Teresa's mother was a home-economics agent, which is how she met Teresa's dad. Joe and his family were heavily involved in livestock showing, competing in various levels of competition.
"I never did that until I married him," Teresa said. "They were more specialized in livestock clubs and very active here in the county."
Growing up, Teresa were a member of Russell County's 4-H program and held two state offices during high school - secretary from 1981-1982 and president 1982-1983. Joe and his family was - and still are - heavily involved in Boyle 4-H livestock programs. Joe and one of his brothers went on to be livestock judges with 4-H. Now Joe and Teresa's son Logan, a senior at Boyle County High School, will likely follow in those footsteps. Teresa said they gave both Logan and their daughter Amanda the option to join 4-H.
"They have to want to do it in order to make it work," Teresa said. "Logan just attached and ran with it on the livestock end. With Amanda it's been a little different. ... She's still finding her spot."
Both Amanda, a sophomore at BCHS, and her big brother have used 4-H as a stepping stone with their FFA leadership, Teresa said. She added that it's neat to watch them "go through some of the same steps and enjoying the same activities" as she and her husband's family did years ago.
"We know they are learning lots of ... good, basic judgments - being able to make better judgments because of the activities," Teresa said.
And she believes it will stick with them for a lifetime.
"I expect (Logan) to be in some facet of agriculture, farming," she said. "He has learned how to select the most desirable animal. That's beneficial as far as breeding or meats, and to be able to present his case (regarding why that animal is best)."
There are some differences between 4-H then and now, though. The biggest, Teresa feels, is 4-H's involvement in schools. She said club meetings used to be held monthly during school. Now with strict curriculum guidelines, teachers need all the class time to teach what's required by the state, leaving little time for much else.
"I've seen it move from school clubs to outside school clubs," Teresa said. "That requires some more with families."
Volunteers also help keep the club going, Teresa said. Kim Ragland, Boyle County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development, said 4-H actually is "a volunteer organization."
"We have a great volunteer base," she said. "A lot of adults want to help kids learn. It's volunteers who are running 4-H in Boyle County. We have about 120 that are pretty active."
That volunteer base has helped keep the organization thriving for a century.
"In my judgment, 4-H was America's most successful leadership development program in the 20th century," said Scott Smith, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. "Our future depends on continuing to grow ... for the decades to come."
This year marks a century of a club that began with the concept of hybrid corn feed. The adults weren't too receptive of the idea. That's when a corn club in Fayette County was started. A group of boys each grew one acre of corn, trying to be the most efficient at the task. They reported the yield and operation costs of the project at the end of the season.
Ragland said the adults were impressed with the results. That's when the Fayette County group expanded to include agricultural-related specialty clubs in other counties. By 1939, 4-H clubs were in all 120 counties with more than 42,000 young people as members. In 2008, 233,423 young Kentuckians participated in 129 different 4-H programs, projects and camps.
Many types of programs offered
Even though 4-H's origin is rooted in agriculture, non-agricultural programs began as early as the 1930s. Today, project topics run the gamut from rocketry, domestic science and communication skills to parliamentary procedure, shooting sports and team-building skills.
"As Boyle County has become more urban and less agricultural, we have to provide more and more things for all of the young people," Ragland said. "The purpose of cooperative extension is to meet the needs of the community."