Former Iowa 4-H leader C.J. Gauger, Ames, was recognized as a member of the National 4-H Hall of Fame June 26. Gauger was inducted in April, but honored locally during the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Conference last month on the campus of Iowa State University.
Induction into the National 4-H Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors given to people who have contributed to national 4-H youth programs. During his career with Iowa State University (ISU) Extension 4-H Youth Development, Gauger served on a number of national committees to explore and propose changes in the direction of 4-H youth programs. He also worked to establish closer working ties with schools, churches and other youth-serving organizations.
Gauger once said, "The greatest contribution of 4-H is the leadership, both in youth and adults, it has developed, and which has gone on to enhance the lives of themselves and others in unlimited, never-ending ways. This is the genius of 4-H."
Gauger began his career with ISU Extension as a county education director in 1947. He served as the state leader of 4-H and youth extension programs (now known as ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development) from 1959 to 1979. In addition to his contributions on the national level, Gauger was instrumental in developing the Iowa 4-H Center near Madrid and transforming the state 4-H conference into an annual event planned by 4-H members.
"C.J's belief in the power of young people's ideas as essential to lead Iowa's 4-H youth program has always been a primary motivator," Chuck Morris, interim director of Iowa 4-H youth programs, said. "He has mentored hundreds and perhaps thousands of young people, never imposing his desires for them, just offering a listening ear and wonderful, subtle challenges."
To learn more about Gauger, visit the National 4-H Hall of Fame, which exists as a virtual hall of fame, at www.nae4ha.org/hof/.