OSGOOD — The Osgood Jolly 4-H Club was started in 1967, by three mothers: Marie Bergman, Theckla Recker and Mildred Winner.
This year the club turned 50, under the leadership of Advisors Patty Meiring, of Osgood, and Courtney Schemmel, of Maria Stein. In the past 50 years, there have been 42 female advisors, ranging from two to five advisors per year. The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth, through hands-on learning programs and a positive youth development approach. The Osgood Jolly 4-H Club is keeping those goals in tact, according to Meiring. This is her sixth year as advisor for the club, of which there are 12 members, coming from Marion Local and Versailles school systems. Two of the members are her children.
That is kind of how the club survives, she explained. It is usually the mother, a sibling and or former members that show an interest in keeping the club alive, such as co-advisor Courtney Schemmel, who was a 10-year member. This is her third year as advisor.
“I came back because my youngest sister is in the club,” Schemmel said. “This is the club I grew up in, and had all kinds of fun in when I was their age. I didn’t want to see it go away. It is also a way to be involved in the community again.”
Another thing that keeps the club going is staying open to the changing times. Some of the changes in the club have been a diversification in the activities, according to Meiring.
“Years ago, you saw more kids doing sewing projects,” she said. “Now that has taken a fall, as they don’t pass that trait onto the kids much anymore.”
Schemmel remembers her grandmother and a seamstress, helping her with 4-H sewing projects. The boys did projects, such as woodworking.
“The parents are saying to the boys, ‘If you are going to learn something, you might as well learn to cook’, Meiring said. “And more girls are doing (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) STEM projects and woodwork.”
“We are very fortunate to have a very good group of kids, and most of these kids we’ve known since they were little,” Schemmel said. “I think half of them live on the same country block that I grew up on. They are just a fun group to interact with, and they are all very smart.”
Caitlynn Schemmel, Courtney’s sister and a six-year-member, said she enjoys 4-H because of the ability to learn new things, such as canning vegetables. Member Clarissa Hutchinson agreed that 4-H is an opportunity to have different experiences. She especially enjoyed a blind speaker, who shared how he has adapted to his blindness. In addition to personal projects, each year the club participates in at least one community service project. The last couple of years they have done yard work for local senior citizens and cleaned up the community park. For many years they have handed out paper poppies for donations, for the Osgood American Legion Ladies Auxiliary. This year they gave out 175 poppies, of which all of the donations went to the Honor Flight Network.
Rhonda Williams, County Extension Director, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Darke County, supplied a brief list of the older 4-H clubs in the county.
“This is not all of the clubs that are currently active in Darke County – just a few to give you an idea,” she said.
The oldest club is Jackson Friendship, 94 years; Darke County Beef, 82 years; Darke County Holstein, 70 years; Darke County Sheep & Lamb, 63 years; Patterson Patchers, 63 years; Jr. Nifty Neave, 62 years; Versailles Busy Beavers, 61 years; Greenville Rangers, 58 years; Silver Hoofs, 58 years; Blue Angels, 46 years; Canine Capers, 45 years; Tailwaggers, 45 years; Darke County Swine, 45 years; Ansonia 4-H, 44 years and Horse & Rider, 40 years.
Osgood Jolly 4-H Club recently had a celebration honoring its 50th year. At the August meeting, members invited all 40 of the past advisors back for cake and an ice cream social to celebrate the milestone. The past advisors shared memories and gave advice to current members. And while the originators of the club have since passed away, their intent lingers on. A few years ago, while cleaning the estate of a founder Theckla Recker, the “Jolly 4-Hers Song” was found in her piano bench, written by the original members in 1967. It is sung to the melody of “Oh My Darling Clementine”.
“We’re the Jolly 4-Hers, we meet in Osgood, Ohio, every two weeks on Wednesday evenings, to pin, baste and sew. You will find us with our scissors, needles, thimbles and our tapes, working hard on all our projects, which to the fair we will take. My dear mother is delighted for I’m learning to sew, I can mend all my own clothes now, and darn all my own hose. And my father is so happy, for the budget I’ll help stretch. When I make my own clothes, save dough, by the batch. We are grateful to our leaders, extension workers and the rest, who try to make 4-H in our country the best. Now the Jolly 4-Hers bid one and all a fond adieu. Hoping to see you all next year at the fair and we do mean you.”
The Osgood Jolly 4-H Club meets the second Sunday of each month, 7 p.m., at the St. Nicholas Church basement, in Osgood.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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