Nancy Allen inducted into Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame
|Nancy Allen of Montezuma was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair 4-H Building on Sunday, Aug. 23. Presenting the honor to Nancy was Dennis Goering, left, President, Iowa 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees; and Chuck Morris, right, Director, 4-H Youth Development. In the background, is Joe Leisz, Executive Director, Iowa 4-H Foundation. Allen's career in 4-H began as a youth growing up in Hamilton County, where she held many officer positions, served as a county council chair and was the fi rst county fair queen. She was also involved in the International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) program through the years, and as a young adult she spent six months in India. Allen spent 26 plus years working with ISU Extension in Poweshiek County before retiring March 1, 2005.|
Nancy Allen of Montezuma was inducted into the 2009 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the 4-H Exhibits Building at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday, Aug. 23.
Ninety Iowa counties participated this year and selected inductees for their outstanding service and dedication to 4-H. Inductees or their surviving family members were presented a plaque by the Iowa 4-H Foundation as they were introduced on stage.
Allen said she was both surprised and pleased to be inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.
“It was an honor to be recognized for 4-H being a part of my life for so many years,” she said. “Starting as a 4-H member and my mother as a leader and my work in 4-H with full involvement from my family, 4-H has certainly made a difference in our family’s lives.”
Allen began her 4-H career in Hamilton County as a member of the Clear Lake Sailors, serving in many officer positions, and at the county level as county council chair and the first county fair queen. She participated in several 4-H camps at the Iowa 4-H Center and represented her county at the State 4-H Conference.
While attending Iowa State University (ISU) as a home economics education major, Allen was an active member of the ISU Campus 4-H Club. As a young adult, she also participated in the International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) to India for six months. Living in Montezuma, Nancy continued to remain active in the IFYE Alumni Association and participated in many of their annual conferences, serving on the planning team when Iowa hosted in Decorah.
Allen began working for ISU Extension in December 1978 as a 4-H and youth leader in Poweshiek County. She worked for 26 plus years for ISU Extension, serving Poweshiek County that entire time, but as re-organizations occurred, her position changed and she also served various other counties in the area during her tenure as a 4-H Youth Development Field Specialist.
Prior to joining ISU Extension, Allen spent six years as the home economics teacher at Montezuma High School, and several years raising her two young children before returning to work.
Allen’s love of different cultures led her to help coordinate international camp at the Iowa 4-H Center, and coordinate many international activities at Montezuma and other neighboring schools. Throughout the school year, Nancy could be found in classrooms helping students explore various countries and cultures with the international kits, available through Iowa 4-H.
Allen’s pledge of better living to the world was evidenced in the environmental programming she implemented in her career. The Poweshiek/Iowa Wildside Camp was hugely popular among fifth and sixth-graders in the counties. She took advantage of various professional workshops dealing with the environment to supplement her programming within the counties. Even in her retirement, she is sometimes asked to lead a few sessions at an environmental camp.
As the 4-H and youth professional, Allen worked with the youth attending the Citizenship Washington Focus, leading the county wide workshops as 4-Hers prepared to head to the Nation’s Capital. In 1995, she implemented a five-county intermediate legislative day. This trip still takes place continuing to draw youth from five to six counties. At last count more than 550 seventh- and eighth-graders have taken part in this program.
After her retirement March 1, 2005, she has remained connected with the Poweshiek County 4-H program, helping to facilitate the Strengthening Families program. She also continues to facilitate the colors personality program for the Iowa State 4-H Council on a volunteer basis.
Counties select inductees for their exceptional work in contributing to the lives of 4-H members and the overall 4-H program. Many inductees served as club leaders, youth mentors, fair superintendents or fair board members, extension council members, county youth council members, fair judges, financial supporters, chaperones or ISU Extension staff members. The inductees have demonstrated dedication, encouragement, commitment and guidance to Iowa’s 4-H’ers through the years.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the counties and state to recognize and celebrate 4-H volunteers and staff who have shown outstanding service and dedication to Iowa’s 4-H program,” said Chuck Morris, ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development director.
The Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame was initiated in 2002 to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of 4-H. Editor's Note: J.O. Parker contributed to this article.
UPDATED September 8, 2009 2:58 PM