NEW CASTLE —
Lawrence County’s 4-H turned 100 this year and Marjorie Miller has seen most of those years.
She has been around 4-H for 72 years as generations have gone through the youth development organization but her enthusiasm for it has never waned.
The 84-year-old retired a few years ago, but not before being honored for 50 years as a leader.
Miller was one of about 160 guests at 4-H’s 100th birthday party last week. A banquet at the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center recognized dozens of local 4-H leaders and members.
One-time 4-H’ers who are now adults may remember hopping around on pogo sticks in one of the clubs or traveling overseas as a 4-H international exchange student. Both were clubs that Miller started.
She also was instrumental in forming the 4-H bowling club, believed to be the first of its kind in the state.
Her calling was to show all the young people in the county that 4-H is not just for farmers — it’s for anyone.
Nationally, 4-H serves more than 6.5 million youths.
Head, heart, health and hands — those are the 4 Hs that represent the cloverleaf that has become its national symbol.
Lawrence County has 30 4-H clubs with 475 members. In addition, 3,000 youths have become 4-H members indirectly as part of 4-H classroom instruction, explained Bryan Dickinson, Penn State Cooperative Extension’s 4-H agent for the county.
Dickinson works with teachers and students who are enrolled in 4-H classes such as embryology, rocketry, plant science and team building.
“Kids enrolled in those classes are automatically 4-H’ers,” he said.
There also are cooking and sewing and other recreational clubs that non-farm youths can join.
Miller’s involvement with the organization started when she was a child.
“My whole family was in 4-H,” she said.
She was in the sewing and cooking clubs, primarily, but her family also raised pigs and chickens.
When she grew too old to be a 4-H’er, she became a leader. She has a daughter, Julie, who also became active in 4-H.
“Every child can’t have a horse or a cow,” Miller explained. So she looked for clubs to lead that would help other children gain a well-rounded experience.
Her 4-H bowling club is now more than 40 years old. She was its leader for 35 years. She also was a leader for the roller-skating club.
The time Miller gave reaped the reward of seeing many young people develop responsibility, respect and dedication, she said, reflecting, “It’s been a good family organization.”