Ninety-six-year-old Helen Kallenberger was 16 when she joined 4-H in her hometown of Box Elder.
While in 4-H, she gained lots of friends and learned how to sew. It was a lesson she kept with her for her life.
She made the wedding gown that her daughter wore and was convinced to do the dresses for the entire wedding party.
Helen was honored at Friday’s 100th birthday party for Montana 4-H, as was AnnaMae Somers, who was in 4-H during the same era. She was unable to attend, but her niece, Hill County Commissioner Kathy Bessette, accepted the flowers from the reigning 4-H Queen on her behalf.
The celebration at the Bigger Better Barn drew a large crowd of present-day and past 4-H members. Many in the crowd were wearing T-shirts honoring the century anniversary. The crowd also celebrated the 90th birthday of Hill County 4-H.
Extension Agent Joe Broesder was master of ceremonies for the celebration.
In his daily work, he said, “it’s hard not to find somebody who has not been touched by 4-H, ” he said.
All over the county, he said, there are three- and four-generations of 4-Hers.
In honor of the celebration, 4-H clubs from around the county had a “cupcake war. ”
Each group made cupcakes for judges to decide which was the best. Blue Horizons club won.
Helen said knows 4-H helped her in her formative years, and she has seemed the same result in her offspring and other children she has known.
“I think it’s a great program, ” she said of 4-H.
She said young people “learn a lot of things that are passed on to others. ”
Bessette said her aunt also learned sewing in 4-H and became an excellent seamstress.
4-H became a staple for her family. Bessette said she too was a 4-Her and looks back fondly on her experience.
Her aunt had a great influence on her life, she said.
AnnaMae was Hill County clerk and recorder for many years, and when bessette was considering a run for county commissioner, she asked her aunt’s advice.
“I told her I didn’t know if I could do it, ” Bessette recalled. “She said ‘you can do it. ’”
She ran and won.