The University of Wisconsin-Extension 4-H Youth Development Program inducted 100 laureates into the brand-new Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame Saturday, November 15. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony was the last statewide event celebrating 100 years of 4-H in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame was established to recognize 4-H volunteers, financial supporters, staff and pioneers who made major contributions to 4-H at the local, state and national levels. The honorees represent 4-H in the broadest sense, according to Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development State Program Director Dale Leidheiser.
“We are inducting volunteers, supporters and UW-Extension employees who had an impact on the lives of children, their community or state through significant contributions of time, energy, or financial resource to 4-H and its members,” Leidheiser says.
Wisconsin 4-H is proud to be represented by Thomas L. Bewick, the first Wisconsin 4-H Statewide Program Director, in the 4-H Hall of Fame. Bewick was a promising young agronomy instructor at UW-Madison when he was hired as Ransom Asa Moore’s assistant in 1910. When the Smith-Lever Act established the Cooperative Extension Service in 1914, Bewick was named the first State 4-H Leader for Wisconsin.
Bewick gave 43 years to Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development, 40 as state leader and three as assistant state leader. During that time, Bewick helped start the Linn 4-H Club in Walworth County, the first 4-H club in the state.
He was a member of the national committee which chose the 4-H emblem, the motto, colors, and creed used by 4-H. “We selected the four leaf clover for good luck; the colors – white for purity, and green is nature’s most gorgeous color.”
He was an early advocate of a state 4-H camp and served on the first Camp Upham Woods committee. There is a cabin at Upham Woods dedicated in his name. He arranged for the first state 4-H club week at UW-Madison where delegates were quartered in tents on the campus.
Since 1914, Wisconsin 4-H has helped youth grow the leadership, critical thinking and communications skills necessary to be successful in a constantly changing world. Visit the Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame website to learn more about the individuals who supported 100 years of growing Wisconsin leaders.