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4-H Quotes
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The following quotes are what people have said about 4-H over the decades. Some relate to personal experiences; others speak of 4-H in general... and the impact it has had on society. While there are literally thousands of significant quotes referencing the values of 4-H, we have attempted to document some that seem relevant to the times, in addition to the variety of attributes expressed. Other quotes will be added as they come to our attention.




 
1914

One of the authors of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 establishing the Cooperative Extension Service: "One of the main features of this bill is that it is so flexible as to provide for the inauguration of a system of itinerant teaching for boys and girls. My efforts to secure the passage of the Smith-Lever Act had the most encouragement from the achievements of the members of the corn and tomato clubs, and I hope sincerely that a large share of this money will be devoted to an expansion of the work with young folks." - Congressman A. F. Lever, South Carolina.


1924

"I wish to express my appreciation of the splendid service rendered by the boys' and girls' clubs working under the supervision of the extension department of our agricultural colleges. I have had a very excellent opportunity to observe the effect of this work during the past couple of years and I am confident that no program in the interests of a sound agriculture gives greater promise today than does the boys' and girls' work. It is essential that we should reach the men and women of the future. If they become convinced that by intelligent diversification and a well balanced program of agriculture the welfare of our various communities and states will be served, then we may rest assured that the highest type of agriculture will be secured. It is my sincere wish that boys' and girls' clubs may rapidly increase in number and in size and that this effective form of education may be permitted to transform and improve economic and social conditions in our various communities." - R. A. Nestos, Governor, State of North Dakota. 1924.


1924

"Club Work is capable of application everywhere. I know of nothing that means more for our agricultural interests or our national interests as a whole than this Boys' and Girls' Club Work There is opportunity for adult leaders for real constructive work in giving boys and girls vision for the future." - D. H. Otis, Director of the Agricultural Commission of the American Bankers' Association. 1924.


1925

"In my estimation the Boys'and Girls' Club movement is the greatest movement for progress in civilization of the past century. Now, boys and girls, I do not say that for the purpose of trying to please you. I say it because I believe it. I say it because I have traveled over the United States from one end to the other, and I want to say to you that more progress has been made as a direct result of this boys' and girls' work in taking new methods to the farm and to the home than was ever accomplished before." - Perry G. Holden, Field Director, Agricultural Extension Department, International Harvester Company, speaking at the 1925 International Harvester Co. banquet at National 4-H Congress. (Dr. Holden was the first professor of agronomy in the United States and a national leader in promoting the use of hybrid seed corn.)


1927

"Probably no activity is of more importance to the future standing, prosperity and social position of agriculture than the Boys' and Girls Farm Clubs. Their activities warrant the belief that they will greatly aid in the solution of many of the problems of farm life, and it gives me very great pleasure to accept the Honorary Chairmanship of the National Committee on Boys' and Girls Club Work" - President Calvin Coolidge. 1927


1927

"I regard the 4-H work the most important and significant development in agriculture in recent years." - Frank O. Lowden, 1927. (governor of Illinois, presidential hopeful; member National Committee on Boys' and Girls' Club Work)


1928

"The economies in producing agricultural products at a less cost including the conservation of soil fertility, are the foundation of future agricultural prosperity. It is my judgment that more progress is being made in this line through the activities of the Boys' and Girls' Club Work than through any other channel." -Alexander Legge, President, International Harvester Company. 1928.


1928

"The chief trouble with agriculture is that the farmers are not putting into practice the best methods which the Agricultural Colleges have discovered. Believing that the quickest method of bringing into practical, everyday use, the best methods of agriculture, as demonstrated by our colleges, is through Boys' and Girls' Club Work. I would rather, today, invest in endowment of the Boys' and Girls' Club Work than in Agricultural Colleges." - Melvin A. Traylor, President, First National Bank, Chicago. 1928.


1928

"The results accomplished by these boys and girls lead me to believe that more of the energy of the extension forces may well be directed to work with them. The present enrollment can be materially increased if the energies of the extension forces are concentrated on the selection and training of local leaders. The 4-H Club work is such an efficient agency in training for rural citizenship that we should have little difficulty in obtaining the required number of adults to organize and direct the work properly. Of the 5,000,000 boys and girls who have been enrolled in 4-H Clubs since 1914, a million more should be available as a source from which leaders may be selected... Most effective work in the improvement of farm and home practices and the upbuilding of rural communities can be done through increased club membership provided with earnest and enthusiastic local leaders." - C. W. Warburton, Director of Extension Work, 1928


1928

"Agriculture is the basis of prosperity in our nation, and it must be placed and continued on a sound and economic basis, and I know of no better way toward gaining this end than by enlisting the best thought and effort of the young people in our rural communities." -- Thomas E. Wilson, Chairman, National Committee on Boys' and Girls' Club Work. 1928


1929

Sir Thomas Lipton Praises Clubs. "I was very glad indeed to have an opportunity of taking a part in recognition of the winners of the trophies, both of whom I most heartily congratulate on their success," writes Sir Thomas Lipton from Middlesex, England, upon his return from 4-H Congress in Chicago. Sir Thomas expressed a desire to be permitted to assist the 4-H club movement in the future. February, 1929


1929

"I am heartily and enthusiastically a supporter of every sound policy that improves the Boys' and Girls' Club Work, not only as undertaken by our Agricultural Colleges, but every agency that brings to the boys and girls of the open country a vision of the opportunities for service in rural life." - L. J. Taber, Master, National Grange. 1929


1929

"The farm boys and girls of today must be depended upon to properly represent agriculture tomorrow. 4-H Club Work is doing more than anything else to develop them to carry this burden. It should be extended to reach many thousands of farm boys and girls." - Sam H. Thompson, President, American Farm Bureau Federation. 1929


1931

"The most important movement in agriculture today is that of 4-H clubs. With the guidance and supervision of the agricultural colleges and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, rural youth of the highest type is rediscovering the opportunities of agrarian pursuits and the advantages of country life. I expect to continue to lend my support, both public and private, to the advancement of 4-H clubs." - Arthur Capper, U.S. Senator, Kansas, (co-sponsor of the Capper-Volstead Act and Capper-Ketchum Act. 1931.


1931

"I can thoroughly indorse 4-H Club work as the outstanding agricultural movement in the United States for the training of rural boys and girls." Horace H. Moses, President, Strathmore Paper Mills and donor of the 4-H Moses trophies. 1931.


1931

R. A. Pearson , president of the University of Maryland and chairman of the executive committee of the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities stated in 1931: "The land grant institutions are realizing more and more that 4-H club work is a training school in rural achievement and leadership. During only a few years this branch of extension work has grown to be of major importance. Though the movement is still young, some of the first members who are now in colleges or are adults in other environments give much of the credit for their success to the instructions and discipline that they received when they were in active club work."


1931

"Out of the maze of governmental bureaucracies which are burdening our nation with accessive taxation, one activity at least should be preserved. I refer to the 4-H clubs administered by the agricultural colleges, the department of agriculture, and supported by private citizens." - Melvin A. Traylor, President, First National Bank, Chicago. 1931.


1934

"I was down to the Los Angeles Livestock Show, and I saw these hundreds of farmer boys that had fattened and cared for a calf, or pig, or sheep, themselves. It's a thing called the 4-H Club. Somebody was inspired when they founded that. It's all over the country. By golly, they are a great bunch of kids, and they have some fine stock." - Will Rogers, 1934.


1936

1936 Republican nominee for President, Governor Alf M. Landon, told an audience at Marshalltown, Iowa that "4-H clubs mean a better citizenship in the future," also citing a richer community life, higher health standards and better cooperation as benefits of the 4-H movement.


1946

"I congratulate the leadership of the 4-H program for the forward-looking and significant goals you have set for the years ahead. The 10 Guideposts, as your charter for the future, should serve well for building the kind of programs through which young people can make their biggest contribution to peace. From what I know and have seen about 4-H, I am sure that young people, if given the right opportunity, will attack the problems of peace as enthusiastically and successfully as they did those of war. That's why I want 4-H work to move forward. That's why I want every boy and girl in America to share its privileges. That's why I am proud to have had a part in sponsoring the Bankhead-Flannagan bill, which Congress so enthusiastically passed last year." - U. S. Senator John H. Bankhead, Alabama, 1946.


1946

"The 4-H Clubs believe in and practice the full development of our talents. They believe in physical and mental health. Beyond this there is an underlying creed of honesty of purpose. These objectives and practical projects make the 4-H Clubs a tremendous influence for the betterment of our country." - Fred M. Vinson, Secretary of the Treasury, 1946.


1947

In his address before the Western States Extension Conference in Corvallis, Oregon in 1947, President A. L. Strand of Oregon State College states: "In 4-H Club effort lies our best assurance of worth-while and lasting results of all Extension work."


1948

"I am of the opinion that 90 to 95 percent of the progress that has been of lasting benefit in the development of Extension work has come because of 4-H Club work. The reason for this is clear. Today a very high percent of our Extension volunteer leaders are former 4-H members. A high percentage of your younger farm men and women are also former 4-H Club members. This training has resulted in a higher quality Extension volunteer leadership." - Chief J. L. Boatman, Division of Subject Matter, Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (from a letter written to the editor of National 4-H News, from February 1948 issue.


1948

"I consider the work of the 4-H Club in building character one of the finest undertakings in all America." - Albert S. Goss, Master, National Grange. April 1948.


1949

In a speech at the 1949 meeting of the National County 4-H Club Agents Association, A. G. Kettunen, Michigan State Club Leader, quoted a Danish representative's view of the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work... "We have had club work for 20 years, but this is the kind of an organization we need to support the program." Kettunen added his own testimonial, "The most significant thing which has happened in the history of 4-H Club work was the organization of the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work in 1921."


1949

January 26, 1949. To the 4-H Clubs of the United States. "World peace is the main goal and most cherished hope of this Nation. Peace is something as intangible as the minds and souls of mean and women. When you mold and develop your minds and souls for good citizenship and useful living, as you are doing in 4-H Club work you are makers of the peace. As one who helped organize one of the first 4-H Clubs in my State, I congratulate you on your theme for this year, "Better Living for a Better World." May that theme become increasingly significant during your 4-H Club Week, March 5-13, and throughout the year. The things you grow and the jobs you do in Learning by Doing all add up to more skilled farmers, better homemakers, more useful citizens and more able leaders. These, in brief, are what make for better living and a better world." Signed: Harry S Truman.


1953

"There is no program dearer to my heart than that of the 4-H Club. It has my unqualified support because it is based on the real American way of life, predicated upon the importance of work and dedicated to the advancement of society through the education of the individual" - Gov. Herbert E. Talmadge, Georgia, upon being selected a national 4-H Alumni winner in 1953, the first year the program was offered.


1959

"We hope Danforth Court will become a significant place in this beautiful establishment. We hope it will challenge and inspire and dare those who visit here to set high goals of living and to achieve those goals. A better America will depend almost entirely upon a better and more dedicated American youth leadership. - Donald Danforth, President of the Danforth Foundation at the first dedication of Danforth Court, National 4-H Center, Chevy Chase, Maryland. June 16, 1959.


1959

"I like 4-H'ers because they are dedicated to excellence; they want to do things better... Next thing I like about them is their examples to other young people. they lead us to greater dedication to our country. They are, by their work, indeed, making this country a better one... As long as we have young people of these characteristics, devoted with their hearts and their heads and their hands and their health to doing these things, America cannot be anything but successful." President Dwight D. Eisenhower, at the 1959 dedication of the National 4-H Center.


1971

"4-H is the action-oriented, practical, learn-by-doing program that helps young people learn how to make a living, how to make sound judgments and how to become good citizens of their community and their country. Relevance is a much over-used word in these times, but I cannot think of a movement that could be more relevant than that. I am proud to be a part of such a program." Blaine J. Yarrington, President, American Oil Company, upon becoming chairman of the National 4-H Service Committee in 1971.


1976

"Wherever you go throughout the U.S., you will find that American agriculture and 4-H are still alive and well in our communities. 4-H is one of the finest examples of the positive impact that can be made through the partnership of federal government, private industry, and individual supporters." Omer G. Voss, Vice Chairman of International Harvester Company and Founding Chairman, National 4-H Council Board of Trustees. 1976.


1978

"Mr Kellogg had an enthusiastic interest in young people. He was convinced that `education offers the greatest opportunity for improving one generation over another.' Quite properly, he--and the Foundation to which he gave his fortune--saw 4-H as an effective means of serving that purpose." - Russell Mawby, President, W.K. Kellogg Foundation 1978.


1983

Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, speaking to the Conference for Youth on Drinking and Driving, held at the National 4-H Center on March 26-28, 1983, described 4-H as the "greatest out-of-school youth education program in the country".


1983

During the taping of the Chemical People special at the White House on October 24, 1983, Nancy Reagan made a statement about 4-H involvement in the area of drug and alcohol prevention: "During my travels since the March 1, 1983 kickoff of Chemical People, I have visited many cities and programs throughout the United States. During these visits I have observed many 4-H members and volunteer 4-H leaders working to solve this nation's drug and alcohol problems. The President and I are deeply grateful for this commitment and encourage you to continue to provide this outstanding leadership."


1983

"4-H is about building better citizens, teaching values and developing the skills necessary to leading a good and profitable life. And it doesn't matter if you're from a farm environment or from a big city. 4-H worked for me and I've continued to work for it." - Orville Redenbacher, California. 1983 Alumni Winner


1983

"We consider 4-H a sound investment in today and tomorrow. Our dollars are multiplied many times when we consider the time and effort of the 600,000 volunteers who give time and skills to help young people. and we know from long experience that the learn-by-doing methods of 4-H result not only in development of valuable skills but also in the development of sound judgment and understanding of the free enterprise system." - L. D. Thomas, President, Amoco Oil Company. 1983.


1984

In speaking to a group of Citizenship-Washington Focus teens in 1984, U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, North Carolina, stated: "There is no way to estimate the value of your leadership. You are the central core of a great program that has the effect of an ever widening ripple that will last for generations."


1984

"Building responsible citizens is a basic goal of the entire 4-H program. We are proud to support a program which stresses the responsibility of each individual to interact with others in building a stronger America." - Donald R. Keough, President, The Coca-Cola Company. 1984.


1986

"4-H... for what it teaches young men and women is one of the greatest organizations that we have today that deal with young people... with all the problems that our young people face." - Dr. James E. Martin, president, Auburn University and 1986 National 4-H Alumni winner.


1986

"I'm not aware of any youth program anywhere that contributes more to the training for future leadership and to give constructive activity to young people than 4-H" - Joseph "Joe" Robbie, General Manager and Owner of the Miami Dolphins and 1986 National 4-H Alumni winner.


1990

"The 4-H experience has many ramifications that relate to career life. It focuses you to make decisions - from which project you are going to tackle to how you are going to accomplish it. The research and skill development plus the time and study and rehearsal required to make a presentation or demonstration all have application to the world of work. From concept to implementation, 4-H builds your confidence and ability to tackle the larger problems of real life." - Harold A. "Red" Poling, chairman and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Company, and chairman of National 4-H Council Board of Trustees from 1984-1988. Poling was a 1990 National 4-H Alumni Winner.


1990

Clayton Yeutter , Secretary of Agriculture - "4-H really gave me my start in life. The heart of 4-H is values - especially people values," he says. "Until I started showing beef cattle, I had no exposure outside an area of 10 or 12 miles. County and statewide 4-H competition made me realize the broader world," the former U.S. Trade Representative to the Reagan Administration said. Yeutter was a 1990 National 4-H Alumni winner.


1995

"You know, if every kid in the inner cities in this country belonged to 4-H, we wouldn't have much of a crime problem..." - President Bill Clinton at Montana State University, May 31, 1995.


2010

"I was carried in a peach basket to the Delaware State Fair," Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said, recalling a childhood memory as he addressed a statewide gathering of 4-H volunteers during a forum Saturday, January 23, 2010 in Felton, Delaware. "That was my first exposure to 4-H."





If you are aware of a 4-H quote you feel should be considered for this section on the 4-H History Preservation website, please send it to: Info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com






Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.


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