A Golden Year

Cel­e­brat­ing 50 years of 4-H lead­er­ship

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CON­NIE CONNOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com Fol­low me on Twit­ter @con­nie_s­tar­dem.

EAS­TON — To­day marks the be­gin­ning of Na­tional 4-H Week, but it’s been a golden year for two Tal­bot County 4-H lead­ers.

Carol Framp­ton and her sis­ter, Linda Brown, are cel­e­brat­ing 50 years of lead­ing the Green Clover 4-H Club in Eas­ton.

Life­long 4-Hers, the women have de­voted count­less hours since 1968 coach­ing and guid­ing three gen­er­a­tions of kids who ap­pre­ci­ate hard work and the lead­er­ship skills they know will help them be suc­cess­ful in life. Cur­rently, the club has 22 mem­bers.

“They’re ex­cel­lent,” said Aidan Steinly, a se­nior at Eas­ton High School, as his fel­low mem­bers nod­ded in agree­ment. “They helped me with my sewing projects and pub­lic speak­ing. They push me at ev­ery meet­ing, and I get to prac­tice ev­ery time I come to a meet­ing.”

His projects have been based in medicine, a sub­ject he wants to pur­sue in col­lege. His project fo­cus this year was skin can­cer.

4-H pushed him to go be­yond his school re­search project to ed­u­cate the pub­lic, he said.

“When I think of 4-H, usu­ally I think about sewing and farm work and live­stock and all that. But re­ally, you can do projects in any­thing you want,” Steinly said. He’s one of five high school se­niors in the club.

War­ren Clem, pres­i­dent of War­ren’s Wood Works in Eas­ton is a former mem­ber of the club. “It was time well spent,” Clem said. “(4-H) teaches re­spon­si­bil­ity. It’s a won­der­ful pro­gram, and you can go as far as you want with that or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Framp­ton and Brown were “very re­spon­si­ble, very en­cour­ag­ing lead­ers,” said Clem, who was a mem­ber in the 1970s and early

1980s. “They kept you en­gaged.” Did Clem learn lead­er­ship skills? “Oh, ab­so­lutely,” he said.

“Carol Framp­ton and Linda Brown are ded­i­cated, in­spi­ra­tional 4-H club lead­ers,” Tom Hut­son said. He’s the 4-H Youth De­vel­op­ment Ed­u­ca­tor for Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion’s Tal­bot County Of­fice.

They “have en­hanced the lives of count­less youth through­out their five decades of vol­un­teer ser­vice with Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion,” Hut­son said. “Carol and Linda men­tor youth ages 5 through 18 and cre­ate hands-on learn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that help club mem­bers learn es­sen­tial con­tent and life skills.”

“It is dif­fi­cult to imag­ine Tal­bot

4-H with­out the lead­er­ship of Carol and Linda,” Hut­son said. “They serve as ex­pert club lead­ers, play a cru­cial role in the suc­cess of the Tal­bot County Fair, plan and im­ple­ment the an­nual 4-H fash­ion show and visual pre­sen­ta­tion event, and even pre­pare youth for suc­cess at the county, state, and even na­tional lev­els.”

A Fam­ily Af­fair Brown and Framp­ton are the mid­dle two of the four Saathoff sis­ters who grew up on a farm near Cor­dova. All were mem­bers of the Lewis­town 4-H Club led by Caro­line Hutchi­son.

Framp­ton started the Green Clover 4-H Club in Septem­ber

1968, and Brown came home on Fri­days from the Univer­sity of Mary­land to help out.

“I loved 4-H, and I wanted to give back,” Framp­ton said. Ex­ten­sion agent Ralph Ad­kins en­cour­aged her to start up the club.

“Linda’s daugh­ter Amanda and her hus­band Sean Clougherty serve as ac­tive club vol­un­teers and sup­port Tal­bot 4-H in many ways,” Hut­son said. “Their young chil­dren Daniel and An­nette love the 4-H life­style, and I am sure that as they near adult­hood they will be in train­ing to serve as a third gen­er­a­tion of Green Clover

4-H Club lead­ers.”

“It’s a fam­ily af­fair,” Lou Diefend­er­fer of Trappe said. She’s Karli Ab­bott’s grand­mother and a 4-H alum­nus her­self. “And I have never seen them lose their tem­per.”

“They’re kids,” Brown said. Grow­ing up in a rel­a­tively poor farm­ing fam­ily — “We were poor in money but not in spirit — ex­ten­sion agent Mr. Ralph Ad­kins re­ally be­lieved in us,” Brown said. “He would come out to the farm, and we would do wa­ter­melon test plots and tomato patches and what­not. He was such a mo­ti­va­tor. That’s how we all got started.”

“Well, when you have cows, there’s no travel. I had never been on a plane, and my old­est sis­ter won the trip to Chicago (to the Na­tional 4-H Congress,” Brown said. As her fa­ther was get­ting up straw, “Mr. Ralph came out in the field and said, ‘Mr. Benny, I’ve got some­thing to tell you. Your daugh­ter has won a trip. She’s go­ing to go to Chicago.’”

“Mr. Ralph would say, ‘He pushed that straw hat back and just grinned from ear to ear,’” Brown said. “It was amaz­ing. Each one of us earned that same ex­pe­ri­ence. We would never have been on an air­plane, we would have never trav­eled out­side of Tal­bot County.”

Brown went on to at­tend the Chicago congress, vis­ited the White House in the early 1970s and was in­ducted into the Lodge of the Thou­sand this past sum­mer. “It’s a real pres­ti­gious group of 4-H All-Stars,” she said.

The 4-H Way

That 4-H iden­tity is a sim­ple for­mula: “Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four Hs in

4-H, and they are the four val­ues mem­bers work on through fun and en­gag­ing pro­grams,” ac­cord­ing to 4-h.org.

4-H is “the na­tion’s largest youth de­vel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion,” ac­cord­ing to 4-h.org. “4-H pro­grams em­power nearly six mil­lion young peo­ple across the U.S. through ex­pe­ri­ences that de­velop crit­i­cal life skills.

Brown be­lieves learn­ing to sew is “STEM all the way. You’re do­ing math, you’re ap­ply­ing that reading and math to a real sit­u­a­tion, you’re al­ter­ing that sit­u­a­tion to make it fit to your needs, whether it be aes­thet­i­cally or fit or what­ever. So sewing … is a very in­tri­cate process.”

Sev­eral of the Green Clovers’ sewing projects are cur­rently on dis­play un­til Oct. 20 at the “Mak­ers of To­mor­row Ex­hibit” at the Fiber Arts Cen­ter of the East­ern Shore in Den­ton.

4-H traces its roots to 1902, when A.B. Gra­ham started a youth pro­gram in Clark County, Ohio.

The Green Clovers seem­ingly do it all. Most are in­volved in com­pet­i­tive pub­lic speak­ing and visual pre­sen­ta­tions (for­merly known as demon­stra­tions), sewing and art projects, nutrition and re­search, as well as ser­vice projects in the com­mu­nity.

They per­fect projects and record books, en­cour­age each other, men­tor younger mem­bers and ap­ply what they have learned to their school work and re­la­tion­ships. Their motto is am­bi­tious: “Make the best bet­ter.”

“I re­mem­ber tak­ing out this one line (of stitch­ing) and tak­ing that ex­tra 10 min­utes to make it per­fect,” Aidan Steinly said. “I can put that into my school work now. If I write a pa­per and it’s av­er­age, I think, hey, maybe if I take five more min­utes on it, I can make it just a lit­tle bit bet­ter and get that bet­ter grade.”

Ab­bott joined the club when she was 7 years old. The Eas­ton High School sopho­more is the cur­rent grand cham­pion in the con­structed gar­ment cat­e­gory at the 2018 Mary­land State Fair.

“Miss Carol” and “Miss Linda” — as they are known to club mem­bers — spend count­less hours from Jan­uary to May guid­ing mem­bers in their sur­pris­ingly so­phis­ti­cated sewing projects. With ma­chines set up at the Framp­ton home, 4-Hers and par­ent vol­un­teers share their skills and en­cour­age­ment on am­bi­tious projects.

Brown es­ti­mates “98 per­cent” of the mem­bers sew, even at­tract­ing those from other clubs who want to learn and com­pete.

“When you watch th­ese kids grow from (easy to more dif­fi­cult gar­ments) and go on in­ter­na­tional trips, … it keeps you go­ing,” Framp­ton.

Club mem­ber Rebekah Lank­ford re­cently re­turned from spend­ing her sum­mer as a 4-H ex­change stu­dent in Ja­pan. 1982, War­ren Clem was an in­ter­na­tional for­eign ex­change stu­dent to Switzer­land.

“4-H def­i­nitely has im­proved my con­fi­dence a lot,” said Elaina Steinly, an Eas­ton High School fresh­man. “In third or fourth grade, I was re­ally, re­ally shy. I’m still a lit­tle shy, but it’s got­ten bet­ter.”

Lilly Catlin said “ran­dom in­ter­view ques­tions” she’s been asked in job and col­lege in­ter­views are not in­tim­i­dat­ing now. Ex­tem­po­ra­ne­ous speak­ing has pre­pared her “for life,” she said.

Mad­die Principe said she rec­om­mends 4-H to build lead­er­ship skills. “I used to be a re­ally, re­ally shy kid, and I still am,” but in group projects at school, she’s no longer sit­ting on the side­lines, “let­ting oth­ers fig­ure things out” and telling her what to do.

“My role shifted from be­ing that per­son that fol­lows orders to be­com­ing a leader who gives out the orders now,” Principe said. “It’s taught me to take com­mand when no­body else is. I al­ways give ev­ery­body a chance.”

Aidan Steinly said his 4-H ex­pe­ri­ence in pub­lic speak­ing helped him place fourth in pre­pared speech in the state, first in the county and first in the dis­trict dur­ing 2018. “I re­mem­ber be­ing ter­ri­fied the first time I spoke in front of judges,” he said.

4-H has changed over the years. “When any­body heard ‘4H’ they’d think you have to have a cow or a chicken, but now we try to impress on kids that it’s that, plus any­thing project you could pos­si­ble think of to do,” Brown said.

The sis­ters have no plans to re­tire from 4-H lead­er­ship be­cause they are en­er­gized and in­spired by their club mem­bers. “It keeps you young,” Brown said.

“Carol and Linda are help­ing to en­sure that their club will con­tinue for an­other 50 years by in­spir­ing new gen­er­a­tions of young peo­ple,” Hut­son said.

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CONNOLLY

Mem­bers of the Green Clover 4-H Club dis­play a few of their many projects re­cently at their meet­ing lo­ca­tion, Im­manuel Lutheran Church in Eas­ton. Seated, from left, are Rylee Gowen, Mad­die Principe, Natalee Gowen, Lilly Catlin and Carol Framp­ton. Stand­ing are Linda Brown, Karli Ab­bott, Aidan Steinly and Elaina Steinly.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Green Clover 4-H Club cel­e­brated 50 years of lead­er­ship by Carol Framp­ton, hold­ing cake, with her sis­ter Linda Brown on Sept. 10 at Im­manuel Lutheran Church in Eas­ton.

This clip­ping from The Star Demo­crat shows the In­ter­me­di­ate Food-Nutrition 4-H team that placed sec­ond at the 1995 Mary­land State Fair. A life­long 4-Her, Carol Framp­ton, cen­ter, is cel­e­brat­ing her 50th an­niver­sary as leader of the Green Clover 4-H Club in Eas­ton. CON­TRIB­UTED IM­AGE

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CONNOLLY

Green Clover 4-H Club mem­ber Karli Ab­bott, a sopho­more at Eas­ton High School, dis­plays her Mary­land flag quilt. She won grand cham­pion for con­structed gar­ment at this year’s Mary­land State Fair.

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CONNOLLY

Elaina Steinly mod­els the dress she made as a mem­ber of Green Clover 4-H Club. The Eas­ton High School fresh­man learned to sew un­der the guid­ance of lead­ers Carol Framp­ton and Linda Brown.

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CONNOLLY

Green Clover 4-Her Rylee Gowen, a fifth-grader at Greens­boro Ele­men­tary School, ex­plains how she made her four sea­sons can­dle craft project. An­other craft project of a barn she con­structed won a cham­pion rib­bon at the Caro­line County Fair.

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