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 Jack Heller in the 4-H Hall of Fame. Jack began his Extension career as a 4-H Agent in 1953 in Hardin County, Kentucky. While working on his Master’s Degree at the University of Maryland, he was a 4-H Fellow and worked for USDA. Following his Master’s, he was a 4-H Agent in Jefferson County, Kentucky, and later in St. Claire County, Michigan. In 1963, he returned to the State 4-H Staff in Kentucky as a District Leader. He received his Director’s Degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Indiana University. In 1970, he became Director of Camp Upham Woods where he served until his retirement in 1985.
The highlight of Jack’s career was being at Upham Woods. He loved the outdoors and is remembered for his creative ability to engage youth in environmental education and help them appreciate the out-of-doors. He especially found Blackhawk Island to be a great place of learning for youth. Jack had a tremendous impact on county camping programs and due to Jack’s efforts; Upham Woods was highly ranked by the American Camping Association.
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.