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4-H in Clay County
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Clay County Information
County Government Information Day
Visit the Clay County Fair on Friday, July 11, 2008, and learn more about your county government offices. Meet departmental staff. Join us on July 11th from 1-4 pm at the Clay County Fair in Barnesville, Minnesota.
The History of 4-H in Clay County
Clay County's 4-H clubs date back to 1914 when the Ulen 4-H Club was organized. Margaret Lofgren of the Ulen Club was the state champion bread baker in 1914. Margaret was one of three 4-H'ers in Minnesota to win a trip to Washington, D.C. in 1918. R. E. Duddle, Superintendent of the Ulen School, was the 4-H club leader for seventeen years.
In 1916 the nucleus of two present clubs was formed in Barnesville. Three men, George Whalen, Mr. Trovaten and J. H. Eldridge were very active and helped with club work.
In 1933 this larger club was divided into two smaller clubs - Humboldt and Prairie View. Humboldt is still an active club today.
In 1934 Ardes Shulstad of the Prairie View Club was named clothing champion in the county and the state's 4-H style queen at the State Fair. She was called "Miss 4-H Minnesota" and also attended the National Club Congress in Chicago.
In 1915 a 4-H club was started in Glyndon. C. A. Robinson was the first active leader. This club was established with the cooperation of the Glyndon Public School and teachers were often the leaders.
4-H club work in Clay County was active until 1922 when it lapsed for twelve years before the work was reinstated in 1934. Evelyn Bierbaum was hired as the first club agent and remained for two years. However, during the time that Clay County was without an agent, club work in the county continued under the direction of state leaders in Extension.
In 1933-1934 Clay County had over 1000 4-H members, second only to St. Louis County. The position of Extension Agent for 4-H was discontinued in 1937 and reinstated in 1947. In the years when there was no full-time agent, summer assistants were hired to help with the 4-H program.
4-H Round-Up was started in 1934. C. I. Evenson, a Moorhead businessman, was the first chairman and remained in that capacity for about 25 years. The Round-Up was first held in downtown Moorhead. In 1959 a new 4-H building was built near the Red River. C. I. Evenson felt that the Round-Up should have a building and he was instrumental in getting that project going. That building was sold and in 1972 a new facility was built in Centennial Park in Moorhead. That building was also sold and recent Round-Ups have been held at the fairgrounds in Barnesville. In 1988 a sales arena was built between the cattle barn and the sheep barn.
In 1960 a new 4-H exhibit building was constructed on the fairgrounds in Barnesville and in 1974 an addition was built on the west side of the origianl structure.
Opportunities other than project work are provided to 4-H members. One-act plays became an important part early in the history of 4-H club work. Share-the-Fun was started in the 1950's and continues to be a popular activity. The Community Pride Program encourages members to be involved in community service. International exhchange programs with Finland, Japan, Costa Rica, Norway, the Soviet Union and other countries give 4-H'ers the opportunity to learn about the world around them. 4-H camps, Expressive Arts Activities and Interstate Exchanges also continue to be popular.
Today the traditional 4-H club membership in Clay County is holding steady at about 400 members. Does the decline mean that 4-H is dying? NO! True, enrollment in community clubs was greater twenty years ago than it is today; but 4-H is no longer strictly "clubs". Today's 4-H program is: Short-term enrichment programs like Alcohol Decisions in which 4-H trained teens teach grade school youths to make responsible decisions about alcohol and other drugs. Or our Youth Health Day when 500 teens from Clay and Cass Counties participated in a day of workshops addressing critical health issues like stress, depression and suicide, eating disorders, dating relationships, self-esteem, teen pregnancy, steroid use and more. Or another new exciting 4-H program, Pr
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