Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development is excited to announce the 2021 Hall of Fame Laureates including twelve volunteers, supporters, and staff who have impacted Wisconsin 4-H. Plans for an induction ceremony for the 2021 and 2020 laureates are in progress and will be shared with the 4-H community soon.
“This year’s laureates have each accomplished so much and I feel sincere gratitude for their contributions to 4-H youth and many years of leadership in both volunteer and staff roles,” says Matt Calvert, Wisconsin 4-H Program Leader and Director of the Institute for Positive Youth Development, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. “They have provided the sparks that ignited new interests, and supported the positive development of countless youth and volunteers. Please join me in celebrating each laureate’s generosity and passion for 4-H and their many contributions to their communities.”
The Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame was established to recognize 4-H volunteers, financial supporters, staff and pioneers who made major contributions to the 4-H movement at the local, state and national levels. The candidates represent 4-H in the broadest sense – people who had an impact on the lives of children, their community or state through significant contributions of time, energy or financial resources to 4-H and its members.
2021 HALL OF FAME LAUREATES ⦁ Lois Anderson, Barron County 4-H Volunteer and Pioneer ⦁ Barbara Barker, Retired Waushara County 4-H Youth Development Agent ⦁ Carl and Shirley Daniels, Kenosha County 4-H Volunteers ⦁ Orabelle Fisher, Manitowoc County 4-H Pioneer, In Memoriam ⦁ Brian and Kathy Holten, Barron County 4-H Volunteers; Barron County Extension 4-H Secretary ⦁ Helen O’Brien, UW Extension Drama Specialist – Pioneer, In Memoriam ⦁ Nadine Pfotenhauer, Dane County 4-H Volunteer ⦁ Robert and Mari Schmidt, Ozaukee County 4-H Volunteers ⦁ Sheila Vander Zanden, Outagamie County 4-H Volunteer
Lois Anderson Barron County 4-H Volunteer and Pioneer
Lois Anderson, a pioneer in the dog project provided leadership in Barron County and throughout WI. Lois volunteered as a 4-H Dog project leader in 1966, one year after the project started in WI. She filled that role for 50 years impacting the lives of over 2500 Barron County youth Her efforts became a model for other counties as she helped to establish dog programs in six western Wisconsin counties.
Lois’s training included beginning to advanced level. As the project progressed, Lois expanded educational experiences to Drill Teams, Dog Agility, and Dog-related career programs. She encouraged project members to publicly share their obedient dogs in local parades and events. These included demonstrations at Farm Tech Days and a drill team at the 1987 Farm Progress Days. Lois partnered with advanced dog project members to create an 8mm film showing all levels of Obedience training to be used as a reference for other counties.
In 1970, the State 4-H Office requested Lois to help plan the first statewide Dog Project Training Workshop for Project Leaders. In 1972, Barron County hosted the first State 4-H Dog Show and Lois chaired the Host Committee.
Lois was a founding and active member of the Barron County Humane Society for many years. Lois currently resides in her rural Rice Lake home with wonderful memories of her accomplishments with the dog project, which she influenced greatly.
Barbara Barker Retired Waushara County 4-H Youth Development Agent
Barb Barker served 26 years in Waushara County as the 4-H Youth Development Agent. Barb is known for her work with 4-H to increase youth leadership opportunities and establishing program opportunities with Hispanic young people.
Barb provided leadership in the development of the Tri-County Afterschool childcare program and worked with the Waushara County Prevention Council as they redefined their focus to be a resource and advocacy group for the community.
Migrant families had a special place in her heart as she grew up on a large vegetable farm with 80 Mexican families from Texas. In her professional career, Barb began working with youth at two migrant camps in cooperation with UW-Stevens Point to provide enrichment and sports opportunities. This initiative was instrumental in Waushara Co obtaining a federal grant to continue Hispanic youth community learning opportunities.
Waushara County 4-H Leaders Association identified the need for increased youth leadership roles. Barb worked with adult volunteers to involve youth in new leadership roles. County committees began adopting the idea of youth officers and adult mentors; youth began planning day camps, becoming members of boards,; youth were engaged in the planning of cultural experiences where adults served as advisors. Barb presented this model for expanding Youth Leader Roles in 4-H at the National 4-H Agents’ Conference.
Barb is an avid gardener and active in the Quilt Guild which is involved with several Community service projects.
Carl and Shirley Daniels Kenosha County 4-H Volunteers In Memoriam of Shirley Daniels
Carl and Shirley Daniels impacted the development of youth in Kenosha County and across the state for over 60 years. Shirley’s experience began as a 4-H youth in Racine County. Carl and Shirley married in 1954. Even before their seven children joined 4-H, Carl and Shirley became Brighton Explorers 4-H club leaders. Shirley wanted her children involved in 4-H because she knew that the program instilled youth with knowledge, leadership and service opportunities. Together they served as general leaders for 25 years and clothing project leader for 50 years. Both impacted the county program! Carl grew the dairy club membership, doubling the number of members and animals shown. Shirley initially taught sewing at the club level and then as the countywide sewing leader, organizing and leading sewing workshops for hundreds. As a result of her leadership, Shirley was appointed 4-H clothing superintendent at the fair and instructed sewers as a county fair judge for over 30 years. Shirley later served as Kenosha County’s first 4-H Staff Assistant. Carl served as a Director of the Kenosha County Fair and Advisor to the Wisconsin State Fairest of the Fairs competition. Both were community leaders beyond 4-H. Carl served in leadership roles for Farm Bureau, AMPI, agricultural boards (ASCS) and bank director for Marine/Bank One. Shirley served as the first female President of the Westosha Central School Board, spearheading the first significant high school expansion in over 30 years that included a new gymnasium, cafeteria, music, and computer rooms. Known as doers; their leadership impacted many Kenosha County families, organizations, and communities beyond Extension.
Orabelle Fisher Manitowoc County 4-H Pioneer In Memoriam
Orabelle Fisher, 4-H pioneer and lifelong friend of Extension. Raised on a dairy farm in Cleveland, WI and the oldest of five siblings, she learned responsibility and the value of hard work. Orabelle’s connection with 4-H began as a club general leader and foods leader for the Liberty Go-Getters in the 1950’s. She was the 4-H Leaders Council treasurer and later a member of the State 4-H Leader’s Board. Beyond 4-H, Orabelle was active on the County Extension Program Planning Committee and Extension Homemakers; where she was a national vice-president. Orabelle’s 4-H and Extension Homemakers involvement in the 1950’s-60’s laid the foundation for her lifelong community service. In an interview at age 100 she said, “Extension helped me. I could not have done any of those later things had it not been for Extension.” In 1978, she received the Friends of Extension Award. Orabelle led the charge on issues which resulted in benefiting families and communities. Orabelle’s journey from 4-H leadership to broader community service was an inspiration to many 4-Hers and Extension staff. She was a founding member of Wisconsin Women For Agriculture; testifying in Madison and Washington, D.C. for changes in the inheritance tax laws. She also worked to bring a medical facility to Valders. In her golden years, she provided transportation and visitation to the elderly (drove until age 97!). Orabelle passed away December 2020 at age 102. A 4-H pioneer, who, right along with the youth, learned leadership through 4-H and applied it throughout her life. Orabelle’s response during a 1957 Farm Journal feature story about her leadership, “It’s thinking of the other person until you forget yourself.”
Brian and Kathy Holten Barron County 4-H Volunteers; Barron County Extension 4-H Secretary In Memoriam of Kathy Holten
Kathy Holten, a lifelong 4-Her and Brian Holten, “green” by marriage, are the epitome of 4-H. As a youth, Kathy was in the Peppy Pals 4-H Club. Brian and Kathy, high school sweethearts, married in 1978, the same year Kathy started working as the Barron County Extension 4-H Secretary. When their son started 4-H in the Country Siders 4-H Club, Kathy became the Cloverbud leader and Brian helped coach the club’s softball team.
Kathy made 4-H her life, professionally for 32 years as 4-H Secretary and personally as general leader for over 15 years, President of the Adult Leaders Association and multiple other committees. While Brian may have married into 4-H, his love of 4-H continues, even after Kathy’s untimely death in 2012. With grandkids in 4-H, he is currently finishing up his most recent term as the Leaders Association President and still runs the 4-H softball program! Brian and Kathy, along with their four sons, were voted Barron County 4-H Family of the Year in 2000.
Brian and Kathy’s contributions to the 4-H program are about relationships and opportunity. While Brian continues to give back, Kathy’s legacy lives on through the Kathy Holten Memorial Scholarship providing financial support to youth who love 4-H as she did.
Helen O’Brien, UW Extension Drama Specialist – Pioneer In Memoriam
Helen O’Brien, Spring Green, WI, was instrumental in creation of Wisconsin State 4-H Drama Company and 4-H Showcase Singers. Helen fostered the love of theatre and performing in 4-H youth from the 1960’s – 1980’s. She served as the UW-Extension Drama Specialist and Assistant Professor of Arts Development for University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She mentored and directed 20 youth musicians and actors, members of the State Music and Drama Troupe. Together they created a performance presented throughout the state including the Wisconsin State Fair.
Helen traveled the state facilitating music and drama workshops introducing youth to the arts. Helen helped 4-H clubs as they developed their plays and skits. She provided guidance and feedback to youth on how to bring characters to life, make easy costumes and create memorable stage backdrops & props.
When the National 4-H Center built the theater on site in Chevy Chase, Maryland, they consulted with Helen. Her expertise influenced the theater design, ensuring an open concept for audience engagement and view.
Helen was known as a wonderfully colorful, extremely creative, and kind woman, who impacted many lives through her work. People remember Helen inspiring youth, “Acting is a gift you make of yourself to the audience.”
Nadine Pfotenhauer Dane County 4-H Volunteer
Nadine Pfotenhauer’s 4-H roots started in 3rd grade in Dakota County, MN and have grown to enrich the lives of youth ever since. For the past 25 years she’s served as a club leader with the Diligent Doers in Dane County enthusiastically shepherding Cloverbuds and guiding confident youth to take on club and county leadership roles.
Her dedication helping others learn to sew sparked the interest of the 250 County Fair Youth Day participants for many years. She is a dedicated Dane County sewing leader. Nadine’s steadfast efforts promoting 4-H tripled club membership and touched the lives of thousands of Dane County youth through her outreach.
Nadine’s volunteer efforts with the Madison Public Library System for over 30 years helped raise over $900,000 through book sales for library furnishings, books and children’s programming. For 17 years, Nadine served as a volunteer teacher in AWANA clubs and cooked for AWANA summer camp.
Nadine has recruited many 4-H graduates to return as volunteer leaders. Nadine meets young and old where they are at with patience, encouragement, and wisdom to help bring out their hidden talents.
Robert and Mari Schmidt Ozaukee County 4-H Volunteers
Bob and Mari Schmidt epitomize teamwork and dedication to 4-H. Their involvement began as parents. This quickly led to Project Leadership, first in sheep, then poultry and finally the goat project. Bob served as Vice President on the 4-H Leaders Board. In 1990, they became Co-General Leaders and Mari started the club’s newsletter.
They initiated the Adopt-a-Highway Program and partnered with the Pineview Wildlife Rehab Center to educate the 4-H members and support the Rehab Programs.
Bob and Mari provide leadership to the 4-H Livestock Association as county sheep leaders and barn superintendents. Mari solicits donations for 4-H Livestock Awards and they assist with the Auction. They were instrumental in starting the Small Animal Blue Ribbon Auction for poultry, rabbits and goats and turning it into a Scholarship Program. They received the Ozaukee 4-H Leadership Recognition Award.
Bob is a member of the Ozaukee County Fair Board. Both are active in their church and Optimist Club. They strive to know and encourage each project member! Together they’ve shared 66 years of leadership with the Ozaukee County 4-H youth!
Sheila Vander Zanden Outagamie County 4-H Volunteer
Sheila Vander Zanden’s volunteer spirit has provided leadership and enthusiasm to youth and adult volunteers for 30 years. She has served in multiple leadership roles: organizational leader, project leader, resource leader, and leader association officer.
The American-Iraqi School Partnership was Sheila’s most rewarding 4-H project. In 2008, she worked with club members and county youth leaders to collect over 27,000 pounds of textbooks to send to Baghdad at the request of a 4-H alumnus serving in an Army Civil Affairs Unit in Iraq.
County contributions include providing leadership to restructure the county officer training program and starting a President’s Club to give club officers more confidence in their roles. Sheila and her husband helped to create a 4-H graduate scholarship program in Outagamie County. Sheila was instrumental in starting the Outagamie County 4-H Outreach Committee to educate the public about 4-H. You can find Sheila scheduling, recruiting, and emceeing the 4-H Action Center at the Outagamie County Fair. Sheila gives her all into every project or event that she takes on. She is always striving to “make the best better.”