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National Organization of Boys and Girls

Early in 4-H history there was a nationwide organization of boys and girls formed, representing nearly every state, with national officers and a commitment to promote boys and girls club work and assist leaders in starting more clubs, strengthening club leadership and helping with the youth demonstrations at the International Live Stock Exhibition and the tours at the December events in Chicago. Selim Seeber, a teenager from Waupaca, Wisconsin, who was elected third vice president of the group, stated "when all the club members were present at the hotel, they voted to form a national organization to represent the boys' and girls' clubs of the United States. The leaders from each state were requested to select a boy or girl from their state as candidates for the various offices of the new organization... Club work is a fine thing and it is becoming more organized each year. It encourages the breeding of better stock, the planting of the best seed obtainable, and how to take care of such things to obtain the best results."

It was in December 1921 - during the Boys and Girls Club Tour (later to be known as National 4-H Club Congress) - that the National Organization of Boys and Girls was formed at the International Live Stock Exposition.

The following account of the announcement of the new organization appeared in the February 1922 Farm Boys and Girls Leader.

On Thursday, at the International Live Stock Exposition, two delegates, a boy and a girl, were selected from each state to form a national organization of boys and girls club members. These delegates met and elected the following officers:

- President, Joseph Caputo, Iowa
- First Vice-President, Roscoe Kuhn, Ohio
- Second Vice-President, Adele Davis, Indiana
- Third Vice-President, S. A. Sieber, Wisconsin
- Secretary and Treasurer, Helen Noxen, North Dakota

This organization will cooperate with state and local leaders in arousing club spirit at home and in helping organize more clubs. They will tell their friends and members all about the International trips. During the year a permanent constitution and by-laws will be worked out by the association with the cooperation of national and state leaders and the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work. Club members can help thru this organization by giving their leaders greater support and assistance in putting over the club program. Photo of officers and further information will appear in the March number.

The following delegates were selected, and other states will be asked to appoint two delegates to complete the representation in each state:

State Delegates:
- North Carolina - Virginia Stroupe, Lowell; Earl Shannon, Castonia
- Minnesota - Edwin Neeb, Winona; Virginia Scanlon, Belview
- Arkansas - Magness McDaniel, Magness
- Mississippi - Wilburn Russel, Raymond
- Kentucky - James Ramsy, Carrollton
- Wisconsin - S. A. Sieber, Waupaca; Eva Warocu, La Crosse
- Kansas - Jack Elliot, Monrovia
- Tennessee - Ann Clay, Oakland; Bethel Thomas, Jackson
- South Dakota - Charles Sayre, Brookings; Jeanette Owsley, Aberdeen
- Illinois - Alfred N. Smith, Aledo; Leota Schenck, Niota
- Michigan - Sidney S. Phillips, Charlotte; Agnes Martin, Charlotte
- Iowa - Joseph R. Caputo, Marshalltown; Margaret Dougherty, Eldredge
- North Dakota - Helen S. Noxon, Luverne; Herbert S. Warner, Milner; Elizabeth E. Smith, Campbellville
- Ohio - Roscoe Kuhn, Shelby; Eva Smith, Shelby
- Indiana - Donald Stout, Yorktown; Adelle Davis, Liston
- Pennsylvania - Walter E. Frettz, Masontown
- Wyoming - Lea Ganguet, Cody
- Montana - Thos. Dawson, Glendive

The lead article on the front page of the March 1922 issue of Farm Boys and Girls Leader featured the new organization:

National Organization of Boys and Girls
Message From the Officers to Club Members and Others

During the International Live Stock Exposition, a national organization of boys and girls was perfected as announced in the last number of the Leader. One of the important objects of the national organization of boys and girls is to fit its members for greater leadership, enable them to assist state and local club leaders in handling the demonstrations, exhibits and other phases of club activities at the International Exposition at Chicago, and build up the junior department. A temporary organization has been formed at Sioux City for the interstate organization at that point and is known as the "War Eagle 4-H Council." In 1922 other organizations will be effected. Boys and girls, club members and others are taking a prominent part in the production of food and feed and in community life. As members of standard clubs they are receiving most efficient training. The club meetings teach them how to express themselves, how to conduct meetings and how to become leaders in their community.

These club champions after they graduate from the junior work will become and are becoming members and leaders in farm bureau organizations. They have learned the importance of farm accounting thru keeping records of their club projects. They have learned the importance of wise investments and know how to figure profits and know when they sustain a loss. They are meeting the call to produce more economically, efficiently, and are laying the foundation for real business farming.

Nearly every club member has a bank account, has learned the value of thrift, knows how to save money and has already established credit with his or her local banker.

In response to our requests for photographs of the officers, stories of their trip to the International, and a message to club members and other readers, we are glad to devote this page to this splendid movement.

Joseph R. Caputo of Iowa, President, Sends Greetings

In thinking over plans for strengthening our national organization and promoting club work, I think that it would be a good plan if all of us boys and girls would try to get as many new members to join club work as we can. I think, too, all the boys and girls should subscribe to the Farm Boys' and Girls' Leader so that they will be able to keep track of what each is doing. I think we ought to collect and distribute publicity regarding achievements and the results of our club work, so that we can get other boys and girls interested in club work and incidentally show the grown people that our club work brings results.

Last year there were representatives from twenty-six states at the International Livestock Show. Let us try and have all states in the Union represented at the International this year. If you ever get the chance to go to the International I know that you will say that your trip has been of inestimable value to you. You can ask any of the boys or girls who went to the International last year and they will tell you the same thing. I made my second trip last year.

In 1920 I thought I had a very good time, but I had a still better time last year. It would be an inspiration to anyone to see the fine cattle, horses, sheep and hogs at this great show. It was also very interesting to watch the judges do the judging. There was a very good grain exhibit in the grain hall. They had a mammoth ear of corn which was made of sixty bushels of corn and stood thirty feet high. It was called the `Farmer's Dream' and I guess it was, too.

We also went thru the packing houses, the Board of Trade, McCormick Harvester factory, the Art Building and many other places of interest. I hope the rest of you boys and girls will get a chance to go to the International this year. I know that if you do your club work well it helps `make the best better.' I started club work in the fall of 1917 feeding a baby beef. I did not do very well the first year as I did not get placed at all at any of the fairs. But I decided to get a better calf the next year and feed again. This time I came out on top as I got first in my class at the Iowa State Fair and Reserve Champion. In 1920 I fed two baby beeves and raised a litter of purebred Poland China pigs. I won first at the Iowa State Fair with my Shorthorn calf and third with my Angus calf. I also showed the first prize litter of pigs at our county fair. Both in the pig club and open classes.

Club work has taught me the habit of perseverance, without which we cannot accomplish anything. It also has taught me the value of good feeds and feeding. It has taught me how to pick out a good baby beef and how to select good pigs. It has taught me my vocation in life, and I have decided to go to college at Ames and then back to the farm. Club work helps to make boys and girls interested in farming and makes us want to stay on the farm.

From the First Vice-President, Roscoe Kuhn, Ohio

I am no superhuman in boy form, just because I was elected Vice-President of this National Organization of Boys and Girls. I have never accomplished anything exceedingly great in this work, but I have done something that I consider is very important and absolutely necessary in every day life. I will leave this to the reader to grasp from my story of my experiences.

I have never been State Champion, although that was my ambition last year and is now. I started in club work in 1918 when I secured a red Shorthorn heifer. Remember, this was my start and I won tenth place at my county fair. The next year I entered the pig club, secured two big boned type Poland China boars. I was ninth place that year. In 1920 I entered both calf and pig clubs with a little more experience and club spirit. I won fifth in calf club and first in pig club, also being third choice for state pig club champion. I entered again, the pig and calf club this year, 1921, and with my club spirit running a little higher than in preceding years I showed my pig at the state fair, where he won second place for me and a month later when I showed at the county fair I won second in pig club and second and fifth in calf club. I also won first in judging beef cattle at the state fair.

These have been my club achievements, and with them some honor, as I call it. When I started club work I was a little cog in this great machine, hardly noticeable in our community, but with what little mechanical advantage I had I helped to make things turn over and helped round things into shape until in 1920 I was elected president of our club and in 1921 was reelected. Now we have a greater honor, that of Vice-President of this organization.

I tell these things not to boast, but to show others what they can do if they stick to club work with the great club spirit which you cannot help get if you start in the right manner. And what I want to bring out in this little sketch of my experience is to show that you can work from a little standing in your community to a reasonable place in national work.

What club work has done for me cannot be told in this column but what it has done for me can be done to everyone two-fold by the National Organization, that is, it will bring all boys and girls from different parts of the United States into closer contact and the ideas of one state which include the boys and girls will be transferred to other states. It will help to get more business men and organizations interested in club work which will probably mean more and better trips to the International.

I want to take this opportunity, to thank the boys and girls of the United States engaged in club work for the honor they gave me by electing me Vice-President of this great organization. Good luck to all! Yours to `make the best better, Roscoe Kuhn, Shelby, Ohio.

Adelle Davis, Indiana, The Second Vice-President Writes

I have been in organized club work the summers of 1919, 1920 and 1921. During this time I have taken the baking club project twice, sewing twice, home keeping twice, canning twice, butter and cheese once, health once, calf and poultry once. In 1921 I was local leader of a sewing club, finishing my club one hundred percent and meeting every requirement of the Indiana Standard Club. I have, in club work, not only learned to make the products and keep strong, raise calves and chickens, but have also learned to judge each, and to demonstrate their making. I have won two first state prizes and two thirds, besides numerous county and local prizes. I have won in these prizes, two trips to the State Boys' and Girls' Club Round-up at Purdue, a trip to Indianapolis, Chicago, Madison, Wis.; Racine, Kenosha and Milwaukee, given as state prizes in 1920, one trip to the International Livestock Show, besides $112 in money.

Club work has been educational to me, having taught me to talk in public, and seeing many places of interest. It has helped me to meet hundreds of people, aided me financially, and I have greatly enjoyed it. It is developing the boys and girls into more valuable, capable men and women.

I feel that our national organization is a great and valuable undertaking. It can help our national senior club officers in carrying out the program they have planned, can promote club work alone, and help bring about a great national club round-up in connection with the livestock show, in future years. Adelle Davis, Lizton, Ind.

The National 4-H History Preservation team has not been able to locate any 1923 issues of the Farm Boy and Girls Leader, and since the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work did not start publication of the national magazine, National Boys and Girls Club News until later in 1924, no additional information is available on this effort by boys and girls to start a national organization in support of boys and girls club work (i.e. 4-H). What happened to it? We would like to know, and probably some of you reading this section would, also.

Anyone who has information is urged to contact us at:

Principal author: Larry L. Krug

Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

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