Local News: 11th Annual 4-H Meeting Has Strong Attendance Saturday Afternoon (7/19/22)


The Vernon County Fairgrounds Diner was filled with 4-H alumni during their 11th annual reunion Saturday afternoon at the Vernon County Youth Fair.

Photo by Sarah Haney | Daily Mail Editor

The Vernon County 4-H alumni held their 11th annual meeting Saturday at the Fair Diner at the Vernon County Fairgrounds.

Occupying almost every seat, the restaurant was filled with 4-H members from many generations – past and present. The meeting is an opportunity to recognize select 4-H members for all they do to support Vernon County youth, and select 4-H clubs and programs are invited to share information about their activities and accomplishments.

At this year’s meeting, several 4-H alumni were recognized, including those who received the Missouri 4-H Century Family Award. The award, sponsored by the 4-H Foundation, recognizes families who have been involved in the 4-H program for a long time. Missouri 4-H families with a combined total of 100 or more years of membership and/or volunteer service are eligible for recognition. Only direct line family members are applicable (children, parents and grandparents).

Five Vernon County families were recognized at the reunion with the Century Family Award. They included the families of Renee Hampton, Jennifer Thomas, Twila Earll, Deb Metcalf and Harva Miller.

At the meeting, multigenerational 4-H families were also recognized. This distinction went to families with three or more generations participating in 4-H, with at least one generation being in Vernon County.

Jenise Burch received the Naomi Crouch 4-H Volunteer Leadership Award from the Missouri 4-H Foundation and received a certificate at the reunion.

The Missouri 4-H Foundation established the Naomi Crouch 4-H Volunteer Leadership Award in 1990 to recognize outstanding volunteers and organizations that have made significant contributions to 4-H youth. The award is named for Naomi Mohler Crouch in remembrance of her dedication to the youth of Missouri. Crouch served as a director and president of the Missouri 4-H Foundation and was a parent and volunteer in Clay County.

Each year, two individual volunteers and one organization are selected by the Missouri 4-H Foundation to receive the award. Applicants must have a minimum of five years of volunteer service with Missouri 4-H and have made an impact on the Missouri 4-H program. Burch was selected as one of two people from Missouri State to receive the award. A monetary award of $250 will be presented by the 4-H Foundation to GROW (Goal Reward Opportunity Work Ethic) in Burch’s honor.

Jenise Burch (left) receives the Naomi Crouch 4-H Volunteer Leadership Award, presented to her by Thabena Bower (right).

Photo by Sarah Haney | Daily Mail Editor

For more information regarding the Missouri 4-H Century Family Award, contact Vicky Albright ([email protected]) or Phyllis Sprenkle ([email protected]). To be recognized as a Vernon County Multi-Generational 4-H Family, contact the 4-H Alumni Group at [email protected], or “Vernon Co 4-H Alumni” on Facebook.

The GROW program was also discussed at the meeting. The goal of the program is to increase the number of exhibitors and conference registrations by judging non-breeding related projects. It is sponsored by Vernon County 4-H Alumni. To achieve its goal, the program offers $25 gift cards or gift certificates to exhibitors selected as GROW winners by the judges at the conference.

The GROW committee funds gift cards and certificates to local businesses using donations from local Vernon County Youth Fair supporters. The program offers exhibitors the opportunity to support and work with a local business to grow in their project area. For more information about the GROW program, contact Deb Ernsbarger at (417) 684-4933.

Timeline of 4-H in Missouri and locally

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Land-Grant College Act, which established agricultural and mechanical arts colleges in every state. Following this in 1914, 4-H started in Missouri. University extension was created, which led to project clubs such as corn, clothing, and livestock.

In 1919, 4-H started in Vernon County. A Bronaugh banker funded a calf club and purchased 40 head of Holstein cattle, taking personal notes from 25 girls and boys. Over the next decade, interest in 4-H clubs fluctuated, with the number of clubs increasing from 1 to 25, while the number of members increased from 25 to 146.

In 1927, “project clubs” officially became 4-H clubs. The 4-H promise, emblem and motto were adopted. County clubs started at the following times:

• 1937 – Rinehart 4-H

• 1938: 4-H of the city of Schell

• 1940 – 4-H walker

• 1943 – Clayton 4-H and Milo 4-H

• 1945—Bronaugh 4-H

• 1947: West Point 4-H

• The Vernon County Youth Fair began in 1946

Vernon County 4-H alumni log on for reunion Saturday afternoon at the Vernon County Youth Fair.

Photo by Sarah Haney | Daily Mail Editor


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