The Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inducted Muscatine County resident Becki Petersen during a virtual ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 23. 86 Iowa counties participated this year and selected 117 inductees for their outstanding service and dedication to 4-H.
Petersen has served Muscatine County 4-H as a youth, parent, volunteer, leader, and staff person. She began her 4-H career at the age of nine when she joined the Green Valley Hustlers. As a senior in high school, she served on her 4-H County Council. In her 10th and final year as a 4-H member, while a freshman at Muscatine Community College, Peterson took over as the leader of the club when the previous leader retired.
After completing her bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University and marrying, Petersen served as a substitute teacher for three years before becoming the Muscatine County 4-H County Youth Coordinator, a position she held for almost 23 years. Throughout her career, Peterson took pleasure in getting to know many people through her work. “I enjoyed the people,” she shared. “I would see names when I worked in the office and put them to faces and get to know them and help them get acclimated,” she added.
Running 4-H also kept Petersen active and engaged with the community. “It changed a lot over the years,” she remembers, remarking how the whole 4-H program transitioned from a paper to digital record keeping process during her years there. Though it required a lot of learning on her part, Petersen always valued finding new ways to continue helping Muscatine County’s 4-H members.
Of course, Petersen also looked forward to the fair each year. “I always enjoyed the fair–it was a lot of work getting ready, but it was fun when it started,” she shared. In her 27 combined years of volunteering as a 4-H leader, Petersen helped many young people prepare for county fairs.
“Becki has made a tremendous impact on the lives of many Muscatine youth in her varied roles in this organization. We are so grateful for the time, energy, and expertise she has invested in Muscatine County 4-H,” said Katrina Bostwick, current Muscatine County 4-H Program Coordinator.
Counties select inductees for their exceptional work in contributing to the lives of 4-H members and the overall 4-H program. Many inductees serve as club leaders, youth mentors, fair superintendents or fair board members, Iowa State University Extension county council members, county youth council members, fair judges, financial supporters, chaperones, or ISU Extension staff members. The inductees have demonstrated dedication, encouragement, commitment, and guidance to Iowa’s 4-H’ers through the years.
“Iowa 4-H volunteers and staff greatly impact our youth and this is one way we can recognize them for their remarkable service and commitment,” said Tillie Good, program manager, Iowa 4-H Youth Development.
For Petersen, who had spent years helping to select inductees to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame, it felt special to receive a nomination herself. “It’s quite an honor–when I worked, we’d think of people to nominate, so it’s kind of special,” she said.
The Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame opened in 2002 to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of 4-H. You can find information about previous inductees to the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame also on the Iowa 4-H Foundation website, organized by year and by county. Go to http://www.iowa4hfoundation.org/ and select “Recognition.”