Foresight Leadership Of Morris County 4-H Foundation Offers Unique Opportunities To Many 4-H Club Members

More than 2,250 Morris County 4-H club members have had special opportunities to participate in youth leadership growing activities through support given by the Morris County 4-H Foundation.

Incorporated four decades ago upon recommendation of then Morris County Extension agriculture agent Dale Ladd, five individuals met and developed bylaws of the Morris County 4-H Foundation.

“In recognition of the growth of the Morris County 4-H Foundation, a special 40th anniversary celebration has been planned Friday evening, April 7, at the fairgrounds in Council Grove,” according to Larry Johnson, foundation president.

Supported strictly by member donations, the Morris County 4-H Foundation has provided financial help so more 4-H members could attend camps, leadership seminars, judging competitions and many additional life building opportunities.

“A total of $37,225 has been given in 103 Morris County 4-H Foundation Scholarships to 4-H club members,” Johnson said.

“Growth in the Morris County 4-H Foundation assistance has been through annual giving with incentive recognitions. Families often designate memorials to the foundation in honor of their lost loved ones who had fond experiences through the 4-H program,” Johnson pointed out.

“All donations to the Morris County 4-H Foundation remain in the county and are used only for Morris County 4-H Club members working hard ‘To Make the Best Better,’ the 4-H motto,” Johnson added.

“We want to especially welcome all of the donors who’ve given to the Morris County 4-H Foundation through the years and pay also special recognition to those who’ve served as board of trustees,” Johnson noted.

There are 499 “Patrons” of the Morris County 4-H Foundation signifying cumulative donations totaling $100 or more. Eighty-two people have been remembered with memorials in their name.

“A number of the Morris County 4-H Foundation members have given annually since the foundation was incorporated,” Johnson said.

Original incorporators of the Morris County 4-H Foundation were Ross Blythe, James Collier, Don McNeal, Gerald Ridenour and Don Peterson. Bylaws were adopted on May 31, 1977, with Ridenour serving as the first president.

Jerry Thomas was the first “Patron” donor, originally called Lifetime Member.  Marlin Brown and Dale Ladd were also credited as Lifetime Members at the first annual meeting of the Morris County 4-H Foundation in October 1977.

Thirty individuals have served on the board of trustees, with nine different presidents, and four treasurers.

Succeeding Ridenour in terms of various lengths as president of the foundation were Tom Moxley, Frank Buchman, Donna Muller, Frank Anderson, Bill Dickson, Karen Meyers, Connie Burton and Johnson.

Those having served as treasurer include Don Peterson, 1977-1981; Gary Dalquest, 1982-1985, Pat Andres, 1985-206; and Larry Landgren 2006 to present.

In addition to Johnson and Landgren, trustees now include Cynthia Schrader, vice president; Mary Alice Waylan, secretary; along with Carolyn Andres, Frank Buchman, and Connie Burton, who served 10 years as president, and has been instrumental in membership leadership.

There are 119 members of 4-H clubs in Morris County at the present time, according to Lori Bammerlin, Flint Hills Extension District 4-H Youth Development/Ag and Natural Resources agent. The Cloverbuds program, predecessor to 4-H membership, has nine members.

Largest project enrollment is in foods and nutrition with 36 members, followed by shooting sports with 35 members, and photography with 34 enrolled.

“While the foundation has supported many 4-H activities, the most 4-H club members are given the opportunity to attend Discover Days, and County 4-H Camp thanks to foundation assistance,” Johnson noted.

Last year, 23 Morris County 4-H members attended county camp at Rock Springs Ranch, one of the largest county contingencies in the state.  There were 18 Morris County 4-H members at Discovery Days, formerly known as Kansas 4-H Roundup.

“Every year, many 4-H parents and 4-H members themselves acknowledge that they would not be able to attend these two major activities without financial assistance from the Morris County 4-H Foundation,” Johnson stated.

Anniversary supper celebration reservations information is available of $11 per meal, with checks payable to the Morris County 4-H Foundation, should be mailed by March 29th to Connie Burton, 1867 C Avenue, White City KS 66872.

Information is available by emailing gcon10@hotmail.com.