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Report To The Nation
Annual Report to the Nation Teams
The National 4-H Report to the Nation Program was first initiated in 1950. The intent of the program was to utilize a team of outstanding 4-H members as spokesmen for the 4-H program with important national officials and presenting them with a volume describing 4-H achievements during the previous year - hence, “the Report to the Nation.”
Each year a special "Report to the Nation" book was produced. It was visual, most pages containing a photo with caption. It could be quickly read... or scanned. Reporters often used the book as talking points in meeting with a VIP and then gave them the book.
As described in the history, 4-H: An American Idea 1900-1980, “The reporters - who usually got good coverage, particularly at the White House - were themselves representative of the new emphasis in 4-H. The team was integrated in 1962 and its members soon represented the diverse geographic and program elements in 4-H. The teams proved so popular that many states organized their own reporters to make similar tours on the local level.”
The Report to the Nation program went through major alterations in 1965. Instead of selecting six team members to serve as 4-H reporters (primarily during National 4-H Week), l1 reporters were chosen to serve throughout 1965, and the following years it would be either 10 or 11. Also, rather than limiting their activities largely to Washington, D.C. and one other key city per year, the 4-H’ers now would be assigned to smaller teams to appear at numerous events in various parts of the country.
In the mid-1970's a change was made with the 4-H Report to the Nation team being selected from delegates to the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C. rather than at National 4-H Congress in Chicago.
Since the very beginning in 1950, the Conrad Hilton Hotel contributed financial support for the operations of the Report to the Nation program. At that time the Conrad Hilton Hotel, in Chicago, was the flagship hotel of the Hilton hotel chain and the world’s largest hotel. It was also the “home” to National 4-H Congress each year, as well as a number of other 4-H meetings and events. Consequently, management became very interested in 4-H club work and showed this support through the sponsorship of the young reporters. Often, when the team traveled to other cities, they resided at other hotels in the Hilton chain. This sponsorship by the Conrad Hilton Hotel apparently continued on to the conclusion of the program in the 1990's.
Starting in 1969, J. C. Penney Company joined the Conrad Hilton Hotel as a supporter of the 4-H Report to the National program.
Caption: Conrad Hilton (fourth from left), president of the hotel corporation bearing his name, is shown with Dwight Walker, New Mexico, 4-H Reporter; Robert F. Quain, general manager, Conrad Hilton Hotel; Linda Lou Gould, Indiana, 4-H Reporter; and Merry Jo Stewart, Colorado, 4-H Reporter during 1959 National 4-H Week. (from National Committee Comments March 1959)
Information is scant for the decades of the 1970's and 1980's however the 1985 listing of private sector support for that year for National 4-H Council lists The Conrad Hilton Hotel and Exxon Company as donors of the “National 4-H Ambassadors.” It is probable that some where during the early 1980's the Report to the Nation program was transformed into the National 4-H Ambassadors program. This seems extremely likely since one of the donors of the 1985 program is the Conrad Hilton Hotel. The listing of private sector support in 1986 for the 4-H Ambassadors program was Reader’s Digest and Exxon Company. The 1987 Council Quarterly lists the donor of the National 4-H Ambassadors program as only the Reader’s Digest Foundation and in 1989 lists the Reader’s Digest Foundation and Extension Service, USDA.
But interestingly, the 1990 listing of donors of private support to National 4-H Council for this program lists the Reader’s Digest Foundation and the Chicago Hilton and Towers (formerly the Conrad Hilton Hotel) and Extension Service, USDA. This same trio is listed in the 1992 National Incentives and Recognition Handbook arranged by National 4-H Council; hence, the Hilton hotel apparently came back as a donor of this program in 1990 and stayed until the program was disbanded, probably in 1993 or 1994.
Over the years the 4-H Report to the Nation teams indeed made their presence known in dozens of major cities in the U.S., met and discussed 4-H with hundreds of VIPs including U.S. Presidents, State Governors, U.S. Senators and Congressmen, mayors of large cities, major corporate executives and presidents of national associations, stars from the entertainment and sports worlds, and more. The rigorous screening process for candidates of each year’s Report to the Nation team ensured that they represented some of the very best that 4-H had to offer... they were ambassadors, they were spokespersons, they were proud and dedicated 4-H’ers just telling their stories.
Team members for a particular year were selected during the week of National 4-H Congress in Chicago during the December of the proceeding year.
For the first several years the top boy and top girl in Achievement, Leadership and Citizenship comprised the 6-member team. Although it may have varied slightly for some years, some time during the mid-1950's a rigorous interview process was put into place. Usually 12 national Achievement winners, 12 national Leadership winners, and two national Citizenship winners were interviewed to be on the next year’s Report to the Nation team. From this already-distinguished group, six were selected.
In 1965 the team was expanded to 10 or 11 members. Whether the “pool” of candidates in the interview process changed, or not, is not known. Additionally, when the selection process for Report to the Nation moved from National 4-H Congress in Chicago to National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1970's the selection of candidates for the interview process is not known.
While the 4-H reporters were a team, the planning and operations of the program was also a total team effort between 4-H Extension, USDA; National 4-H Service Committee and National 4-H Club Foundation. The leadership and staffs of these three national players were all strongly committed to the success of the National 4-H Report to the Nation Program. National donors of the Service Committee and Foundation often played host to the reporters in major cities where their corporate headquarters were located and State Extension Services assisted in arranging reporting agendas.
Each year of the Report to the Nation Program had its own unique qualities. As a part of this history, an attempt is being made to accurately identify the members of each team and to document their experiences. The National 4-H History Preservation leadership team is also attempting to locate as many of the reporting team members as we can and to get their first-hand stories to incorporate into this documentation.
As reported in the January 1951 NATIONAL 4-H NEWS magazine, the first “Report to the Nation” team had one singular assignment... to present the 4-H Report to the Nation to President Harry S Truman.
This first year, the official team was comprised of the six top winners at National 4-H Congress - the top boy and top girl in Achievement, Citizenship and Leadership, accompanied by the four 4-H’ers serving on the Advisory Council on Youth Participation for the White House Conference on Children and Youth.
Immediately following the close of the 1950 National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago the group headed for Washington, D.C. for a meeting on Tuesday morning, December 7 in the Oval Office.
The first Report to the Nation team show President Harry S Truman the silverware presented to the National 4-H Achievement winners annually in the name of the President of the United States. Shown with the President, are from left: Eileen R. Curtis, New York; Mary Jenet Elder, Indiana; Donald Brozovich, Colorado; Carolyn D. Smith, North Carolina; Kent Loving, Virginia; Porter Lee, Jr., Oklahoma; Jack McDowell, Jr., Minnesota; Phyllis V. Bowe, Minnesota; DiAnne Mathre, Illinois and Don Bowman, Tennessee. (Photo from the front cover, January 1951 National 4-H News)
The group calling at the White House, which also included representatives of the Federal and State Extension Services, Stevens Hotel and National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work (later National 4-H Service Committee), was presented to President Truman by Clarence J. McCormick, Under Secretary of Agriculture. In his remarks, the Secretary pointed out that the four children in his own family all have been enrolled in 4-H Club work in Indiana.
Porter Lee, Jr., boys’ Achievement winner, as spokesman for the group, gave the President a handsomely bound and gold-lettered book entitled, “4-H Report to the Nation.” The book highlighted the achievements of 4-H Club work during 1950. President Truman expressed pleasure with the splendid work which has been accomplished by the 4-H Clubs during the past year, and with the training the 4-H program is providing in developing future leaders.
The delegation was pleased to see on the President’s desk the 4-H paper weight which was presented him in March following the 1950 National 4-H Club Week Breakfast.
Trip expenses, including attendance at the Mid-century White House Conference on Children and Youth, were provided by the Stevens Hotel (re-named the Conrad Hilton Hotel the following year) for the six national winners and their chaperons, Edna O. Troth of Indiana, Leonard L. Harkness, Minnesota and L. R. Harrill, North Carolina.
Robert F. Quain, Manager, and Paul Valentine, Director of Human Relations and Personnel, of the Stevens Hotel, accompanied the delegation to the White House and were hosts at a luncheon following at the Mayflower Hotel.
Like in 1950, immediately following National 4-H Congress in Chicago, the six top national winners in Achievement, Citizenship and Leadership headed for Washington, D.C. where they presented the “Report to the Nation” at the White House. The team spent December 1-4 touring Washington and calling on Under Secretary of Agriculture Clarence D. McCormick, Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, J. Edgar Hoover of the F.B.I., and federal Extension officials.
Wherever the 4-H team went, people spoke well of the program. Mr. Hoover commented on the citizenship value of 4-H work and Mr. McCormick expressed the feeling that 4-H Club training is invaluable in the development of young people.
How did these 4-H’ers react to this high praise? Wayne Schultz said: “I was greatly impressed by many things here in Washington, but I think the most important was the action of the people we met. Everyone seemed impressed by 4-H work in general and recognized its vital contribution.”
Following are some excerpts from “A 4-H Report For the Nation” for 1951 as prepared by Gertrude L. Warren, Organization of 4-H Club Work, Federal Extension Service:
“The great National challenge of 1951 was centered in helping to build America’s agricultural might...
The 4-H Clubs responded with a 14 point 4-H Defense Mobilization Program highlighted by the theme ‘Working Together for World Understanding’...
The work of the local volunteer 4-H leaders in this country, under the devoted supervision of county Extension agents, is proving a large factor in helping youth the world over ‘to lift themselves by their own bootstraps’ in keeping with the principles of self-help and ‘learning to do by doing.’”
Like in 1950 and 1951, the top winners in Achievement, Leadership and Citizenship at National 4-H Congress in 1952 became the reporting team, however unlike the two previous years, rather than going to Washington, D.C. to present the Report to the Nation in December, immediately after Congress, the report was not presented until during National 4-H Club Week in the spring of 1951. For this reason, the six winners technically served as reporters for both years 1952 and 1953.
Arthur B. Heiberg, Associate Editor, National 4-H News, authored a 2-page feature spread on the 1953 Report to the Nation activities in the May 1953 issue:
While club members and leaders around the country wer acquainting their communities with 4-H work, a special privilege fell to six young men and women who had been honored as national winners at the National 4-H Club Congress last November. They were to travel to Washington during National 4-H Club Week to advise President Dwight D. Eisenhower and distinguished public officials on the state of 4-H affairs.
The 4-H’ers were: leadership representatives William a. Davis, Jr., Valdosta, Georgia and Marlene C. Hutchinson, Lincoln, Nebraska (who substituted for Coralie Mullins Brown of Rogers, New Mexico); Citizenship winners Francis Pressly, Stony Point, North Carolina and Adrian Short, Chipley, Georgia; and achievement winners Rollin Shoemaker, Denver, Colorado and Carolyn S. Crumm, Alfalfa, Oklahoma. All were Washington guests of Conrad Hilton, hotel magnate.
They were scheduled to arrive in Washington on a Saturday, see the city, appear on radio and television programs, present a panel discussion at a special Club Week Breakfast and turn over a “4-H Report to the Nation,” the story of 4-H accomplishment, to President Eisenhower on their four-day stay.
From the standpoint of official Washington, the breakfast stole the show. One of those present, Congressman Hugh Alexander of North Carolina, indicated this when he later wrote that he considered it a great honor to be invited as it impressed him with the fine work that the 4-H program is doing with young folks.
Included in the 165 guests were cabinet members, congressional leaders, USDA and Land-Grant College officials and farm organization representatives. Carolyn acted as toast-mistress; the other five served as a discussion panel. Carlton Ernst, 4-H’er from Clear Spring, Maryland gave the invocation and Sandra Walter, Danville, Indiana played the electric organ during the meal and later accompanied soloist Janice Anzulovic, College Park, Maryland.
J. P. Schmidt of Ohio State University led the five 4-H’ers in he panel discussion which described the influence of 4-H on their own lives and family living. Marlene Hutchinson, for example, said that 4-H was a tradition in her family. Her mother and father first met at the Club Congress in 1928, both attended National Camp and both now lead clubs. Seven members of her immediate family are 4-H members; her grandfather is a leader, and aunts, uncles and cousins are all in the work.
Enthusiasm of these young people for 4-H, the story of their accomplishments - and they are many -the spiritual understanding that all have developed, told listeners a powerful story of the impact of club work on the lives of members.
Francis Pressly closed the panel with an impromptu talk about 4-H in his own life, saying that: “4-H teaches the things that constitute th heart of the home - love, kindness, hospitality, justice, ideals, work and responsibility. My parents and I have been brought closer together in a common interest. We have worked together to make our home more beautiful and livable...
While living with the farmers in Italy (as a member of the International Farm Youth Exchange) in an attempt to promote good will and understanding, I helped to correct distorted ideas about our country and the American people... Though it has been my privilege to have these international xperiences, the associations with my Extension agents and neighborhood leaders have meant more to me than anything else. Without their guidance and interest I could never have done this much.
At this point, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson rose for his remarks - remarks inspired by his association with and knowledge of club work and the stature of the boys and girls as represented by club members at the Breakfast. He asked Carolyn to stand beside him as he gave his evaluation of 4-H:
Secretary Benson: “The performance of this panel of young people has been an inspiration to me. In fact, any thing that I might say will be anticlimactic to what you have already heard, but it called to my mind an incident 30 years ago when I had the pleasure - a great joy - to serve as a humble county agent in a small Idaho county.
Among other things it was a joy to have 500 boys and girls in that county in Club work. I remember one time we were holding a community meeting - a joint meeting of the boys and girls with their parents present. The girls had put on an exceptionally fine and inspirational program.
A fine 4-H Club boy who had reached that very critical age when his hair must be well groomed and when he becomes interested in girls, asked after the meeting: “Mr. Benson, is there anything livelier than a beautiful, sweet, modest 4-H Club girl?” I said, “Yes.” He was shocked.
I said that sam beautiful, sweet modest girl as she holds her first-born baby in her arms - a mother and a homemaker. That is more beautiful. ‘I guess you are right, Mr. Benson,’ he agreed.
This lovely girl who stands beside me is one of more than a million in this country in 4-H Club work. Another million young men tam up with them in this great program.
After all, this is a great nation. We pride ourselves on our achievements. We build great cities, great industries. We have become a powerful nation. But our greatest asset in this nation certainly is not our accumulation of material things. Our greatest asset is our youth - our boys and girls - the future leaders of this great country.
We have a good representation of that asset here this morning. Most of our men n business and industry as well as in agriculture are interested in the 4-H club program - a program established to build character, to build citizenship, to build leadership.
I don’t know of any program more effective in building character, citizenship, and leadership than the 4-H Club program. With all my heart I endorse it. It is no longer on trial. It has proven its worth. Its value is in the training of the head, the hart, the hands, and in the training for health. It is an inspiring program. I commend those who are in charge. I commend the young men and women who are members and who have achieved so much. I commend the parents who have encouraged their boys and girls in this great program...
Next big event for the young folks was their visit to the President the following morning, along with officials of the Extension Service and National Committee.
Secretary Benson introduced the group to the President, told him about 4-H and explained the reason for the informal visit. The President expressed his own pleasure and paid tribute to achievements of 4-H, whereupon Carolyn presented the leather-bound report of 4-H Club work and Rollin handed the President a gold-plated 4-H paperweight. These two, as national achievement winners, had received the President’s Trophy, a set of silver, at the Congress in Chicago.
The Chief Executive thanked them and walked to the bookcase, showed everyone where the paperweight would be displayed.
When press photographers asked Mr. Eisenhower to shake hands simultaneously with Carolyn and Rollin for a photograph, he smilingly refused, commenting that he would shake hands with only one person at a time - and warmly suited the action to the words, closing the interview.
“These young folks had a wonderful time. Their experiences had deep meaning for them. As capable representatives of 4-H Club work they acquitted themselves very well. And they learned that our nation’s leaders know the value and importance of 4-H Club work.”
(National 4-H News, April 1954, p. 33)
“4-H Report to the Nation” is presented to President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Anne Wade of Georgia during National 4-H Club Week. Other members of the National 4-H Report to the Nation team from left are: Nancy Mason, North Carolina; John Murray, Jr., Colorado; Miss Wade and the President, Kenyon Giese, Wisconsin; Janet Kuska, Nebraska; and Bobby Newton, North Carolina.
As reported in the April 1954 issue of National 4-H News: Top observance of 4-H Club Week at the national level in 1954 was the visit of outstanding club members in Washington, D.C., and their presenting a “4-H Report to the Nation” to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The young people were the national achievement, citizenship and leadership winners named during the recent National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago.
W. A. Sutton, Georgia, and Margaret Clark, North Carolina, teamed with Leon McNair, National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work, and the 4-H staff of the Federal Extension Service to escort the young folks around the city. The schedule was arranged by the Federal office.
For the trip and the stay in Washington, all were guests of Chicago’s Conrad Hilton hotel, headquarters of the National Congress. Robert Quain, manager of the Hilton, and his wife were in Washington to act as host and hostess.
The club members arrived in the capitol city Friday, March 5, spent Saturday in orientation and sightseeing. On Sunday they were guests at a rural church in Lorton, Virginia, the Cranford Memorial Church, where the program was arranged and staged by club members of Fairfax county assisted by George Foster of the Federal 4-H staff who is pastor of the church.
On Monday they met with J. Edgar Hoover of the F.B.I., lunched with their own Congressman, had a visit with John A. Hannah, assistant secretary of defense and met Defense Secretary C. E. Wilson, toured the Pentagon and spent the evening with Hilton hotel officials.
On Tuesday they were introduced to J. Earl Coke, assistant secretary of agriculture and Secretary Ezra Taft Benson, after which came the high spot of th trip, their meeting with President Eisenhower.
The President was given the 4-H report on 1953 achievements, and hand-tooled leather wallets made by Wisconsin 4-H’ers were presented to him and Mrs. Eisenhower. The President told the group that only recently he had grilled steaks from a steer presented by Kansas 4-H’ers in the solarium on the top floor of the White House.
During the 1959 National 4-H Week, the reporting team journeyed to Washington, D.C. where they had the opportunity to meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Oval Office of the White House. The presented the President with the official “Report to the Nation” book and also gave him a small flowering dogwood tree to be planted on the Eisenhower farm near Gettysburg.
During their stay the 4-H reporters also had the opportunity to meet Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture, and C. M. Ferguson, administrator, Federal Extension Service, as well as officials of major farm organizations.
At a luncheon hosted by the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work, the reporting team met Senators and Congressmen from their home states and elsewhere. In addition, they enjoyed a tour of Washington and were interviewed by the media.
“4-H IS GOOD for YOUth... good for the boys and girls who take part in the learn-by-doing program... and good for YOU - the people everywhere who benefit from 4-H projects carried on throughout America.” This was the opening statement in the 4-H Report to the Nation book presented during National 4-H Club Week in March, 1961.
The reporting team in 1961 traveled to Washington D.C. during 4-H Week. With the change in government administration, the 1961 visit took on unusual interest. The high point of the week came on Tuesday, March 7, when President John F. Kennedy received his first 4-H visitors. The six reporters presented him with a specially designed and inscribed 4-H paperweight in behalf of their 2,300,000 fellow 4-H members. Earlier in the day, they also met Orville L. Freeman, Secretary of Agriculture, who received a similar 4-H memento.
To assist in launching the observance in Washington, a “Report to the Nation Dinner” was held on Sunday, March 5, for the young people, Congressional leaders and government officials. Host for the evening was Robert F. Quinn, general manager and vice president, Conrad Hilton Hotels, Inc. On hand at the Statler-Hilton to welcome the distinguished audience was Chris L. Christensen, president of the National 4-H Service Committee. During the evening the Club Week theme, “4-H is Good for YOUth,” served as the topic for a panel discussion by the six reporters, with Dr. William M. Smith of Pennsylvania as moderator.
The following day the Report to the Nation team and representatives of several other national youth organizations were guests of honor at a luncheon hosted jointly by the National Farm-City Committee and the National 4-H Club Foundation at the National 4-H Center. Here the young people met other important Washington leaders in agriculture, business, education, government and international affairs. Participation by the 4-H members again took the form of a panel discussion, moderated by Charline Lindsay of Missouri.
Following the Washington events, the National 4-H Service Committee arranged for the 4-H reports to travel on to New York City where they presented “4-H Report to Business Leaders” at a luncheon for some 125 company officials in the New York area on Wednesday, March 8. Arrangements for the New York event at the Waldorf-Astoria were made by a committee of national 4-H donors from the New York area.
During National 4-H Club Week in 1962, the team started the week in Washington, D.C. where they visited with the Vice President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson; Charles Murphy, Under Secretary of Agriculture; and other important officials of farm, trade and government groups. At a dinner meeting arranged by the National 4-H Service Committee, the reporters had an opportunity to promote 4-H with U.S. Senators, Congressmen and other notable guests. Utilizing the Club Week theme, they took part in a panel entitled “4-H Is Good for Youth,” moderated by Dr. T. L. Walton, state 4-H Club leader from Georgia. They also were featured at a luncheon hosted by the National Farm-City Committee and National 4-H Club Foundation, the largest gathering of the week for the reporters. Guests at the luncheon included many of the nation’s leading agricultural, business, governmental and youth leaders, as well as international representatives.
Flying on to Pittsburgh, the Report to the Nation team met top-level industrialists at a luncheon on March 7 arranged by Westinghouse Electric Corporation and the National 4-H Service Committee. Leaving that evening for New York City, the team appeared the next morning on several network broadcasts, including the “Today” show on NBC. In addition, they held a press conference in a farm yard setting in Central Park and were featured in the NEW YORK TIMES as a result. This was arranged by J. Walter Thompson Co. In behalf of Standard Brands Incorporated, a 4-H national donor.
Despite the blustery weather which had prevailed all week, the team flew on to St. Louis appearing on March 9 at a luncheon for prominent citizens of St. Louis, arranged by the city’s Chamber of Commerce and the National 4-H Club Foundation, with the cooperation of the Ralston Purina Company.
At the end of a strenuous but exciting week, the tam went back to school to make up missed exams and catch up on studies in general. But none of them minded, for they had had a matchless week of education that would probably never be duplicated.
In 1963 this group traveled together fo 10 days during National 4-H Week to tell the 4-H story in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles. By all accounts, the highlight was meeting with President John F. Kennedy in the White House.
President Kennedy looks at the 1963 Annual 4-H Report to the Nation as the team looks on. L. To R. - Alice Todd, Tony Mellor, Veronica Vamosy, Faye Craig, Larry Pressler and Don Weeks.
1963 4-H Report to the Nation team, 50th Anniversary Reunion. L. To R. - Tony Mellor, Veronica Vamosy Hughes, Faye Craig Shirley, Larry Pressler and Don Weeks. (Not in Picture: Alice Todd Carter)
At a 50th anniversary reunion of the 1963 team held in May, 2013, the group had an opportunity to reminisce. “The President spent 45 minutes with us,” remarked Larry Pressler who, as a former U.S. Representative and Senator, knows how difficult it is to get “Presidential time.” “He asked me what I fed my chickens,” exclaimed Faye Shirley, “which completely threw me!” “Since I was from Arizona he told me that he and Bobby had worked on a Dude Ranch there” remarked Tony Mellor. “President Kennedy was reaching out to the rural communities, to the agricultural population,” said Pressler; “and was truly interested in what we were doing. The team presented the President with a leather-bound embossed volume of lthe 4-H “Report to the Nation” and a first-edition copy of the new 4-H World Atlas. He in turn gave each of them the White House souvenir pen.
Besides Kennedy, the group met with U.S. Representatives and Senators, the Post-Master General, USDA officials, business leaders in New York, and went to LA to be on the Art Linkletter show. Linkletter later became a member of the National 4-H Advisory council, the group of distinguished corporate and public figures which raised money to expand and enhance the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The 1964 team was busy during National 4-H Conference Week in Washington, D.C. and also made a quick trip to New York City during the week for official 4-H donor visits. One executive they met with was C. R. Roberts, president of Sealtest Foods and vice president and a director of National Dairy Products Corp. Also at a New York City reception, the group made their report to Edgar T. Savidge, Deputy Manager of the American Bankers Assocation.
(4-H Foundation Journal Spring 1964, p. 11)
The nation’s agricultural bankers were a part of the 1964 4-H Report to the Nation presentations. They are shown here at a New York City reception with Edgar T. Savidge (center), Deputy Manager of the American Bankers Association. Making the presentation were: L. To R. - Claudia Traux, Indiana; Ronald Keys, Kansas; Linda Curtiss, Vermont; Ann Williams, Texas; Roger Hamlin, Oregon; and Allen Leman, Illinois
In 1965 the Report to the Nation team was expanded and smaller groups from the team were selected to do assignments throughout the year. Additionally, instad of limiting their activities mainly to Washington, D.C. and one other key city as usual, small teams of these 4-H’ers appeared at numerous events in various parts of the country.
On July 19-23, three team members made a 5-day swing through seven major localities in Texas, visiting Lions and Rotary Clubs or members of the Chamber of Commerce in each community. Texas 4-H’er Patty Porter, although not on the national reporting team, accompanied the group, playing hostess in her home state. The reporters on this trip included Margaret Edmundson, Nevada; Jack Harper, Louisiana and Wayne Dabney, Oklahoma. After a 2-day orientation at College Station, the group headed to the Houston Airport and a plane that had been generously loaned to the group for the Texas tour. While visiting NASA, the reporters presented a 4-H paperweight to astronaut Commander Alan Shepard, a former 4-H member and first American to fly into space. As the group stood on an iron slag model of the moon’s surface, their NASA guide revealed that a model space craft they were viewing may actually carry two men to the moon by 1970. The group made over 20 TV and radio appearances. They were treated to an international welcome in El Paso and local 4-H’ers presented the reporters with Mexican sombreros and blankets. Randall county 4-H’ers demonstrated 4-H outdoor cookery and genuine hospitality at a barbecue in the Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo.
On September 15-17 the two 4-H’ers selected to appear on the National 4-H Donors’ Conference program spent two additional days calling on representatives of key agencies and associations in Chicago - among them the Mercantile Exchange, National Live Stock and Meat Board, and Lions International. They also appeared on the “Breakfast Club” over the ABC Network and were interviewed on WGN-TV.
During National 4-H Club Week, September 25-October 2, a 5-member team visited New York City and Washington, D.C. In New York they appeared at a reception for nearly 100 business guests at the Waldorf-Astoria; visited the S&H Foundation and the J. C. Penney Company headquarters; appeared on network radio and television and were interviewed by editors of the Reader’s Digest and Scholastic magazines.
Highlight of their trip to Washington was a visit with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House. The reporters presented the “Report to the Nation” book to the President, along with a 4-H dinner bell. The team also met Secretary of Agriculture Orville L. Freeman (who accompanied the team to the Oval Office), and members of four important Congressional committees.
The largest audience to hear the reporters was the 3,000-member delegation at the National Farm and Industrial Equipment Institute. Other agencies and organizations on their schedule included the Department of State, Public Housing Administration, National Association of Food Chains, National Education Association, General Federation of Women’s Clubs and National Federation of Business and Professional Women.
(good photos on p. 12-13 Oct 65 NEWS and p. 14-15 of Feb 66 NEWS)
A 4-member team inaugurated the 1966 4-H Report to the Nation program in the Spring as they called on leaders in education, business, agriculture and government in several west coast cities.
Appearing at special luncheon programs in Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Linda Chun, Nadine Meier, Morton Johnson and Phil McIntyre also made numerous press, radio and television interviews reporting to the public the 4-H accomplishments, objectives of the modern 4-H program and pointing out the opportunities offere youth in urban as well as rural areas.
Adding his impressions of the 4-H program at two of the luncheon events was S. A. Halgren, vice president, Carnation Company, and a member of the Board of Directors on the National 4-H Service Committee.
Following the luncheon program in Portland, Oregon sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the reporters conferred with Governor Mark O. Hatfield at Salem and visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The museum was proposing a new agricultural wing which would include a 4-H Science Center and a series of 4-H demonstrations on a regularly scheduled basis.
Hosts for the San Francisco luncheon were: The Sears-Roebuck Foundation, California Bankers Association, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the Standard Oil Company of California.
In Los Angeles the 4-H Reporters were joined by Eddie Albert and Pat Buttram at a special press conference. This event was followed by a luncheon hosted by: Bank of America, Carnation Company and United States Borax & Chemical Corporation.
In each city, the 4-H emissaries met key business and civic leaders and enthusiastically fielded questions thrown by media representatives. Questions ranged from 4-H for all youth and farming as a career to the young people’s views on Viet Nam, the Beetle hair cut and youth demonstrations. The 4-H reporters were accompanied by Mylo S. Downey, director, 4-H and Youth Development, Federal Extension Service; Kenneth H. Anderson, associate director, National 4-H Service Committee and Ralph Kirch, coordinator, representing the National 4-H Foundation. Arrangements for the luncheons and other events were handled by committees including donor representatives, and State Leaders R. O. Monosmith, California and Burton Hutton, Oregon.
During June and July Report to the Nation teams continued their travels. One team of four visited West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, while the other team, also of four, met with groups in Georgia and Alabama. In each area, the 4-H reporters spoke at meetings, appeared on numerous radio and television programs and were interviewed by newspaper reporters.
In Charleston, West Virginia, the team of Joe Day, Martha Lee Poland, Jeffrey Muchow and Sherry Lynn Smith visited Governor Hulett C. Smith and presented a panel discussion at a luncheon of business and civic leaders. Moving on to Eastern Kentucky, the reporters talked to business leaders at Pikeville and students at Pikeville College. They also spoke to summer students at Prestonburg Junior College and to cvic groups in Catlettsburg and Morehead.
At Cincinnati, the 4-H Report to the Nation team members were greeted by Mayor Bachrach, entertained by the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co., and featured at a press conference attended by all area news media. Media coverage in Cincinnati was particularly heavy.
A breakfast meeting of business and civic leaders in the Lexington-Frankfort, Kentucky area hosted by the Second National Bank and Citizens Union National Bank, both of Lexington, was well attended. At a luncheon given by President Oswald, University of Kentucky, for the university’s administrative personnel and deans, the 4-H reporters interpreted the modern expanding, flexible, educational 4-H program. At Frankfort, the team visited Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Butler. Events in Louisville included a reception and news conference at the headquarters of the Kentucky Farm Bureau, a visit to the office of Mayor Schmied and a banquet sponsored by the Kiwanis Clubs of the Louisville area.
As the reporting team moved on to Alabama and Georgia, Sherry Smith and Jeff Muchow left the team, replaced by Gayle Stubbs, Alabama and Jack Bossard, New York, joining the remaining two - Joe Day, Kentucky and Martha Lee Poland, West Virginia.
Leaders of business, civic organizations, agriculture and education, attended a luncheon on July 19 in Atlanta hosted by the Georgia 4-H Foundation. Through a panel discussion and a press conference for news media, the four reporters effectively related the ongoing 4-H program and its modern concepts.
The team was joined by 4-H alumnus John Sparkman, Alabama Senator, at Huntsville. The reporters related the 4-H story at a dinner meeting hosted by the Huntsville-Madison Chamber of Commerce
and the Madison County 4-H Council. The 4-H’ers with Senator Sparkman toured the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center at Huntsville where they conferred with the space center director, Dr. Wernher von Braun.
In Birmingham the 4-H Report to the Nation team were entertained by the Alabama Power Company and participated in a banquet program sponsored by the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce. At this event, state 4-H project winners were honored and 11 key citizens were recognized for their support of 4-H. Mass media representatives covered the programs and interviewed the 4-H Report team at each event.
During National 4-H Club Week a 6-member 4-H Report to the Nation team spent the entire seven days in late September in New York City and Washington, D.C. Reporters for this trip included: Martha Lee Poland, Mary Jo Smith, Margaret Devreaux, Jack Bossard, Morten Johnson and Joe Day.
Dividing their time between New York City and the nation’s capital, the 4-H reporters made numerous calls at business and governmental offices. They also were interviewed by representatives of newspapers, magazines, radio and television.d
In New York, the group made calls at offices of Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation, Sinclair Refining Company, both the Rockefeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation, and New York Life Insurance Company. They were interviewed by such well known publications as Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Ingenue, Life, McCalls, Readers’ Digest, Good Housekeeping, Scholastic Magazine, Seventeen and others. They also appeared on local and network radio programs.
The Washington visits centered on governmental departments and agencies. The reporters met and talked with Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman and Assistant Secretary George Mhren.
At the White House the 4-H reporting team met with President Lyndon B. Johnson where they presented the President with the 4-H Report to the Nation book. They also called at the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the Civic Education Service and the Department of State.
The 4-H’ers honored appointments with the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture, visited with their respective congressmen, with officials at the National Association of Counties and taped radio and television programs.
At each and every opportunity, the 4-H reporters related the expanding, flexible dynamic 4-H program. They explained its educational and developmental features and drew heavily upon their own experiences and those of other 4-H youth to make their points.
Among the national meetings at which reporters were representing 4-H individually were the American Institute of Cooperation convention (Jeffrey Muchow), Girl Scouts convention, Junior Achievement convention (Jeffrey Muchow), National 4-H Donors’ Conference, National Grange convoention, County Extension Agents Association conference and the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting.
The first Report to the Nation team visit in 1967 started a 4-day tour on May 14 in the Midwest with trips to St. Louis, Missouri; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Quincy, Illinois. The team of five spoke with leaders of agriculture, business, government and education in each of these cities. Team representatives included: Enid Schlipf, Russell Frandsen, Mary Knappenberger, Lynda Bowers and Terry Strueh.
Starting in St. Louis, Monsanto Chemical Company hosted the group including a press luncheon. In Quincy, the team was graciously received by the management of Moorman Manufacturing Company, a national 4-H donor, at their headquarters. The reporters met with 4-H youth and leaders from three Missouri and six Illinois counties surrounding Quincy where they also received excellent press coverage.
In Indiana, the 4-H reporting team toured Purdue University at Lafayette, and participated in television and radio programs in Indianapolis. They visited the famous Indianapolis Speedway preceding the Memorial Day race. While at the Speedway the 4-H’ers talked with Parnelli Jones, internationally famous racing driver. One of the team members, Russell Frandsen, was a 1966 state 4-H automotive winner.
The state 4-H staff was represented at each event, as well as county extension personnel.
Report to the Nation team members visited Chicago and four Tennessee cities from August 7-9. Team members on this trip included Mary Knappenberger, Carol Whitaker, Enid Schlipf and William Stephenson.
In Chicago they appeared on early morning television shows, several radio programs and at a reception where they reported to some 100 business civic and agricultural leaders. The team highlighted a press conference and were hosted by four representatives of Chicago’s 2,000 4-H members - Pam Rey, Roseann Brehm, Gary Skirtich and Oscar Johnson.
During the Tennessee trip the Extension Service arranged a reception and panel presentation for the State 4-H Roundup at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. In Nashville, the reporters called at Governor Buford Ellington’s office and toured the governor’s mansion with Mrs. Ellington. The governor was a former 4-H member and national 4-H Alumni winner. The tour also included events in both Memphis and Chattanooga.
Another reporting tour was made to Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts, Hartford, Connecticut and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 15-19. This team included: Terry Strueh, Mary Knappenberger, Russell Frandsen, plus two Massachusetts 4-H’ers, Jann Perkins and Robert Martin, Jr.
“This 4-H Report to the Nation” visit to our state was truly one of the highlights of the year in Extension,” said J. Richard Beattie, associate director of Extension, University of Massachusetts in a letter to Norman Mindrum, director, National 4-H Service Committee. Additionally, Director Beattie enthusiastically reported on the reception given at the Governor’s mansion by the state’s first lady, Mr. John A. Volpe, a former 4-H member and an active director of the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation. The guests included friends of 4-H, civic, business and legislative leaders.
A tour of the Eastern States Exposition, an appearance in the Coliseum Program on the evening of Governors’ Day and a visit with the six New England Governors during their tour of the exposition, highlighted the team’s visit to Springfield. The 4-H reporters also called upon numerous business leaders in Boston.
In Connecticut, the 4-H’ers visited with University of Connecticut President H. D. Babbidge. Connecticut 4-H members, Frances Pope and Tom Griffin assisted with their state’s phase of the program.
Moving on to Philadelphia, the 4-H reporters lunched with the Philadelphia Kiwanis Club, were interviewed at Farm Journal and for broadcast on several radio and television outlets.
The final major reporting trip was during National 4-H Week in early October to New York City, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. This 5-member team included: Beverly Wiebe, Terry Strueh, Sammie Jackson, Lynda Bowers and Larry Kibler.
The team appeared on several radio and television programs in New York City and met the press and friends of 4-H at a reception. The group was featured on the program at a luncheon meeting of the Eastern Chapter of the National Agricultural Advertising & Marketing Association. The next leg of their journey took them to Washington, D.C. where the team visited with Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman and members of the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture. They were highlighted at a gathering of several hundred 4-H alumni now working in USDA. The team also had an opportunity to present the “4-H Report to the Nation” bound copy directly to President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 5. The reporting team completed their schedule in Richmond on Saturday, October 7. While in Virginia’s capitol city, the reporters participated in the float parade at the Tobacco Festival, addressed a Friends of 4-H Breakfast and were spectators at a college football game.
Organization events where individual 4-H reporters spoke during the year of 1967 included Rural Youth U.S.A.; American Institute of Cooperation; National Grange, National 4-H Donors’ Conference and American Farm Bureau Federation.
The 1968 Report to the Nation team met in Chicago in April for a pre-tour orientation session. Alan Neuman, television producer-director, helped prepare the 4-H reporters for national and regional events and press, radio and television interviews. It was the first in-depth training session held for participants in the Report to the Nation program.
In numerous public appearances, the reporters need to emphasize today’s modern, flexible 4-H program.
The first Report to the Nation tour was on July 15-19 in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; Omaha, Nebraska; Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and San Antonio, Texas.
Reporters were called upon to assist with major corporate donor visits. Jeff Seidenstein had the opportunity to express appreciation of 4-H club members to Standard Brands, Inc. For their staunch support of the 4-H program. John Gerwig, director of the Cooperative Extension Service in New Jersey accompanied Seidenstin.
Four reporters visited the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. In Akron, Ohio and gave a panel presentation before an audience of 70 company executives. Greg Jarmolowicz, Jim Lewis, Tammy Turner and Nancy Alward made up the team. Raymond C. Firetone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Firestone introduced the group.
The reporters also carried out individual speaking roles in their respective states and addressed special meetings including the National 4-H Donors’ Conference in Chicago, the American Institute of Cooperation meeting in Blacksburg, Virginia and the American Farm Bureau Federation convention.
During a special orientation session in Chicago, team members received tips on panel participation, television appearances and personal contact. Orion Samuelson, Farm Service Director, Station WGN and WGN-TV, provided tips on communication techniques. Kathy DeVries of Simplicity Pattern Company offered suggestions on “How to Dress and Act.” Representatives of the Federal Extension Service, the National 4-H Service Committee and National 4-H Foundation helped the 4-H reporters polish their presentations.
During the summer and fall the 11 members of the Report to the Nation team made maximum use of their time. They appeared on programs on all major broadcast networks including NBC, CBS, ABC, Mutual, Monitor, UPI Audio Network, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, the Armed Forces Network, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and on syndicated programs to independent stations.
In July, George Wallace spoke to the National Conference of Izaac Walton League.
In August, Wallace and Nancy May spoke at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Cooperation held at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Margaret Bartosek and Bob Lamb were on the program of the 4-H Electric Workshop held in Minneapolis August 26.
Grant Morrill and Margaret Bartosek participated in the workshop sessions at the National 4-H Donors’ Conference held September 17-18 in Chicago and spoke at the final luncheon which closed the conference.
On September 25 Janice Glover, George Wallace and Chris Peterson appeared before the National County Agents Association convention in Atlantic City. While in Atlantic City the team members received the keys to the city from Mayor Jackson and appeared on various radio shows. They also traveled to Philadelphia, appearing on two TV shows and visited the Farm Journal magazine headquarters. Traveling on to New York City the team was heard on the radio program “Viewpoint,” which is a syndicated radio show to 500 stations. They also met with editors of the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek and Scholastic Magazines.
Late in September and early October, Nancy May, Jake Weathersby and Bob Wright talked to Kiwanis Clubs in Jackson, Mississippi and Coral Gables, Florida and met with Joe Hara, president of Tupperware, at a luncheon conference at Orlando. Moving on to Little Rock, Arkansas, the team had lunch with the Little Rock Rotary Club, met with state officials and other civic leaders and appeared on 14 television programs plus seven radio shows. They also visited with Vice Presidents Richard Hiendlmayr and Jaral D. Aston of Olin Corporation in Little Rock. Olin was the national donor for the 4-H Alumni Recognition program.
Five members of the team - Margaret Bartosek, Janice Glover, Karen Seppa, Chris Peterson and George Wallace - made up the team that visited Washington, D.C. and New York City during National 4-H Week, October 5-11. They kicked off National 4-H Club Week on Sunday night when The Ed Sullivan Show featured a “Salute to 4-H”. The Today Show featured an interview with Secretary of Agriculture Hardin and two of the 4-H reporters. 4-H was saluted on The Lawrence Welk Show by former 4-H’er Myron Floren and also by Mr. Welk.
In Washington, D.C. the 5-member team were guests of Mrs. Pat Nixon at a tea in the White House Library on Tuesday afternoon. Mrs. Nixon had been a 4-H member while growing up. The Report to the Nation pictorial book highlighting 4-H goals and accomplishments was presented to Mrs. Nixon, along with 4-H paperweights for President and Mrs. Nixon.
While in Washington, the team had conferences with Secretary of Agriculture Clifford Hardin and other key USDA officials; Robert N. Finch, Secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and many other governmental officers.
At the National Press Club on Thursday evening the team appeared before an audience of 300 dinner guests along with Jack Linkletter.
The 1970 reporting team had a busy fall schedule. Three team members, Elaine Mattingly, James Carpenter and Diana Jo Elnicki, called on national 4-H donors in New York City. Representatives of The Singer Company welcomed the 4-H spokesmen. The reporters also were hosted by Coats & Clark Inc. and met with representatives of Th S&H Foundation, Inc. and Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc. During the New York visit the tam held a press conference with some 15 media representatives in attendance. The New York Times and New York Daily News carried important publicity for the upcoming National 4-H Week. The news conference was set up through the auspices of J. Walter Thompson Co., for The Singer Company.
Earlier William Randolph Spence and Vicki Moss spoke at the South Carolina Electric Camp and Thomas Rainey and Vicki Moss spoke at the 4-H Electric Workshop in New Orleans on September 1-2.
Deborah Templin participated in the 42nd annual summer session of the American Institute of Cooperation at Ohio State University early in August. Thomas Rainey attended the National Junior Achievement Conference at the University of Indiana.
Oscar Johnson and Susan Gourley appeared on the television program, Life with the Linkletters, aired September 10. The taped program was made during a West Coast appearance at the annual meeting of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Another team visited Washington, D.C. during the week of October 5, National 4-H Week. Reporters participating included Vicki Moss, Steve Wetzel, David Janovec and Diana Jo Elnicki.
Two members of the team, Elaine Mattingly and James “Mike” Carpenter, participated in the National 4-H Donors’ Conference in Chicago October 6-7 where they told about their experiences as 4-H reporters. Carpenter, a 19-year-old junior at North Carolina State University, told about the late September New York press conference at which members of the press spent more than an hour interviewing the 4-H reporters. During the question and answer session at the donors’ conference, Mike was asked by one of the donor reps, “Does 4-H have a ‘square’ image? “No more than any other group of four million kids from all areas of the country and every economic strata,” Carpenter responded. “4-H’ers aren’t stereotyped,” he said. “We aren’t any better or any worse than any other group of young people. Maybe we’re a little more self-reliant though. 4-H must be reliant and aware of today’s concerns. 4-H is a way to express oneself without relying on drugs. Youth today must be informed to be able to make logical choices,” Carpenter said. Elaine Mattingly, also 19 and a junior at Purdue University, told how 4-H helped her decide on a career as a home economist. Although a city girl, she started in a farm club in her grandmother’s community. Elaine was an active junior leader in Indiana and helped set up a 4-H Club for the mentally handicapped.
Steve Wetzel spoke at the National Grange convention in Boise, Idaho the second week of November and David Janovec participated in the American Farm Bureau convention at Houston December 7-10.
This year’s eight 4-H Report to the Nation team members recently were personally commissioned by Secretary of Agriculture Clifford Hardin. The Secretary challenged them to “take the 4-H message across our land,” as he handed each a certificate bearing his signature and the Department’s seal.
Several press, radio and television people were present for the ceremony. Some of the 4-H’ers were interviewed and photographed by back-home correspondents. The team of eight participated in an “orientation weekend” in Washington, D.C. and also spent some hours on Capitol Hill paying brief calls on their Congressmen and Senators.
Roger Fellows, a member of the 1974 4-H Report to the Nation team, was named a member of President Gerald Ford’s Citizens Committee to Fight Inflation. Roger met with the Committee at the White House in October.
Geraldine Sumter was among 21 young people in August who met with President Ford when he called them together to learn what they thought the government should be doing for youth.
Eight young men and women, selected from delegates to the 1975 National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C., were commissioned as 4-H Report to the Nation team members by Dr. E. Dean Vaughan, assistant administrator, 4-H - Youth, Extension Service, USDA.
Research Note - Most of the above information on the National 4-H Report to the Nation Program from 1959 through 1975 comes from National 4-H Service Committee Comments’ newsletters although little was found between 1970-1975.
There are no newsletter copies between 1976-1983.
National 4-H Council Quarterly newsletters exist for 1983-1990. Nothing was found during these years identified as “National 4-H Report to the Nation” program. However, the 1985 listing of private sector support for the year lists The Conrad Hilton Hotel and Exxon Company, USDA as donors of the “National 4-H Ambassadors.” It is quite possible that somewhere during this information “gap” the Report to the Nation program stopped and a National 4-H Ambassadors program was started. This seems extremely likely since one of the donors of the program in 1985 is the Conrad Hilton Hotel.
There is no information in these newsletters between 1983-1990 about this 4-H Ambassador’s program, except in 1985 with a brief mention that Cheryl Ringel, national 4-H ambassador from Wisconsin, brought greetings on behalf of 4-H members to the National 4-H Donors’ Conference. No mention of how the Ambassadors were selected, what they did or anything else appears in the newsletters.
Principal author: Larry L. Krug
Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.
The 4-H Name and Emblem are protected by 18 USC 707