Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Oct. 2, 2000

The changing face of 4-H

By Lynda Jensen




Arts and crafts.

Animals and plants.

Sound like 4-H? Most would say not, but nowadays, being part of 4-H doesn't mean you have to own a cow and live on a farm.

4-H includes a spectrum of subjects, both modern and traditional in nature, according to Bernadette O'Rourke of the University of Minnesota Extension Office.

Currently, 400 young people from McLeod County participate in 4-H.

Locally, 4-H'ers enjoy fellowship and encouragement from a framework of volunteers that are willing to give their time and attention to young people.

Teaching an old dog new tricks

Veteran 4-H member Lynn Otto decided to teach her 7-year-old dog, Sammy, basic obedience for her 4-H project this year.

Otto is the 14-year-old daughter of Stephen and Dawn Otto, Winsted. She attends 4-H as a Jolly Junior in Winsted.

Otto worked every week over the summer, practicing basic obedience exercises with Sammy, who is a purebred rat terrier.

For her efforts, Otto received a large purple grand champion ribbon in her class. She also received a blue ribbon at the regional level.

The obedience is an ongoing project, Otto said. Previously, she has entered flower gardening projects and food preservation, among other things.

Why did she join 4-H? Because she has fun with her friends and loves to go to camp, Otto said.

"The more involved I get (with 4-H), the more impressed I am with it," Dawn commented.

The John Deere project

Adam Foss joined 4-H this year to meet new people. He is the 15-year-old son of Robert and Donna Foss, Winsted, and a member of the Bergen Busy Bees.

Foss jumped right into his first project, which was to restore a 1940 John Deere Model B tractor.

He bought the tractor from its original owner, Wilfred Hesse of Mayer. Hesse, who is 80 years old now, was 20 when he bought the tractor brand new in 1940.

In fact, Foss' father owns a John Deere Model A tractor, much like the one Adam restored

The project took him a year to complete and earned him a trip to the state fair. The tractor is fully functional and he drove it at the Legion Days parade.

To start the project, Foss dissembled the tractor down to its axles and then checked for things that needed fixing. Some items had to be refurbished since there were no longer parts available, he said.

Eventually, he ended up replacing tires, brakes, gauges, paint, decals, spark plugs, spark plug wires, gaskets, bearings and fan brackets.

Never once did the task become a burden to him. "It was fun," he said.

For his efforts, Foss won both champion and grand champion ribbons at the county fair. He also received blue and purple ribbons at the state fair.

Next year, Foss plans to restore a 1948 AW John Deere tractor with a wide front.

To join the Bergen Busy Bees, contact 320-395-2023 or (320) 395-2922. The next meeting is Sat., Oct. 14 at Michael and Dawn Raguse. Call (320) 395-4223 for directions.

For the Winsted Jolly Juniors, contact Dawn or Lynn Otto at (320) 485-4628.

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