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Life Member Newsletter

Saturday, December 1, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Tom Davis
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NAE4-HA Life Member Newsletter 

Download the PDF Life member newsletter winter


NAE4-HA Conference Nov. 3-7 2019

Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

In This Issue...
From Your NAE4HA President, Tony Carrell, Indiana
From Your Life Member Newsletter Editor, Tom Davis
2019 NAE4HA Conference, West Virginia, Life Member Program Update 
Next NAE4HA Conference Dates and Locations 
From your NAE4HA Archivist, Betty Gottler, Alabama 
Traveling Retirement's Highways and Byways, Melody Taylor, Texas
Life Member Award Winner, James Kemp
Interested in Supporting the Life Member Award?
What are Life Members Up to?
NAE4-HA Memorials, Celebration of Life

From NAE4HA President, Tony Carrell, Indiana

The NAE4-HA board of trustees is thrilled to see the excitement among life members at the annual conference.  It is great to know your desire to stay engaged with the association too.  Life members have worked tirelessly to improve communities by developing strong leadership skills in youth and adults involved in the 4-H youth development program.  At the same time, life members have helped make NAE4-HA the professional development association it is today by mentoring young professionals. 

Just as life members have been an asset at the national level, I hope the same is true within your state.  If you feel there has been a disconnect within your state association with life members I encourage you to reach out to the state president to discuss ways life members can be engaged and helpful to working professionals.  If you are not sure who to contact, I will be glad to help connect you to the president.

I wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season!  Those traveling this winter, have fun and stay safe!!


From Your Life Member Newsletter Editor, Tom Davis, New York

As always it was great seeing many of my fellow life members at the national meeting in Columbus.  I

also find that even after being retired for 7 years seeing the enthusiasm in current staff for the 4-H

profession is contagious, exciting and leaves me feeling assured about the future. So many new initiatives mixed with traditional focuses!  I remember sitting with a younger group of educators at

lunch (okay, so most of the current staff are younger…..I get it!) and listening to their stories of successes and challenges.  It brought a smile to my face…..many of my best ideas “growing up” in my

4-H career were ones I had learned from colleagues at conferences.  Some things don’t change.  My connections to the Association played a tremendous role in my career and I’m pleased that I can stay in touch with so many and count many retired and current colleagues as genuine friends.    In retirement

I have found it important to set goals for the next stage of my life.   Besides personal goals, one of my priorities has been to continue to be of service to the 4-H cause.  As I read what other Life Members are doing I see that I am not alone in that goal.  Having 4-Hers come up to me and smile and say “wow”

when we launch their rockets, having 4-H parents say thank you for helping with our new fairgrounds fundraiser and having staff appreciate my efforts at whatever level …..I admit it ….it sure feels good! 

You know…maybe it means even more to me now that I’m retired ….time has certainly allowed me to reflect more on the meaning and value of 4-H work.   Soooooooo I encourage you to do two things:

help where you can in 4-H and share with us your efforts.  You can send me what you’re up to at htd2@cornell.edu


 2019 NAE4HA Conference Update – West Virginia

The Greenbrier is a family-friendly, world-class resort and is a National Historic Landmark.  Known as “America’s Resort”, the Greenbrier has hosted 27 U.S. Presidents, royals, celebrities, and business leaders from all over the world.  The Greenbrier is in White Sulphur Springs, WV and direct flights are available from Dulles and O’Hare to the Greenbrier Valley Airport, which is 20 minutes away (there will be a shuttle services available). The Roanoke Airport, which is 90 minutes away and Yeager Airport in Charleston, which is two hours away are other options and shuttle services will be available as well. As for housing options, they include single rooms, double rooms, suites, and even cottage rentals or estate homes if are traveling with a few colleagues or your family. Individuals will want to travel to the conference over the weekend of November 2nd and 3rd.  Seminar-on-Wheels start on the morning of Sunday, November 3rd and the conference will be in full swing on Monday morning, November 4th with seminar sessions #1 at 9 am. The conference ends on Thursday evening following the awards banquet, but there will be some additional seminar on wheels on Friday, November 8th that you can partake in before heading home. Room rates apply 3 days pre and post conference based on availability, so we invite you to arrive early and/or stay late to enjoy the Greenbrier and surrounding area. Mountains of Opportunities await you in West Virginia in 2019!

Next NAE4HA Conference Dates and Locations


From your NAE4HA Archivist, Betty Gottler, Alabama - A Look Back at NAE4-HA History

JUST WHEN AND WHERE DID 4-H BEGIN?    Do any of these names look familiar?  Liberty Hyde Bailey, Cornell University NY; Albert B. Graham, Springfield Township, OH; O. J. Kern, IL Agricultural Experiment Station; Jasper L. McBrien, NE; J. F. Haines, IN, Cap C. Miller, IA; G. C. Adams, GA; Seaman A. Knapp, USDA.     At some point, all the above men, and many other men and women gave leadership to the beginning practices of youth involved in agriculture and home science.  4-H: An American Idea 1900-1980 by Thomas Wessel and Marilyn Wessel combines a rich history of agricultural, 4-H, the roots and expansion of helping rural America profit.

But just where did 4-H begin?  The following excerpt is found on the Ohio 4-H website.  https://ohio4h.org: 4-H began in Clark County, Ohio. On January 15, 1902, Mr. Albert Belmont Graham, the superintendent of the Springfield Township Schools at that time, organized a meeting with some thirty boys and girls in the county courthouse basement. The intent behind the meeting was to learn more about harvesting corn, planting a garden, testing soil samples, tying knots in rope and identifying natural wildlife such as weeds and insects. Eventually, the group came to be called the "Boy's and Girl's Agricultural Club" with their research continuing well into 1903. Prizes were given to recognize the efforts of all the members in executing projects based upon the previously mentioned areas.

Given the success of Graham's "out-of-school education program," the Ohio State University created a plan to aid in the club's research through the use of the Agricultural Experiment Station and the College of Agriculture. In time, the Ohio State University's influence helped to establish additional youth agricultural clubs throughout Ohio. By 1905, there was over 2,000 youth within sixteen counties partaking in similar programs to that of the "original" Agricultural Club. Proving extremely successful in his practices, Graham accepted the position as Superintendent of Extension for Ohio. Once in office, Graham set the following concepts, which form the basis for the Ohio Cooperative Extension Service:

  • To elevate the standard of living in Ohio
  • To emphasize the importance of hard work and habits of industry which are essential to building a strong character.
  • To acquaint boys and girls with their environment and to interest them in making their own investigations;
  • To give the boys who shall become interested in farm work an elementary knowledge of agriculture and farm practices and to give girls the essential facts of domestic economy;
  • To educate adults in the elementary science of agriculture and in the most-up-to-date farm practices;
  • To cultivate a taste for the beautiful in nature;
  • To inspire young men and women to further their education in the science of agriculture or domestic science.

Becoming an 'ambassador' for agriculture through Extension, Graham sought "to raise the standard of rural life. He stressed the dignity of hard work and sound character, and he taught that agriculture could be improved by applying the ideas of science." In 1916, fourteen years after the first courthouse meeting, the Ohio 4-H organization officially began with the establishment of the Department of Boy's and Girl's Club Work.

With the roots for 4-H deeply rooted within Ohio, the 4-H program has since spread to all fifty U.S. States and internationally to more than eighty countries around the world. However, Ohio is proud of its early 4-H heritage and of the fact that the Ohio programs are one of the largest in existence today. 4-H is no longer only for members of the farming community but extends into the suburbs and inner cities all over America. Membership is open to all youth between the ages of five and nineteen. Members are welcome, regardless of cultural, economic and social backgrounds. Therefore, even with the many changes in society today, Graham's basic aim for 4-H remains the same: "The development of youth as individuals and as responsible, productive members of the community in which they live."

Where do you believe that 4-H began?  Looking forward to hearing more stories about the beginnings of 4-H in your state.  Please send notes to Betty Gottler gottlte@aces.edu or to Tom Davis htd2@earthlink.net   We will keep you updated!!


 Retirement's Highways and Byways – Melody Taylor, Texas

I was asked to write about my travels. What you first must understand is that growing up as a rancher’s daughter……we rarely traveled. Our family travels took us to visit family and 2 trips to Georgia to visit an Army buddy of my Daddy’s from World War II.

Now with that being said, when I began my career as a 4-H Extension Agent I had opportunities to travel with the 4-Hers. I was in heaven and fell in love with traveling. Why we traveled all over the Great State of Texas! So, that brings me to the part about going to my first NAE4HA meeting in Mobile Alabama.  What fun we had, complete with a Mardi Gras party and first time ever to try raw oysters. I tried three times and three different ways ….Mountain Oysters yes….raw Oysters…NO.  I have not attended every NAE4HA conference since Mobile but all the meetings I have attended were the best! Great friendships, forging the state

4-H connections, new inspiring ideas, new sights to see and most importantly gaining knowledge of seeing things through a “different lens”. What? A “different lens”?  Meaning that traveling to different places in the state, in the United States and across the waters East and West, has been the greatest gift of all. Seeing how others eat, solve “day to day” problems and take care of their natural resources in different ways, helped me be more open and tolerant of others.

My 4-H experiences have taught me many things and with those things enabled me to have many opportunities to travel. I continue to look for opportunities to travel. See places I have never seen and travel back to places that I love. Plan a road trip, boat trip or plane trip…just take a trip or two this year.  I know that it can be concerning after watching the news or reading on the internet about the bad things that are happening. We’ve got great wonders to be seen in our world. Go forth and take a chance. You will not regret it! What is that saying? “ What if I Fall? Oh, my Darling, What if You Fly?”

I may be retired but I will not become stagnate! How about you? Let's travel! What do you say?!

Editor's Note We know some of you have had some terrific travel experiences out there….camping, amusement parks, cross-country journeys, and national parks!   How about you share with us your secrets, tips, and suggestions!  Articles don’t have to be long!  Please send them to Tom Davis, htd2@cornell.edu.


 2018 NAE4-HA Life Member Award Winner - James C. Kemp

James C. Kemp went to his first NAE4-HA National Conference in 1951 when his county 4-H agent took him there.  This was when Jim was a delegate to the National 4-H Club Congress.  NAE4-HA was held at the same time and place as National 4-H Club Congress.  In 1956, as a Colorado 4-H Agent, Jim started attending Conferences every year.  He attended over 40 National Conference.

He served on various National Committees.  He presented seminars.  He was a guest speaker at a South Regional luncheon.  Jim served as Vice-President, President-Elect, and National President.  Jim served on a committee to rewrite the NAE4-HA By-laws to be more inclusive which helped with the desegregation of the 350-member organization.  In 1988, he helped host the Minneapolis NAE4-HA conference, served as a greeter, host for seminars, help host the Past President’s breakfast.  He received a plaque for continuous support of the Association at the 40th Anniversary of NAE4-HA.

Jim was active in the Minnesota Association of Extension Agents.  He served as President and as a contact for NAEA in talks of unionizing the Minnesota Agent staff.  He chaired the Minnesota Extension Faculty Consultative Committee.  Jim served three years on the ECOP Committee for Agent Associations.  He becomes the first county staff to chair the group.  Jim received a one-year National 4-H Fellowship for study at the USDA in Washington DC.

Since retiring, Jim has attended eight National Conferences.  He helped host the second NAE4-HA Conference in Minneapolis, where he was a greeter, host for seminars and meals and helped with planning the Past-President’s breakfast.  Jim was instrumental in setting up scholarships for First Time Attendees at the National Conference.  He made a presentation to the National Board and approached the Life Members to gain support for the Fund.

Since his retirement, Jim has judged 4-H projects in leadership, gardening and community service at county fairs and the Minnesota State Fair.  He volunteers to host the Minnesota 4-H Foundation booth at the State Fair.  The Minnesota 4-H Foundation conducted a statewide fundraiser with Jim volunteering in the Foundation office to process the paperwork.

Jim coordinated the Minnesota 4-H Ambassador program for five years.  The James Kemp 4-H Ambassador Endowment Fund gives grants to teens for community service projects.  Family and friends started the Fund to honor Jim.

In 2009, James C. Kemp was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame.  James C. Kemp received the NAE4-HA Life Member Award in Columbus, OH on October 8, 2018.  Thank you for your lifetime commitment to NAE4-HA and the 4-H Family.

Interested in Supporting the Life Member Award?

When we present the Life Member Award at the National Conference we also give the winner a check for $500 to help cover their expenses of attending the conference.  Each year we have supported this award with donations from life members.  Interested?  Tax-deductible donation checks can be made out to NAE4HA Activity Fund, attention: Betty Johnson, National 4-H Council, 7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase, MD, 20815 and in the memo section put: NAE4HA Life Member Award donation.


 What Are Our Life Members Up To?

What are you doing in retirement?  One of the goals of the Life Member Committee is to allow for connecting with friends made over the years.  Let us know (within 4-5 lines) what you have been up to in your retirement.  I am sure that you would all love to hear from those you might not have heard from for years.  Please send these to Tom Davis, htd2@cornell.edu.  Here’s who I’ve heard from lately!

 Annette Devitt, New Jersey - I retired January 1 of this year. My retirement plan was to start a weaving and art studio. I found a space to rent in May and by August I had a grand opening for Home Coming Art Studio. I call it a working and teaching studio. I have been doing my weaving and watercolor painting there. I have people come in and teach some classes and I taught 12 people to weave. You can check out details about the studio at my website - www.homecomingartstudio.com. I also managed to take trips to Vermont to paint, Massachusetts for a niece's wedding, and a couple trips to visit family in Ohio.

 Jeff Holland, Indiana – Jeff has been giving piano lessons to “youth” age 6-92 at a music store in Bloomington, Indiana.  He has anywhere between one to 10 students. He teaches ONLY one day a week and teaches beginners through intermediates piano. Besides his committees that he serves on, he has done the most work in the criminal justice area, working on juvenile diversion and community corrections projects.

 Travis Burke, North Carolina - My time has been spent predominantly as a community college board of trustee member, part-time work at NC State University in admissions and scholarships, judging some livestock shows, doing a few speaking engagements (after dinner and leadership events) serving as an instructor for a week-long leadership college summer training and in my spare time farming on the family farm. Some hiking, camping, and travel along the way on occasion.

 Joe Yedlik, Iowa – I retired from my position as County Extension Director in 2015, but have remained active on the state board for the Iowa Section of NAE4-HA. I am still actively involved with the local county fair as well as serving as superintendent for the 4-H Horticulture Department at the Iowa State Fair. I am on the board of directors for the Association of Iowa Fairs and have completed Certification in Volunteer Fair Management through the International Association of Fairs and Expositions and currently serve as an adjunct educator for their Consumer Protection Program. I still enjoy traveling with our motorhome which includes tailgating at the Iowa State University football games.

 Royce James, Georgia – I retired in 2009 after 30 years as a County Agent in Bibb County, Georgia.  I  serve on the GAE4-HA Board as Life Member Chair and as a County 4-H volunteer.  A few of my most enjoyable pass-times involves playing golf and basketball, a workout at the Health Club, motorcycle and horseback riding, dancing and taking short excursions.  I’m a member of the men’s ministry and male choir at church, occasionally substitute teaches and volunteer in the county school system, and, a devoted and active member in my fraternity’s civic and service programs.  A more personal endeavor has been weekly classes to learn “Detroit Style Urban Ballroom Dancing” with the Middle Georgia Ballroom Dance Connection.

 Betty Gottler, Alabama - First of all, it amazes me that I retired on June 1, 2012.  I returned to the Alabama county where I spent most of my 4-H Extension career.  I found lots of things to do.  On most Monday’s, I volunteer to host the reception desk at THE BURLESON CENTER in downtown Hartselle.  It was the first school property and changed many times in educating young men and women.  Now it is a fine arts center that has shows of local artists.  It is also a rental for weddings and receptions, family reunions and birthdays.  On Wednesday and Thursday, I am at Annunciation of the Lord Catholic Church in Decatur working with families who have called the St. Vincent de Paul hotline for help.  The emergency food pantry opens on Thursday morning to families needing meals and help. And my heart will always be with 4-H. 

 Mary Jean Craig, Idaho - Despite some health issues this year I was able to continue to be actively involved as a 4-H leader leading Cloverbuds, Sewing and Quilting.  I also am a member of the local quilt guild, teach Sunday School and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren, who are all in 4-H, two of them in projects I lead.

 Jon Irby, National Program Leader (from Margaret) - Please know that Jon Irby passed away August 4, 2017.  As you May know - Jon was a national program leader for 4-H. 4-H was very important to both Jon and me -and Jon is missed!

David Sorrell, Oklahoma -  I retired from OSU in August of 2017 then accepted an assistant high school principal job.  That was not as much fun as being a 4-H Educator so I retired from that in August of 2018. My wife and I are my parent’s caregivers. My wife Regina is Marshall County 4-H food science leader and I continue to coach 4-H and FFA livestock judging teams.  We are enjoying the grandkids.

Julie Adamcin, Arizona -  I retired in 2007 and spent a lot of my time volunteering at my church developing a feeding program for the homeless. A few years ago at a lunch with the acting state leader, I was asked to serve on the 4-H Foundation Board. We discovered that without a director for 10 years, our foundation was on autopilot with a board of 4. I have recruited 3 other Extension retirees to help lead a rebuilding campaign and we are now moving forward and supporting our new state leader with our insight and contacts.

Dave Hillmann, New York - I have been retired for about 14 years. After I retired from Cooperative Extension I went to work part-time for our local Agway. I did a lot of different things there including using my 4-H background to answer poultry, embryology and plant questions. It was a blast. I now have an oversized garden and sell some vegetables at a small roadside stand. That's my main interest now. I really enjoy it. I am happiest when I am home. Mary and I have 8 grandchildren. 3 in Minnesota and 4 here in Altamont. Unfortunately, we lost our oldest grandson to a car accident a year ago.  We have lots of contact with our local grandkids and enjoy every minute of it. Life us good.

James Kemp, Minnesota  -  I would like to thank you all for the honor of the National 4-H LIFE MEMBER AWARD given to me at the NAE4-HA national conference held in Columbus, Ohio this year. I was very humbled by it.


 NAE4-HA Memorials, Celebration of Life

During the National Conference, NAE4-HA Members who have died over the past year, are remembered for their service to families and youth through the United States.  The following persons were recognized in 2018 in Columbus, OH.

Thomas Atkins, New York

Rose Mary Bergman, New Jersey

Miles Brashier, Louisiana

Dr. Harold Brown, Maine

Alfred Carlson, New Jersey

Clarence Bunn, North Carolina

Josephine Clark, Utah

William Clayton, North Carolina

Harold Darden, Georgia

Marian Fisher, Georgia

Jane (Taylor) George, West Virginia

Arlene Gray, Connecticut

M.C. Howell, North Carolina

Leslie Huber, Wisconsin

Marlo Rex Meakins, Colorado

Gary St. Anfre, Nebraska

Bill Tedrick, Michigan and Ohio

Monika Teninty, Idaho

National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals


701 Exposition Place, Suite 206 | Raleigh, NC 27615 | T: (919) 232-0112 | E: contact@nae4hydp.org