On Oct. 19, 2015, Clyde F. Jackson was inducted posthumously into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Jackson was a pioneer in every sense of the word. Jackson grew up in the 4-H program and often spoke of the importance his 4-H experience had in shaping his life. He was elected the first president of the Black Virginia 4-H Youth Program, serving from 1967 to 1968, and was one of seven African-American youth leaders to attend the first integrated State 4-H Congress. Jackson went on to attend the National 4-H Congress.
He served for more than 29 years as a 4-H agent in Fairfax and Prince William counties. He was president of the National Association of 4-H Agents and a member of the board of directors of the Joint Council of Extension Professionals. After retiring in 2008, he continued to follow his passion by establishing 4-H Clubs on military installations and working with the geographically dispersed military youth through programs and resources to help them deal with the deployment of a loved one. Jackson’s extraordinary work was recognized with several awards, including the Meritorious Service Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents for his leadership and work with at-risk youth.
Throughout his career, Jackson was a positive role model for youth and adults. His was extremely talented in making people feel at ease, finding common ground, and forming partnerships. He listened to each person and valued what each said. Jackson reminded us to remain flexible and to watch for opportunities to help people grow. He said more than once that if you try to plan everything, you’ll miss some great opportunities that just happen to come by. Jackson is remembered as a pioneer and as a champion for youth from all walks of life. He is also remembered for his gentle leadership style and his ever-present smile that warmed any room he entered.
4-H continues to be one of the most successful and positive youth development programs ever evaluated. You certainly don’t have to look far to see the impact — Virginia is blanketed with outstanding 4-H agents, volunteers, and programs that make a difference.
The vision of the Virginia 4-H Foundation is to invest in 4-H to ensure that this important work continues in the future. Virginia needs what 4-H has to offer, and with your help we can expand our reach and increase enrollment.
One specific area where we are making progress is in helping counties and unit offices establish local endowments. Local county endowments put resources directly in the hands of the local 4-H agent, where they can be used as needed. Today, 33 localities benefit directly from local endowments, and several more are underway. We won’t be satisfied until every locality has a local endowment. I know this is a reachable goal; we just have to start the conversation and get he creativity moving.
Establishing a local endowment requires an investment of at least $25,000, which can be raised over a five-year period. Some examples for funding include five people pledging $1,000 a year for five years, 250 people giving a one-time gift of $100 each, or a little of both pledges and gifts. In any of these cases, the endowment can be established. Some localities have chosen an individual to honor, and others have named the endowment for the locality. There are so many wonderful opportunities to consider, and the local offices can determine what works best for them.
Imagine a 4-H endowment in every locality.I know I do! And, I know for certain that this goal is within our reach. When we reach this goal, I’m sure we’ll ask ourselves, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” Come, join with us, and invest in 4-H now to create a lasting legacy. I welcome the opportunity to visit with you and learn more about your ideas on how we are going to ensure 4-H forever. I suspect you agree with me that “4-H forever” is a vision worth our investment.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mary Miller, Ph.D.
Chair, Virginia 4-H Foundation
During National 4-H Week, held Oct. 4-10, 2015, you might have noticed a different look, feel, and focus of the 4-H brand around your community. National 4-H, along with our local Extension offices, is introducing a new tagline and brand strategy to get the word out — 4-H GROWS HERE. The new brand was developed because 4-H has so much to celebrate as it helps to grow courage, compassion, curiosity, confidence, teamwork, and character by working with one youth, one leader, and one community at a time. With more than 60 million alumni nationally and growing, 4-H has the strength to empower one generation to the next, growing leaders, teaching life skills, and moving communities forward. Did you know that 4-H offers programming in environmental science, performing arts, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), nutrition, cooking, and robotics? While agriculture, animals, and gardening are where it all started, 4-H continues to grow opportunities from farms to towns to suburbs and cities. To learn more about 4-H GROWS, 4-H programming and ways you can get involved, visit your local Cooperative Extension office or www.4-h.org/grows/.
To everyone who knew her, Marcia Meador was a warm, genuine, outgoing, and caring person who dedicated her life to teaching and serving others. For more than 30 years, she worked for Cooperative Extension in Maine, Florida, and Virginia, providing leadership for youth and adult programs. Meador loved people. She especially loved working with young people as they learned new skills and lessons that would extend to their adult lives. In Virginia, she was a 4-H agent in James City, New Kent, and Charles City counties for more than a dozen years. She valued the camping experience and served as director of the Jamestown 4-H Center for nine years.
Beyond devoting her life to her family and a busy career, she made time to serve others by volunteering as a founding member of the Chickahominy Ruritan Club and as a leader in the American Camp Association. By any measure, Meador was a rare and exceptional person.
In early 2014, a number of Meador’s family, friends, and colleagues began working on an endowment to honor her and benefit the 4-H programs in James City, New Kent, and Charles City counties. The Virginia 4-H Foundation is thrilled to share that the goal has been exceeded, and the Marcia B. Meador 4-H Memorial Fund is fully endowed with more than $26,480 in gifts and pledges. As with many endowments, gifts can still be given to grow the fund and increase its future impact.
Thank you to all who invested in the future of 4-H’ers in these three counties and who helped honor Marcia Meador’s legacy with this lasting resource.
To learn how to honor someone in your community with a local endowment, please contact the Virginia 4-H Foundation today.
By Rachel Kendrick, 2015-16 Virginia 4-H state cabinet president
I bring you greetings from the Virginia State Cabinet. I am Rachel Kendrick, the newly elected president of the 4-H Cabinet. Nine years ago, my mom registered me to participate in 4-H camp in Jamestown, Virginia. It was my first time away from home, and the experience was life-changing for me. Every moment was exciting, and I hated to leave. 4-H camp left an imprint on my heart, and I knew that 4-H would forever be a part of my life.
I’ve been a teen counselor for the past five years. I became very involved with my local Extension office and teen club. I serve as a youth member on our local Extension Leadership Council and started attending State 4-H Congress as soon as I was eligible. For two years, I observed the congressional process as a delegate, learning about the process before running for ambassador and finally president. Some might say I bleed green because 4-H is in my blood. Becoming involved with 4-H is a little-known opportunity that is available to kids everywhere. As cabinet president, my objective is that my cabinet members and I spend quality time putting a face to all that 4-H has to offer in our communities. We are committed to exposing as many people as possible to the benefits that mentoring and supporting and participating in our local community with 4-H can provide. We are planning events throughout the year to foster better visibility and involvement. 4-H is available to everyone, and I am proof of that. I am so thankful to my mentors — Bethany Eigel, 4-H agent, and Tonya Price, 4-H youth development specialist — who saw something in me that I never knew existed. The positive encouragement they offer is available to everyone. 4-H is so much more than what meets the eye. It is community involvement; it is service, leadership, and, most importantly, 4-H is opportunity. The possibilities are endless when you are involved in 4-H.
I look forward to meeting you in the coming year.
More than 470 youth and adults took part
in State 4-H Congress on Virginia Tech’s
campus from June 15-18, 2015. “State 4-H
Congress, the premier youth leadership
event, provides teens the opportunity to
build on positive experiences from their
local program,” said Cathy Sutphin, associate
director for Virginia 4-H youth development.
“Through structured interactions, teens
gain new skills, provide service to the
community, and have the opportunity to
expand their vision for their future, whether
they choose to go to college or enter
This year’s theme, “Living the Legacy – 4-H
Forever,” drew on the history of 4-H and
demonstrated the power of 4-H to assist
teens in developing leadership, citizenship,
and life skills through hands-on educational
programs. The opening assembly’s special
guest was Virginia 4-H alumnus Taylor Ray
Holbrook from Lee County, Virginia, who
has competed on the popular TV shows
“The Voice” and “American Idol.” In his
presentation, Holbrook shared that the
first time he ever performed in front of an
audience was at the Share the Fun contest
at a State 4-H Congress. Additionally, Jerry
Reynolds, a Craig County 4-H alumnus,
performed during Share the Fun on the
same stage and piano he played on in 1968,
when he was in 4-H and competed at a state