4-H honors Lane County leaders in youth development

March 28, 2008

CORVALLIS, Ore. - 4-H, the youth development program run by Oregon State University Extension Service, honored nine Oregonians for their work in helping Oregon's young people develop skills for life.

These nine people were inducted into the Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame, recognizing their volunteer work with young people across the state, in projects ranging from horsemanship to computer programming.

"The Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame honors individuals who have had a significant impact providing opportunities for personal growth and increasing social and technical skills to youth between kindergarten and 12th grade," said Helen Pease, OSU Extension's 4-H youth program coordinator.

A 2006 study published by Tufts University researchers concluded that 4-H clubs are among the most effective youth development organizations in the nation to develop positive influences in the lives of youth.

Focusing on five characteristics that indicate a positive response to individual and social interactions — competence, confidence, connection, character, and compassion — the Tufts study found that many community-based programs contribute to one or more of these characteristics, but only 4-H clubs contributed to all five.

OSU's 4-H programs are backed by university research and delivered by trained volunteer leaders, according to Roger Rennekamp, director of the OSU Extension 4-H program. "The programs engage youth over time, from kindergarten to college, developing in complexity as the individual grows up.

"If we are concerned about sustainable communities, we must include youth as our future citizens and leaders," he said.

The latest inductees to the 4-H Hall of Fame have encouraged a positive relationship between youth civic engagement and thriving individuals, according to Rennekamp.

For example, Marjorie Edwards of Lane County was a major player in both the Lane County and statewide 4-H programs for more than 20 years, serving on the Oregon 4-H Advisory Council and Oregon 4-H Leaders' Association Executive Council. She served as a member of the Oregon 4-H Foundation where she provided expert information on youth development and needs for the future during a time of growth for the foundation.

Another Lane County inductee to the 4-H Hall of Fame, Kathleen Huston served as a 4-H club leader for nearly forty years and still serves as a resource leader today. She has been involved with the countywide 4-H Leaders Council and Home Ec and Camp committees. She coordinated many foods contests and fashion reviews over the years and helped to develop a curriculum that is used in foods and nutrition projects for Washington, Oregon and Idaho. In addition, she served on state project development committees, helped with project trainings, served as a 4-H fair superintendent and helped with the state 4-H fair. Kathleen is a favorite all-purpose static judge for 4-H and open class fairs across the state, judging food contests, food preservation and presentations.

Author: Peg Herring
Source: Helen Pease, Roger Rennekamp