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Memories of the First National 4-H Conference
In March 2012, the National 4-H History Preservation leadership team discussed how we might help recognize the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act creating the Cooperative Extension Service. It was decided that developing and implementing a 4-H Oral History project in cooperation with the states would be our contribution to the centennial. We would work through the states in having current 4-H members interview via audio or video recording previous 4-H members, staff, volunteers and supporters about how 4-H made a difference in their lives. The project is named "Voices of 4-H History."
Tom Tate, Kendra Wells, and Jim Kahler representing the leadership team, co-chair the Voices of History 4-H History Preservation program team.
"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, one of the authors of the Smith-Lever Act - 1914.
Overview of Project
The Voices of 4-H History project aims to increase public awareness of the Cooperative Extension Service and its 4-H Youth Development Program during the 2014 centennial of the Smith-Lever Act that established Cooperative Extension.
A goal of the Voices of 4-H History project is to collect information on audio or video recordings that reflects personal and community-based 4-H history and illustrates the program's richly significant story.
Getting different perspectives on history in order to tell the entire story involves asking many different people to share their treasured memories.
4-H Oral History Project to Commemorate Founding of Extension
The general public will learn about one of the nation’s best kept secrets: the national, state, local, tribal Cooperative Extension Service 4-H partnerships, extending the Power of Youth across the generations for the past 100+ years.
In 2012: Project will be announced and initiated Initial partners and sponsors confirmed Initial local communities identified and initial project outline agreed to Communities and youth recruited and training conducted Initial test counties conduct pilot oral history interviews Evaluation of pilot approaches Tested process and procedure amended based on evaluation findings and loaded on servers for access by local communities.
In 2013, training will expand into new markets, more interviews will be conducted, and the results will be shared at the local, state and national levels. In 2014, the captured histories will be available through various media and online; the true history of Extension and 4-H will be told directly by participants.
We need you!
For further information and to provide your input/feedback on this idea as well as your interest in participating in a pilot test, please contact: Tom Tate at Tateace@AOL.com or the Voice project team at Voices@4-HHistoryPreservation.com
Join the National 4-H Oral History Project
A special opportunity is being created by the National 4-H History Preservation team beginning in the summer of 2012. The 4-H Oral History Project seeks to increase public awareness of the Cooperative Extension Service and the 4-H Youth Program as a part of the 2014 Centennial Year Celebration!
How it Works:
Why a 4-H Oral History Project?
How Can You Get Involved?In 2012 we are looking for pilot sites to conduct local 4-H Oral History Projects.
By 2013 we hope that all states and territories will sign on to conduct a local 4-H Oral History Project to create audio and video interviews that can be share in 2014 as a part of the Extension Centennial Celebration! Stop by the 4-H History Preservation exhibit at the 2012 NAE4-HA Conference in Orlando, FL to learn more.
For more information...
If you would like more information on the National 4-H Oral History Project, please see the 'Hands-On' 4-H History section.
If you are willing to be a pilot state for conducting 4-H Oral History interviews
in 2012, please contact us by E-Mail at
Voices of 4-H History Start-up Kit
Based on many requests and ideas coming from the pilot states, the 'Voices' team is putting together a "Start-up" kit.
This kit is an On-line, Table of Contents linking to Voices of 4-H History tools that are availble for state and local history teams to download and, where applicable, print for their use. The kit will be updated as items are added, so please be sure to check back regularly.
Start-up Kit Contents
Voices of 4-H Extension Print Media
How to Plan and Conduct Oral Audio and Visual History Interviews
from "Hands-On" 4-H History section, National 4-H History Preservation website.
Oral History Possibilities and Where to Find Them
There probably are many candidates for good oral history interviews right in your own community. Ask your parents, your club leader, or the county 4-H agent for suggestions. The personal stories of 4-H experiences you can find in your own community enhance the history of 4-H in your county.
If you want to be a little more adventuresome, here is a listing of some other possibilities for consideration.
4-H Alumni Recognition Winners
Former 4-H'ers were recognized and honored
nationally for many years annually at National 4-H Congress in Chicago.
Complete list of these winners can be found at:
State 4-H Alumni Winners
Your state 4-H office may have a list of state winners and know how to locate both state and national winners representing your state.
National 4-H Hall of Fame
Each year, a select group of Hall of Fame laureates are recognized for their lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H. This is a program of the NAE4-HA. A complete listing may be found on the NAE4HA website at http://www.NAE4HA.com/hof/.
State 4-H Hall of Fame winnersYour state 4-H office may have a list of state winners and know how to locate them.
National 4-H Presidential Winners
For nearly 70 years the top boy and top girl in the 4-H Achievement,
Citizenship and Leadership programs nationally were recognized at National
4-H Congress in Chicago... 4-H's top awards. For most of these years the
awards were given in the name of the President of the United States.
Listing on history website.
Your state may know how to locate winners who represented your state who may still be living.
IFYE and other International Exchange Program Recipients
The IFYE Association website, has a listing of state contacts for the IFYE Association. Your state 4-H office may be able to suggest 4-H alumni who participated in international exchange programs.
State 4-H Collegiate 4-H Organizations
Ask your state 4-H office for possible contacts of past or present 4-H'ers who may have been active in your state 4-H collegiate group, if you have one.
Participants in National 4-H Events
Ask your county agent or state 4-H office for suggestions of past 4-H members, volunteers or staff who attended a national 4-H event - National 4-H Camp, National 4-H Conference, National 4-H Congress, Citizenship Washington Focus, Volunteer Leader Forums, Salute to Excellence, National 4-H Dress Revue (Fashion Revue), Regional 4-H Engineering Events, National 4-H Dairy Conference, National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest, National 4-H Science Day... or others.
National 4-H Fellowship Program
The 4-H history website has a section on this program which was
offered nationally for nearly 40 years providing opportunities for dozens
of young women and men to expand their education and career
opportunities... particularly in Extension. The section provides a live
link to the history book of the program which includes a complete list of
participants. Ask your state 4-H office for assistance in locating former
4-H fellows from your state.
National 4-H Report to the Nation Team
Ask your state 4-H office if your state ever had a representative on the National 4-H Report to the Nation Team and if they could be located now.
Current and Past State 4-H Staff
Work with your state 4-H office in selecting candidates from your state's 4-H office, or retired staff, who would make a good interview subject, particularly relating to specific programs or activities they may be responsible for or as a representative on a national development committee or national event committee. Consider fair chairmen, camp counselors and 4-H foundation directors and 4-H donors, as well.
There are all kinds of people with different 4-H experiences; and, they all have a story to tell!
Introduction to the 4-H History Preservation Program
Voices of 4-H History Power Point Presentation for Pilot States90-Second PPT of Historical 4-H Images Used at NAE4-HA Orlando
"Collection Manual & Oral History Interviewing Guide for 4-H Youth, Leaders & Staff" by LuAnne Kozma, Michigan State University. 2002
Judging Criteria for 4-H Voices of History DocumentariesComplete judging criteria may be found at...
Assistance from National 4-H History Preservation Team
The National 4-H History Preservation team will be happy to assist
4-Hers in the planning and research stages of your film as a resource for
locating or providing historic documents, photos and artifacts whenever
possible. Contact the Voices of 4-H History program team at:
Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.
The 4-H Name and Emblem are protected by 18 USC 707