A Golden Year
Celebrating 50 years of 4-H leadership
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.