The Madison Jr. Livestock 4-H Club which began in1957 has retired its charter. For 65 years, the club flourished in rural southwest Grant County. Its influence now spans several generations and eight decades.
“It is bittersweet to have the Madison Jr. Livestock 4-H Club come to an end, but we have made some great memories and left a lasting impact on the community,” Krecia Leddy, the club’s most recent leader, said.
The club maintained a long-standing tradition of service projects. In the past few years, you might have interacted with members as they cleaned the ditches along U.S. Highway 20 near Stockholm, delivered fruit and goodie buckets to the elderly and shut-ins at Christmas, supported the Grant County Food Pantry by holding food drives and donating funds, packed Mercy Meals, sold 4-H fruit, cleaned the Stockholm agriculture and tractor museums, served milk and ice cream at the Stockholm BBQ, and manned the 4-H malt wagon.
The club was also instrumental in sending six members to Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF). CWF is a week-long 4-H program in Washington, DC, during which high school students learn about citizenship and government and tour the nation’s capital.
Krecia, who has led the group for the last 15 years, says the club’s dissolution is due to dwindling membership. In 2007, their roster peaked at 26 members. “At one time, It was common for rural families to have all their children enrolled,” Krecia explains. All three of her kids — Kiera, Kadon, and Korbin — belonged. “But, because we cannot sustain our charter with so few numbers, the best we can do is to retire the charter.”
For most of its life, the club gathered at the Stockholm Community Center, then during the last five years, it met in Milbank with hopes of recruiting newcomers. According to Krecia, 4-H has also evolved from the traditional format. Today, more emphasis is placed on urban youth and small animal projects.
“Other 4-H clubs have also seen a decline in membership,” Krecia says. “Youth now have the option to participate in special interest clubs such as shooting sports which do not require traditional 4-H club membership.”
After the decision was made to disband, the members decided to allocate the remaining funds in their account to give back to the Stockholm community. The recent opening of the Buggy Museum in Stockholm prompted the club to coordinate with Arlo Levisen, who was a charter member of the Madison Jr. Livestock club and is now president of the Grant County Historical Society. They determined a bench would be a welcome addition to the new museum. At their last meeting, the current members delivered and donated the bench to commemorate the Madison Jr. Livestock 4-H Club and all its members and leaders. After the bench was enshrined in its new home, the 4-Hers toured the museum with Arlo and his wife, Paulette.