Contact Us

Jodi Baumgartner
Program Coordinator, 4-H and Youth Development
University of Illinois Extension
421 W Pines Rd, Ste 10
Oregon, IL 61061
Phone: 815-732-2191
FAX: 815-732-4007

Johnna B. Jennings
Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development
University of Illinois Extension
1350 West Prairie Drive
Sycamore, IL 60178-3166
Phone: 815-758-8194
FAX: 815-758-8199

Ogle County 4-H

Ogle County 4-H

History of 4-H

4-H had its national beginnings around the turn of the century, and Illinois was there from the start! The groundwork that led to 4-H, as we know it today, was laid by pioneers in educational work and leaders of farm organizations who realized the value of leisure-time group activities for young people.

In 1899, W. B. Otwell, Secretary of the Macoupin County Illinois Farmer's Institute, furnished small packages of seed corn to 500 boys who were to grow corn and make an exhibit for the next gathering of the Farmer's Institute. This resulted in the organization of the first boys corn club. In 1904, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, 8,000 Illinois farm boys contributed to the corn exhibit at the Palace of Agriculture under the direction of Mr. Otwell.

The first Illinois 4-H Club was the Union Pig Club organized by C. C. Coots in Macoupin County, in the spring of 1915. By 1917, over fifteen thousand members were enrolled in Illinois.

Ogle County 4-H began in the 1920's. Like their counterparts statewide, most early clubs followed a particular project theme: canning, corn, pigs, beef, or sewing. As one example, the Ogle County Dairy Calf Club, Oregon, was organized in May, 1927 exclusively for youth interested in expanding their knowledge about dairy. Additionally, the Lucky 4-H Club, Mt. Morris, was established in 1929 with sewing as its sole project.

4-H has evolved over the years to match the changing needs of the children it serves. Today, community clubs offer youth opportunities to expand their knowledge in a multitude of project areas ranging from rabbits to rockets. Emphasis is placed on helping members develop communication, decision-making, community service, citizenship, and leadership skills while building friendships that will last a lifetime.