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Geiger family honored for 50 years of 4-H membership

Published August 25, 2016
The 4-H Spirit Family Award goes to the Joseph and Ida Geiger family. The Geigers have had a family member in 4-H for 50 consecutive years.

URBANA, Ill. - Since 1965, there has been a descendant of the Joseph and Ida Geiger family in 4-H. This achievement was recognized Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds when the Illinois 4-H Foundation honored the Madison County family with the Illinois 4-H Family Spirit Award.

In that 50 years of consecutive membership, there have been 62 family members and spouses with 4-H affiliation for a total of 411 years of 4-H membership. Nine of the family members have served as 4-H club leaders, totaling 123 years.

The Illinois 4-H Foundation created the Illinois 4-H Family Spirit Award in 2002 to annually recognize an Illinois family who has substantially benefited from and who has been an advocate for the Illinois 4-H program over multiple generations.

“There is no doubt as to this family’s involvement, passion, and dedication for 4-H,” said Barbara Rundquist Clark, past chair of the Illinois 4-H Foundation Board of Directors. The many accomplishments include over 50 project areas of study and exhibition, 4-H camps, leadership conferences and National 4-H Congress Award trips, Clark said, as well as serving as host for a Japanese 4-H exchange student.

“Each family member has their own special memories of how 4-H benefitted them, be that developing a hobby, choosing a profession, serving as a community leader, or even in finding a spouse,” Clark said. “As diverse as each of these accounts are, there were two commonalities which run through each of their stories; 4-H was fun, and the skills learned during their years in 4-H are still used daily.”

In accepting the award, family spokesman Margaret Weis said the award application process was a “trip down memory lane, reminding us of our cherished 4-H days.”

4-H softball games hold a special fondness for the family, Weis said. In the mid-1940s, Joseph and Ida Geiger donated land which became a practice field for 4-H youth of Highland where fathers of the members would coach and practice in what once was a cattle pasture.

“I do not think my grandfather realized that patch of dirt was actually a stage where character and dreams were created,” Weis said. “Simply put 4-H prepared us for life.”

The Illinois 4-H Foundation’s mission is to build relationship to generate financial resources for Illinois 4-H. Funding from individual donors, our Illinois 4-H Project Partners, companies, and friends of Illinois 4-H help the Foundation support statewide programming initiatives along with scholarships, assistance to National events, grant opportunities, Teens as Teachers and assists us in filling funding gaps.

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About 4-H: Illinois 4-H strives to help youth learn skills for living. University of Illinois Extension provides 4-H programs in every county in Illinois. Illinois 4-H aims to impact the lives of 200,000 youth each year through sustained learning clubs and groups and short-term programming.

About Illinois 4-H Foundation: The Illinois 4-H Foundation’s mission is to build relationship to generate financial resources for Illinois 4-H. Funding from individual donors, our Illinois 4-H Project Partners, companies, and friends of Illinois 4-H help the Foundation support statewide programming initiatives along with scholarships, assistance to National events, grant opportunities, Teens as Teachers and assists us in filling funding gaps.

News Source:

Angie Barnard, 217-333-9295