Merced 4-H Youth Development
Merced 4-H Youth Development
Merced 4-H Youth Development
University of California
Merced 4-H Youth Development

From 1923 to 1932

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Organizing 4-H - The Third Decade – 1923- 1932

Merced County 4-H Program - from narrative reports



In the agricultural clubs great interest has been shown by boys and girls at Delhi, where the State Land Settlement is established.

Three contests carried on bred heifer, egg laying, and mixed vegetable garden. All exhibited at Hilmar Community Fair and received valuable experience. Gustine sow and litter club was established by a High School teacher and was competed by the Ag Extension Service. At Los Banos a calf club was maintained. In October three days were spent at Davis where 10 Merced club winners enjoyed a visit to the farm. Club work in the future was to be conducted by the Agricultural Supervisor of rural schools. Assistance was to be rendered by the County Extension Agents when necessary.

 became Home Demonstration Agent (HDA), and Wm. H. Alison became Assistant Farm Advisor to John L. Quail, Farm Advisor.


Ada L. Robertson

The club program was started by Agricultural Supervisor of Rural Schools, Mr. Mathison, who also held the position of County Club Leader. Ten clubs were started with a total of 59 members at: Los Banos, 2 in Delhi, Gustine, Tuttle, Stevinson, Plainsburg, Fruitland, and Merced Colony. Contests included calf, egg laying, strawberry, sweet potato, chick raising, and vegetable gardening. “Club work to be successful requires constant supervision,” it was reported. The foot and mouth quarantine prevented follow-up of club work so only 5 clubs completed with 32 members. Also, owing to lack of school funds, the position Ag Supervisor was discontinued. Considering the adverse conditions, club work has come through the year with interest. The Farm Advisor stated that “the time will come when the club project will have considerable importance in the county”.sponsored the only girls’ clothing club in Merced County. This contest included making a nightgown, a pair of bloomers, simple dress. Thirteen girls in the club, in a wide range of ages, made judging of the articles difficult. Miss Delle McBride and Miss Genevieve Snyder received high scores and represented the club at the Davis Convention. This was the first year that Merced County girls were represented at the conference. Winton Farm Center took steps to establish a girls’ club in that community. Membership in girls’ clubs will be mostly restricted to the 7th and 8th grade girls.


Cottonwood Home Department

wpeA.jpg (11381 bytes) Clothing Club with girls in 1925, Assistant Farm Advisor, was placed in charge of the Agricultural Club activities. Local leaders numbered 11 compared to 2 in 1925. The membership in ag clubs totaled 50 against 22 the previous year. A total of 57 local leaders, chaperones, and members attended the club convention at Davis.


William H. Alison

Project leaders led five clothing clubs with a membership of 63. In Winton, 26 girls signed for sewing with Mrs. A. J. Cliff as organizer. One member, Sybil Nye (Crookham) was selected to attend the Davis convention. Mrs. Cliff reported that one leader could handle only 6 girls since they had never used a sewing machine or cut out garments., one for boys, and one for girls. (It appears this was the first annual camp). The summer club encampment expenses were met through club activities. The State (4-H) Leader, County School Nurse and Home Demonstration Agent were present at camp. Ray Hume of Dos Palos was camp director.

Two ag Club encampments were held at Wawona

“Girls’ clubs are an advantage to a community and next year any community having interested project leaders and assistants will be helped to start club work”, reported the HDA.



Ag clubs were active in El Nido, Athlone, Hilmar, and Cottonwood. The County Club Council became active in 1927. “Leaders must be well liked by the members,” stated the Extension Agent, “and must have a well-rounded program as follows: (a) Ag project, (b) Individual improvement, (c) Community project, and (d) Recreational and social activities”.

The County Club Council held a meeting on April 23 and planned the Annual Club Camp for June 14, 15, 16, and 17 in Yosemite Valley. The camp was a big success with 140 club members and chaperones attending. The Home Department ladies were cooks and meals were served “army style”. The club camp had become an annual institution of much value of 1927, and was an incentive to club enrollment.

The First Annual banquet and Achievement program was held with 121 members and 29 leaders receiving pins awarded by the California Bankers Association. The banquet was sponsored by the Merced City Board of Trade. Merced Lumber firm volunteered $100 to be used to pay expenses of the winners of contests (now called projects) to the Ag Club Convention at Davis.



The County Club Council members decided that the Legion Memorial hall would become a permanent meeting place. D. A. Patton was chosen president of the Council. During the year Assistant Farm Advisor, William Alison and Home Demonstration Agent, Ada Robertson, endeavored to make more effective the organization of the County Club Council.

158 members and leaders attended camp at Camp No. 9 in Yosemite Valley, June 12-15. Excellent cooperation was received from Yosemite Park Service and one feature was that of campfire talks by rangers and nature study hikes by guides. Fee for camp was $3.50 per member.



Local leaders received inspiration from a Davis training meeting. Also, a Tri County Leaders Conference was very successful this fall; 27 leaders were sent from Merced County, and all came back with help for their club work leadership.

wpeB.jpg (18510 bytes) Merced County volunteers attend training at UC Davis—1929

The Summer Camp was held at Pinecrest (Camp Sylvester was started about this time) The camp session was somewhat disturbed by the weather (rain).

The Merced Businessman’s Association sponsored the Third Annual Banquet where achievement pins were awarded to completing members.

Club enrollment was 166 agriculture with 99 completing and 177 girls enrolled with 113 completing. Local leaders are becoming more permanent and new ones are easier to find.



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This year marked the beginning of referring to club work as 4-H Club work. 1,500 people attended a 4-H Field Day, sponsored by the Ag clubs. 408 boys and girls marched in a parade all wearing club caps. There were demonstration teams, health contest, and an exhibit of 4-H dairy projects.

The annual summer camps were held in Yosemite at Camp No. 9.

Merced merchants sponsored the Annual 4-H Banquet. Mr. Frank Spurrier presented charters to 15 clubs, and achievement pins furnished by California Banker Association were awarded to members and leaders. Speaker of the evening was Professor B.H. Crocheron, Director of Extension Service, and Professor Woody Metcalf led the singing. The ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion prepared dinner with 417 people present. Award of Honor for the Year’s attendance went to Fruitland (silver cup). This year clubs have started community projects such as painting rural mailboxes, school ground improvement, home ground improvement, and community Christmas trees.


Twenty ag clubs and 24 girls’ clubs boosted the enrollment to 654. The County Club Council decided that 4-H Camp would be held in Yosemite again. One delegate from each club was selected as representative to the Camp Council, which governed the camp. 38 delegates attended the Davis trip.

The County Farm Bureau directors sponsored the first annual party for first year club members with 53 members attending. They visited Golden State Milk Products, were guests of the Farm Bureau for lunch, and guests of Joe O’Connor, manager of the beautiful new Merced Theater, at a matinee.

At the Merced County Livestock Show nine 4-H Club “excellent” dairy projects were shown. The County Club Council with 70 leaders set up project requirements, and added good growth and individual improvement projects.

Formation of a Senior 4-H Club was accomplished, with eight charter members. “This older group of members will hold social activities and the privilege of attending both camps”, according to Mr. Alison’s report.

The agricultural 4-H club work projects were valued at $9,200, or $52.28 per member. $1,147.90 was estimated for labor at a rate of 20 cents per hours. With a net profit of $3,044.96, each member netted an average of $17.30.

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4-H Club Committee recommended three items for County Club Council.



1. Improve county club council meetings2. Better instructions for leaders at clothing group meetings

3. Interest mothers in club work

There were two local fairs where 4-H participated, Hilmar and Merced Livestock Show. Merced County also had winners at the State Fair. Alfred Alberti, Rollo Spina, and Sam Paradiso -



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