Houston County’s 4-H clubs are celebrating the county’s 4-H program’s 100th anniversary this year.
Houston County claims 100 4-H clubs in 100 years. Further, at one time, there were approximately 30 clubs in Houston County with 800 members.
Each year 4-H clubs submit their Treasurer book, Secretary book, and Historian book, which are evaluated by Extension’s award committee. The top three clubs are recognized for being the most active and involved within the County. Houston County’s Honor Clubs are the Houston County Sharpshooters, Newhouse Norsemen, and Silver Creek Rustlers.
“4-H is always having new experiences and being able to learn about new projects and getting to hold different positions in my club,” shared Amelia Torgerson, senior at Houston High School, and president of Silver Creek Rustlers.
The traditional 4-H club pledge recited at every club meeting creates the foundation for all the club’s activities:
“I pledge… My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service and My Health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”
Club members spend the year planning and participating in their club’s monthly meeting. Many hours are clocked by 4-Hers preparing to showcase their projects at the Houston County Fair. Winners at the County Fair are eligible to show at the Minnesota State Fair. Club members also work together as a team volunteering in their community. Fundraising is an important activity for clubs as the money raised allows members to attend regional and national events.
Favorite community service activities of the Newhouse Norsemen, the county’s second oldest club, were sewing 24 pillowcases for the Children’s Miracle Network, serving food on Friday night at Spring Grove’s Festival of Trees, volunteering for Meals on Wheels, and picking up trash along the club’s Adopt a Highway section they have maintained since 1991.
Houston County Sharpshooters explain, “We are a club of multiple ages who learn from each other and have fun doing so. Sharpshooters are actively involved in their community and work as mentors for other youth. Many members are involved in numerous projects such as Shooting Sports, Horse, Goat, Swine, Dog, Chicken, Arts & Crafts, Photography, Demonstrations, Flower Gardening, Vegetable Gardening, Grains, Robotics, Animal Science, 4-H OWLs (Outdoor Wilderness Leadership & Service) program, Federation Officers (three members are 2019-2020 Federation Officers), Teen Exchange, participate in booth building, banner, working the breakfast at the 4-H food stand during the fair, attended State Fair and State Shoot. Senior Trap Team placed 5th in State!”
The Silver Creek Rustlers have been working hard to Make the Best Better, the 4-H motto. Naturally, the members’ favorite yearly event is the Houston County Fair, where members showcase their work. Other favorites are the annual Christmas caroling at Heritage Court and making Christmas cards for the residents, the Mini Fair at Valley View Healthcare and Rehab, and running the Relaxation Station at Houston Holidazzle, crafting Easter cards for the Minneapolis VA, ringing bells for the Salvation Army, grocery shopping and donating food to the Houston Food Shelf, and making a Community Pride project at the County Fair.
“My favorite memory is going to the State Fair,” expressed Sydney Torgerson, Silver Creek Rustlers.
Guiding forces behind these successful youth are Houston County Sharpshooters leaders Rikki Witt and Bill Niebeling, Newhouse Norsemen leaders Hope and Trent Turner and Lynn and Aaron Solum, and Silver Creek Rustlers leaders Becky Carr and Joalyn Torgerson.
This year’s fundraising activity raises necessary funds for Houston County 4-H clubs when it has been challenging to hold face-to-face fundraising events. The clubs are selling memorabilia in celebration of the program’s 100th anniversary. Go to z.umn.edu/100-year-items and place your order for Houston County 100th Anniversary merchandise, long and short sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, pottery mugs, 4-H utensil crocks, and bag clips.
The county’s 4-H clubs are looking forward to the next 100 years of 4-H in Houston County! For more information about the Houston County 4-H program, contact the Extension Office at (507) 725-5807.
Photo: Houston County Sharpshooters are actively involved in their community and work as mentors for other youth. Their senior trap team place 5th in State.