Wisconsin 4-H inducts 12 into 2021 Hall of Fame

Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame

A dozen volunteers, supporters, and staff who have impacted Wisconsin 4-H will be inducted into the 2021 4-H Hall of Fame.

Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development officials say plans for an induction ceremony for the 2020 and 2021 laureates will be announced at a later date.

“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 Co. 4-H Volunteer and Pioneer—A pioneer in the dog project, Anderson provided leadership in Barron County and throughout WI. She volunteered as a 4-H Dog project leader in 1966, one year after the project started in in the state and 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.

Barbara Barker, Retired Waushara Co. 4-H Youth Development Agent—Barker served 26 years in Waushara County as the 4-H Youth Development Agent. She was also known for her work with 4-H to increase youth leadership opportunities and establishing program opportunities with Hispanic young people. Barker 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. 

Carl and the late Shirley Daniels, Kenosha Co. 4-H Volunteers—The 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. Even before their seven children joined 4-H, The Daniels became Brighton Explorers 4-H club leaders. Together they served as general leaders for 25 years and clothing project leader for 50 years. Shirley served as Kenosha Co.’s first 4-H Staff Assistant while Carl served as a Director of the Kenosha C. Fair and Advisor to the Wisconsin State Fairest of the Fairs competition.

The late Orabelle Fisher, Manitowoc Co. 4-H Pioneer—Fisher was raised on a dairy farm in Cleveland, WI, Her 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. She was also a founding member of Wisconsin Women For Agriculture.

Brian and the late Kathy Holten, Barron Co. 4-H Volunteers & Extension 4-H Secretary—Soon after their marriage, Kathy started working as the Barron County Extension 4-H Secretary (for a total of 32 years). When their son started 4-H in the Country Siders 4-H Club, she became the Cloverbud leader and Brian helped coach the club's softball team. She served as a general 4-H leader for 15 years, President of the Adult Leaders Association and multiple other committees. Brian is currently finishing up his most recent term as the Leaders Association President and still runs the 4-H softball program. The Holtens, along with their four sons, were voted Barron Co. 4-H Family of the Year in 2000.

The late Helen O’Brien, UW Extension Drama Specialist - Pioneer—O’Brien of 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. 

Nadine Pfotenhauer, Dane Co. 4-H Volunteer—For the past 25 years, Pfotenhauer has served as a club leader with the Diligent Doers in Dane Co. She is a dedicated Dane Co. sewing leader. For 17 years, Nadine served as a volunteer teacher in AWANA clubs and cooked for AWANA summer camp. She has recruited many 4-H graduates to return as volunteer leaders

Robert and Mari Schmidt, Ozaukee Co. 4-H Volunteers—The Schmidt's involvement in 4-H began as parents and quickly led to Project Leadership. Bob served as Vice President on the 4-H Leaders Board. In 1990, they became Co-General Leaders. 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. They also provide leadership to the 4-H Livestock Association as county sheep leaders and barn superintendents. They were instrumental in starting the Small Animal Blue Ribbon Auction for poultry, rabbits and goats and turning it into a Scholarship Program.

Sheila Vander Zanden, Outagamie Co. 4-H Volunteer—Vander Zanden 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. She was also instrumental in starting the Outagamie County 4-H Outreach Committee to educate the public about 4-H.