Whitesburg KY

Letcher County to celebrate Kentucky’s 4-H Centennial

The year 1909 saw the beginnings of the 4-H program in Kentucky. Over the past 100 years, the organization has changed to meet the needs of many generations of young people.

As Kentucky 4-H has been celebrating this milestone, Letcher County 4-H Youth Development programs have turned 91 years young. The first 4-H Club work on record in Letcher County was reported by H.D. Caudill, who was emergency demonstration agent in 1918. This is a quote from Mr. Caudill’s handwritten report on his work with Letcher County’s youth:

“The schools were becoming very effective in cooperating with me in the Extension Service. I aided the teaching force in formulating plans whereby agriculture might be taught to every child of the proper age. Each teacher was to organize their school into a club and carry out the work under my supervision. But as we only had three months of school on the account of the flu, the prospects were very encouraging so far as we advanced. Our Superintendent of Schools is chairman of our livestock association and is much interested in club work.”

As 4-H clubs have continued to hold a place of importance in Letcher County’s history, the fifth generation of Mr. Caudill’s family has been actively involved in present day Extension programs.

Letcher County recently nominated Shirley Sexton as its 4-H Hall of Fame winner. She was herself a 4-H Club member for five years and went on to organize and lead the Colson Rockets 4- H Club as soon as she began her 42-year-long teaching career at Colson Elementary School (now Beckham Bates Elementary School). Even in her retirement, Mrs. Sexton is as busy as ever, working in many ways to serve the youth in her community.

As part of our local 4-H celebration, anyone who has been a 4-H Club member in Letcher County, anywhere in Kentucky — or even another state — is invited to bring their 4-H project work (such as the apron, birdhouse, etc., they made in 4-H), or 4-H memorabilia (such as photos, awards, scrapbooks, etc.) to the Letcher County Extension Office, 478 Extension Dr., Whitesburg, for a special display during the Mountain Heritage Festival week. We would like to have the items to be displayed by Friday, Sept. 18. Please call the Extension Office at 633- 2362 for more information, or if you have questions.

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