N.D. 4-H Volunteers, Century Families Honored
Gwen Roffler of Grassy Butte has been inducted into the North Dakota 4-H Hall of Fame.
The North Dakota 4-H Foundation also recently honored three families as 4-H century families for 2016.
“Volunteers are so important to the 4-H program in North Dakota,” says Tammy Meyer, chair of the foundation’s board. “They are the key to reaching the youth who are part of the North Dakota 4-H program, and the North Dakota 4-H Foundation is pleased to honor them.”
Those inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame have been involved in 4-H at the local, county or state level for at least 15 years beyond membership in the organization as a youth.
4-H has been a part of Roffler’s life for 63 years. She joined 4-H at age 9, and leadership in the organization always was one of her goals. She is serving her 52nd year as a leader of McKenzie County’s Sagebrush Wranglers 4-H Club.
“4-H is a great organization for youth to grow; learn; gain life skills, self-confidence, work ethic; build careers and become responsible leaders and citizens,” Roffler says.
“Learning and developing through the 4-H program are the top awards,” she adds. “They are not always in the form of trophies or champion ribbons. To me, seeing a member start out saying, ‘I can’t do that!’ and then learn enough to complete the project and say, ‘I can do that!’ is just one of the positives I find as an inspiration to continue my 4-H leadership.”
She also says she is honored and humbled by this recognition. Seeing former 4-H’ers leading successful lives and careers and knowing 4-H played a big part in that development is very satisfying and fulfilling to her.
Any family whose years as 4-H members, leaders and/or volunteers add up to 100 or more is eligible to be named a North Dakota 4-H century family. Those receiving that designation for 2016 are:
Benson/Jacobson family of Benson County, with a combined 135 years of service in 4-H
Ellingson/Schaff family of Morton County, with a combined 198 years of service in 4-H
Leier family of Emmons and Logan counties, with a combined 112 years of service in 4-H
The Benson and Jacobson families of Maddock credit their involvement in state 4-H exchanges as one of their significant contributions to 4-H. The late Fred Jacobson started these exchanges. He and fellow 4-H leaders hosted 4-H families from Somerset County, Pa., in 1964. Since then, more than 600 Benson County 4-H’ers have hosted 4-H’ers from other states and traveled to 17 states.
The Jacobson and Benson families also have been involved in six 4-H clubs in Benson County. The most recent is the Farm and Home Improvement 4-H Club. Six family members are enrolled in 4-H.
Four generations of the Martin and Angie Schaff family of St. Anthony have been involved in 4-H as leaders, volunteers and supporters. All six of their children were involved in 4-H, and involvement continues through their grandchildren.
Another of the ways they support 4-H is by providing a facility for local livestock judging workouts.
Larry Leier of Hague has been involved in 4-H for 32 years, first as a member and now a leader. He was instrumental in developing and expanding the shooting sports program in Emmons County. Nancy Leier recently revived the crop judging program in Emmons County and served as a crop judging team coach.
Many Leier family members also help with achievement day activities and county fundraisers.
The individuals and families were honored at recognition ceremonies in Fargo in conjunction with the foundation’s annual meeting.
The North Dakota 4-H Foundation is a nonprofit organization that secures private funds to provide educational opportunities for youth who are part of the North Dakota 4-H program. As part of its mission, the foundation recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to the 4-H program.
–NDSU Agriculture Communication