of radio broadcasting were integral parts of the program.

The National 4-H Program on Social Progress was of great assistance in many rural communities which were experiencing low morale due to the Great Depression, and also was a highly visible program for 4-H. David Sarnoff served as a member of the board for the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work for a number of years


 

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Folks Who helped Make 4-H Great
A. G. Kettunen

This is the fifth in the 1962 series published in the National 4-H News highlighting the work of 4-H professionals who, in the judgement of surveyed Extension workers, contributed significantly to the growth and development of the 4-H program nationwide. We reprint each article as it was written in 1962.


The following story is from the December 2015 issue of the 4-H History Preservation Newsletter


A. G. Kettunen

A_G_KettunenHumble beginning marked the life of many a 4-H pioneer, and Arne Gerald Kettunen was no exception. The son of an immigrant Finnish tailor, he learned early in life the value of hard work. Especially he came to realize the value of a helping hand, and so set ambitious goal himself in the service of youth.

Nearly 1½ million 4-H Club boys and girls reaped the benefits of club work in Michigan during the 31 years “Kett” spent as state 4-H Club leader there, from 1925 to 1956. In those years, not only they but 4-H’ers across the nation received a helping hand through Kettunen’s diligent work.

As was the case with so many workers in the early days of 4-H, when a lack of today’s clearly established patterns required a broad scope of operation, Kettunen’ achievements threaded through so many phases of 4-H that it is hard to pick out one or two that stand above the rest.

One great contribution this native of Michigan made to 4-H was in obtaining financial support, both public and private.

For instance, he helped obtain a yearly state 4-H Club allocation from the Michigan legislature for counties to use in providing “suitable awards for

members and leaders.” He raised $28,000 of state money, in 1942, to finance the State 4-H Show, claimed to be the largest annual 4-H event in the nation not connected with a state fair. In helping establish the Michigan 4-H Foundation in 1952, he opened a way to put private funds to work for the youth of his state. (He also established many county 4-H foundations to aid agents in administering an effective 4-H program.)

Kettunen was a strong, capable executive, his former co-workers explain. He established a district 4-H supervisor’s plan and a strong county 4-H Club agent system in Michigan. He led the way in Michigan’s 4-H camping program first with a camp at Chatham for the Upper Peninsula, then with many others. Most Michigan counties now have a camp of their own or own one jointly with other counties.

In national 4-H affairs, Kettunen was a promoter of many events. He served as chairman of 4-H’s top policy group, the 4-H Subcommittee of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). He was the first chairman of the National 4-H Club Foundation and a chairman of the National 4-H Congress committee.

Born at Ishpeming, Michigan, October 28, 1894, “Kett” spent his whole professional life in the service of youth. Immediately after his graduation from Michigan State University in 1917, he went to work with the Extension Service of that state, becoming state 4-H Club leader 8 years later.

In 1923, he married Ruth Cresswell, who later became a staff member at Michigan State University also. He was survived by a son, daughter and five grandchildren at the time of his death at age 64.

Always a backer of the International Farm Youth Exchange program, Kettunen journeyed to Finland and other European and North African countries in 1952 to study its activities. He was honored by the Finnish government for his contribution to the organization of their 4-H work.

In the words of another 4-H pioneer, “Kett” was not so much a speaker or writer as a “do-er.” He never spared himself, which may have contributed to a heart attack at about the time of his retirement from Extension work in 1956.

Himself a man of great integrity and high standards, Kettunen helped transmit those qualities to 4-H Club work.


 

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Folks Who Helped Make 4-H Great
A. B. Graham

The following story is from the November 2015 issue of the 4-H History Preservation Newsletter



Drawing from the May, 1962, National 4-H Club News.

Drawing from the May, 1962, National 4-H Club News.

Rural one-room schools in this country were, at the birth of the 20th century, the gathering place of youth without a great deal of hope. Or so many educators such as A. B. Graham thought as they observed the attitude of farmers and farm youth toward their own lot in life.

The farmer was then a “hick” in the eyes of city folks. Farming was a plodding existence, calling for not much ingenuity or thoughtfulness, many farmers felt.

To lift the vision of farmers was the goal of many early pioneers in boys’ and girls’ club work – O. H. Benson, T. A. Erickson and others. In Springfield township, Clark county, Ohio, school superintendent Graham decided to kindle new enthusiasm for rural life in the hearts of his students.

His technique for doing this was the formation, in January, 1902, of an agricultural “experiment club.” He showed members some litmus paper and suggested that they test the soil on their fathers’ farms. Later he introduced more science into club work with a microscopic examination of frogs’ blood circulation and other eye-openers for the farm youth. Perhaps the greatest contribution this pioneer made, however, was in building the prestige of 4-H Club work in the minds of Extension workers and the public alike. He left school work in 1915 to go to Washington, D.C., as head of agricultural specialists in the federal Extension Service.

Seeing the growing impact of 4-H on agriculture, Graham influenced federal Extension specialists to write 4-H bulletins and make suggestions for club work in the states.

W. H. “Billy” Palmer, who became the first state 4-H Club leader in Ohio in 1916 – shortly after Graham left the Buckeye state – and who built 4-H into a great program there, recalls that “about the only 4-H literature we had in Ohio in the early days was from Washington D.C. It was written by specialists there.” Graham encouraged that help, he adds.

Graham was a prolific writer himself, and a practical philosopher who is still quoted widely. He did little writing about 4-H until his latest years of life, however, since agriculture was his primary interest. He had promotional abilities with which he served 4-H along with his ability as a practical educator.

Evidence of his practical nature is the fact that Graham started local projects in the early years in Ohio. He helped cast the mold for present-day 4-H Clubs by forming actual clubs (much of the early youth work in other places was in the form of contests), electing officers, promoting exhibits, drawing up report forms, and encouraging projects at home.

The 4-H pioneer started life on a Champaign County, Ohio, farm on March 13, 1868. He had several years’ experience before taking the Clark county job. In 1914 he took charge of Extension work at the New York School of Agriculture after serving as superintendent of Extension at Ohio State University for 9 years. His years of work at the Federal Extension Service began in 1915, and he retired in 1938.

Almost to the time of his death in early 1961, Graham was a tireless worker for 4-H in his native state of Ohio. He attended meeting after meeting to build youth work, a fitting climax to a life of service.


 

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4-H Alumni Distinguished Themselves in World War II and Beyond

The following story is from the November 2015 issue of the 4-H History Preservation Newsletter

As we celebrate Veterans’ Day this month we would like to remember and share short stories about some of the many 4-H alumni that served their country proudly in the Armed Services. The following excerpt comes from “Wartime 4-H Support – World War II” which is currently being researched and written by the National 4-H History Preservation Leadership Team for inclusion of the website.

When the United States entered World War II in December, 1941, many older 4-H members and 4-H alumni enlisted in our country’s military services, soon to be actively serving on the battlefields and seas of the war. There were an estimated 800,000 4-H alumni in total enlisted in the war effort.

Not surprising, many of these young men and women who had grown up on farms and experienced the “can do” attitude of successful 4-H projects and activities also became some of the heroes of the war.

Knocking out Japanese at Saipan and Tinian won a promotion for Marine gunnery sergeant Marion J. Franklin, former 4-H Club president at Mount Vernon, Illinois. As a scout with the fourth Marine Division artillery, he served with forward observer parties throughout the Marines’ campaign, and was a crack shot, specializing in hunting enemy snipers. Fighting throughout the war, Marion became old enough to vote on November 11, 1944, near the end of the war.

100_Hawaii_Co-C

American boys of Japanese ancestry born in Hawaii made up the celebrated 100th Hawaii Infantry Division of the United States Army and one among them was Kenneth Otagaki, former 4-H Club member with a seven-year record of poultry project experience on the Island of Molokai. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, he was an assistant in the University’s dairy department, before enlisting. He closed out the war at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. because of combat wounds received at Cassina, where he lost a leg, an eye and several fingers.

Winner of the 100th Congressional Medal of Honor, Sgt. Oscar Godfrey Johnson, from Foster City, Michigan, was a member of the Sturgeon River Dairy Club five years and the Felch Forestry and Handicraft Clubs for each of several years. Sgt. Johnson’s citation tells a story of supreme courage. Detailed to a forward scouting battalion, his party was ambushed by Germans. All others were killed or wounded. He himself was responsible for killing 40 Germans, silencing six machine gun nests, and caring for the wounded. Later he was wounded and received the Purple Heart. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor from General Mark Clark.

The October 1945 issue of National 4-H Club News announced that Col. Creighton W. Abrams is now home in triumph in Agawam, Massachusetts. Abrams was a 4-H’er for several years, raising baby beef. During the war he served as tank battalion commander with Gen. Patton’s army. [Later, as a U. S. Army General, Abrams commanded the military


 

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Folks Who Helped Make 4-H Great
Dr. E. W. Aiton

In coming months we will feature short bios of ten people who were selected by professional Extension workers in 1962 as having made significant contributions to the 4-H program: people who “helped make 4-H great.” The original series was first published in 1962 in National 4-H News and is reprinted here. To select the individuals to be featured, National 4-H News “…asked more than 30 veteran 4-H workers to send us their list of the ‘top ten’ contributors. We tallied the results and chose the ten people mentioned most often …” From a historical perspective, these individuals are the ones to whom 4-H owes its creativity and dynamism, its solid and experiential education principles, its enduring strength. These are the ones on whose shoulders this remarkable youth development proudly stands today.

This series stands as a tribute to those visionary leaders to whom we are greatly indebted.


The following story is from the August 2015 issue of the 4-H History Preservation Newsletter



E_W_Aiton

Drawing from February, 1962 National 4-H News.

There is no doubt in observers’ minds as to the contributions which Dr. E. W. Aiton has made to the youth movement which has been so much a part of his life. Testaments to his vision and determination are plentiful in today’s 4-H program.

What is the background that has led this man to his being named in a list of ten people who have contributed so much to 4-H? For one thing, a 4-H career that has included every level of 4-H work: member, junior leader, adult leader (even at this time), county Extension worker, state and federal 4-H staff member.

Starting as a farm boy in Minnesota, Aiton moved steadily up the professional ladder. In 1960, after serving eight years as the first director of 4-H Club and YMW (Young Men and Women’s) Programs in the Federal Extension Service, he was appointed assistant administrator of the FES (Federal Extension Service).

The marks of Dr. Aiton’s influence are present in many places in 4-H. One is in the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) program, which he helped to found while he was Northeastern regional 4-H field agent in Washington, D. C., from 1944 to 1950. New York State 4-H Club Leader Al Hoefer and a group of 4-H’ers journeyed to Washington with an international program in mind, and Aiton was assigned to help them. The result: IFYE.

The National 4-H Club Center is another monument to Aiton’s ability to organize, then carry out a needed project. During a stint as executive director of the National 4-H Club Foundation (from 1950 to 1952), he initiated many services to 4-H as well as pushing the planning of the widely-used Center.

As the first director of the Division of 4-H and YMW Programs, Aiton wielded a great influence on club work nationally. His efforts helped increase public understanding of 4-H. (During his Extension career in Minnesota, he once served as state Extension editor.) He helped clarify the working relationship between the national policy-making group in 4-H and its parent Extension committee. He contributed to building the role of state 4-H Club leaders as professional educators. He developed the status of local 4-H leaders and blazed trails in their training and development. (He is co-author of the book “Leadership in Action in Rural Communities.) 1 Young Men and Women’s 2 Federal Extension Service

Other 4-H areas promoted by Aiton and felt directly by 4-H Club members include: · Citizenship as the main goal of 4-H Club work, rather than merely the learning of skills. · An adjustment to the changing membership of 4-H – that is, an expansion of the program to include more activities for urban and suburban members. · Emphasis on 4-H’ers understanding international affairs and relating them to club activities. · Development of literature, training meetings, etc., tailored to fit the development needs of members at different ages and with different problems. · Strengthening or working relations with many youth groups such as the Boy Scouts of America and others. ED NOTE: The auditorium of the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, is named in memory of Dr. Aiton.


 

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The Moses Trophy
Top Leadership Award


The following story is from the National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility on the National 4-H History website at

http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/4-H_Promotion/




Horace A. Moses


Beginning in 1924 the top 4-H Leadership award, winner of the prestigious Moses trophy, was considered the top award in 4-H. Presented at National 4-H Congress, initially there was a single winner, however after three years, there was both a boy winner and a girl winner selected. The annual announcement of these winners brought national promotion to 4-H from coast to coast with coverage in movie newsreels, on national radio broadcasts and in newspaper and magazine features.


The Moses trophies (there were two) were travelling trophies with each of the annual winners getting to retain the trophy for one year before it was traditionally passed on to the new winners. The trophies were presented in the name of Horace A. Moses, President of the Strathmore Paper Company and a member of the board of the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work.


He also sponsored the 4-H Leader Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts and funded the Horace A. Moses Building at the Eastern States Exposition. Beginning in the 1930s, the winners also received scholarships provided by Edward Foss Wilson, the son of Thomas E. Wilson. In approximately 1961, the top winners received trays presented in the name of the President of the United States instead of the trophies. But… one of the mysteries of 4-H history continues to remain today – what happened to the two prestigious traveling Moses trophies? The National 4-H History Preservation leadership Team continues to search for these trophies so they can once again be displayed at the national level.


A notable “first” in 4-H history is the very first winner of the famous H. A. Moses trophy, awarded in the National 4-H Leadership program to Ford Mercer of Wellston, Oklahoma.


For more information on the National 4-H Leadership Program and a listing of all winners at

http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/National_Recognition/Presidential_Winners/#AD1


 

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Peter Max and 4-H


The following story is from the National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility on the National 4-H History website at

http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/4-H_Promotion/




Peter Max, one of America’s most renowned pop artists, known for his use of psychedelic shapes and colors, partnered with 4-H in the mid-1970s to create a Peter Max scarf designed exclusively for 4-H. The colorful design represented love, joy and health through the symbols of head, heart and hands in peaceful motion capped off with four-leaf clovers. The 28″ x 27″ scarf was made of Polyester and sold through the National 4-H Supply Service. Virginia Ogilvy, Extension clothing specialist with USDA and Fern Kelley, from the federal 4-H Extension staff, worked directly with Peter Max on the project.


Peter_Max_Scarf



 

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Fannie Buchanan
Writer of 4-H Songs


The following story is from the National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility on the National 4-H History website at

http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/4-H_Promotion/


Fannie_Buchanan

Fannie Buchanan earned a degree in music from Grinnell College, Iowa. During World War I, she organized music and recreation activities with War Camp Community Service. Eventually she joined the Victor Talking Machine Company as a Rural Specialist. As she traveled, she came in more contact with 4-H members and leaders and became involved in the 4-H music program and the needs of 4-H members.

She strongly felt that one of these needs was an appreciation for music and singing. During the early 1930s Miss Buchanan authored a column on music appreciation in the National 4-H Club News magazine. She became the first Iowa State Music Extension Specialist in 1930.

Fannie Buchanan wrote the words to five 4-H songs, set to music by her college friend Rena Parish, including “The Plowing Song” dedicated to farm boys and “Dreaming” that captured the daydreams of 4-H girls that she met during her cross country travels. These two songs were introduced at the National 4-H Club Camp in 1927.

These two songs were followed by “A Song for Health” in 1929, the “4-H Friendship Song” in 1932, and “The 4-H Field Song” in 1933. The National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work (now National 4-H Council) published all five of Miss Buchanan’s songs. The members of the Federal Extension Service and National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work helped to carry her songs throughout the country and encouraged their singing by 4-H clubs. In 1941 Fannie Buchanan authored an Extension music publication entitled, “Music of the Soil.” Miss Buchanan received a citation for distinguished service at the 1941 National 4-H Club Camp and recognition at the closing assembly of the 1944 National 4-H Club Congress.

Miss Buchanan lived in Grinnell, Iowa where she died in 1957 at the age of 82.


 

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America’s Highest Scoring Air Ace in World War II was a 4-H’er


The following story is from the National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility on the National 4-H History website at

http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/4-H_Promotion/


The following story is from the November 2015 issue of the 4-H History Preservation Newsletter

Richard_I_BongMajor Richard I. Bong grew up on a farm in Poplar, Wisconsin, as one of nine children, a member of a strong 4-H family, as noted in a feature in National 4-H Club News. While at Superior State Teachers College, Dick Bong enlisted in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Program. One of his flight instructors was Capt. Barry Goldwater (later U. S. Senator from Arizona). He received his wings and commission as second lieutenant on January 19, 1942, only weeks after the U.S. declared war on Japan. Dick Bong became the United States’ highest scoring ace, having shot down at least 40 Japanese aircraft during World War II [Surpassing Eddie Rickenbacker’s American record of 26 credited victories in World War I.] Bong was a fighter pilot in the U. S. Army Air Force and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, at a special ceremony in December, 1944, from General Douglas MacArthur.

Near the end of the war, Major Bong became a test pilot assigned to Lockheed’s Burbank, California, plant, where he flew P-80 Shooting Star jet fighters. On August 6, 1945, his plane’s primary fuel pump malfunctioned and Dick Bong was killed; news of his death shared headlines in newspapers across the country with the bombing of Hiroshima. Bong is well remembered and memorialized in several settings: the Richard Bong State Recreation Area on the old site of Bong Air Force Base in Kenosha County, Wisconsin; the Richard I. Bong Memorial Bridge in Duluth, Minnesota; Richard I. Bong Airport and Richard I. Bong Veteran Historical Center in Superior, Wisconsin; Richard I. Bong Bridge in Townsville, Australia; Richard Bong Theater in Misawa, Japan; as well as streets and avenues with his name in Glendale, Arizona, Anchorage, Alaska, Spokane, Washington, San Antonio, Texas, Mount Holly, New Jersey, and Okinawa, Japan.

4-H Alumni Distinguished Themselves in World War II and Beyond

As we celebrate Veterans’ Day this month we would like to remember and share short stories about some of the many 4-H alumni that served their country proudly in the Armed Services. The following excerpt comes from “Wartime 4-H Support – World War II” which is currently being researched and written by the National 4-H History Preservation Leadership Team for inclusion of the website.

When the United States entered World War II in December, 1941, many older 4-H members and 4-H alumni enlisted in our country’s military services, soon to be actively serving on the battlefields and seas of the war. There were an estimated 800,000 4-H alumni in total enlisted in the war effort.

Not surprising, many of these young men and women who had grown up on farms and experienced the “can do” attitude of successful 4-H projects and activities also became some of the heroes of the war.

Knocking out Japanese at Saipan and Tinian won a promotion for Marine gunnery sergeant Marion J. Franklin, former 4-H Club president at Mount Vernon, Illinois. As a scout with the fourth Marine Division artillery, he served with forward observer parties throughout the Marines’ campaign, and was a crack shot, specializing in hunting enemy snipers. Fighting throughout the war, Marion became old enough to vote on November 11, 1944, near the end of the war.

American boys of Japanese ancestry born in Hawaii made up the celebrated 100th Hawaii Infantry Division of the United States Army and one among them was Kenneth Otagaki, former 4-H Club member with a seven-year record of poultry project experience on the Island of Molokai. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, he was an assistant in the University’s dairy department, before enlisting. He closed out the war at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. because of combat wounds received at Cassina, where he lost a leg, an eye and several fingers.

Winner of the 100th Congressional Medal of Honor, Sgt. Oscar Godfrey Johnson, from Foster City, Michigan, was a member of the Sturgeon River Dairy Club five years and the Felch Forestry and Handicraft Clubs for each of several years. Sgt. Johnson’s citation tells a story of supreme courage. Detailed to a forward scouting battalion, his party was ambushed by Germans. All others were killed or wounded. He himself was responsible for killing 40 Germans, silencing six machine gun nests, and caring for the wounded. Later he was wounded and received the Purple Heart. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor from General Mark Clark.

The October 1945 issue of National 4-H Club News announced that Col. Creighton W. Abrams is now home in triumph in Agawam, Massachusetts. Abrams was a 4-H’er for several years, raising baby beef. During the war he served as tank battalion commander with Gen. Patton’s army. [Later, as a U. S. Army General, Abrams commanded the military operations in the Vietnam War from 1968-1972.]


 

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