On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Phyllis Kerr was inducted in the Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame at Oregon State University in Corvallis. She was joined by her family, friends, and Lake County Extension Staff at a celebratory banquet. The Oregon 4-H Hall of Fame was established to recognize individuals that have had a significant impact upon the 4-H Program and/or its members and leaders.
Kerr, with great support from her husband Roy, has been a long-time champion of the Lake County 4-H Program and young people of Lake County. Kerr’s career with 4-H began as a 4H member and she has had 50 years of service as a 4-H leader, volunteer and supporter. Over her expansive tenure as a 4-H volunteer, Kerr has supported the Oregon 4-H Program at the county and state level.
Kerr served on the Lake County 4-H Leaders Association as President, Vice President and Secretary. As an officer of the Association, she supported numerous projects at the Lake County Fairgrounds, which also supports the 4-H Program and its members. Projects included the building of the kitchen area that houses the 4-H Food Booth, construction of the Static Exhibit Building and bringing electrical hookups to the area utilized by 4-H members who camp during fair. At the state level, Kerr served as a member of the Oregon 4-H Leaders Association and was elected Secretary. In addition, Kerr served as an LABO Exchange Coordinator. Her efforts supported Lake County 4-H families hosting Japanese exchange students during the summer.
Kerr displays exemplary qualities that promote positive youth development of the youth she supports tirelessly. A past co-leader of Goose Lake Livestock Club summarizes Phyllis’ attributes, “She goes above and beyond to help members that need an extra hand and guidance. She often functions as the surrogate grandparent and has members working on numerous projects at her house or getting through the record books. She is generous in donating her time and materials even after her children and grandchildren have been out of the program. Phyllis sets high expectations for the kids she works with. They are to be courteous, take pride in their projects, and do everything to the best of their ability. She demonstrates the same qualities herself. Every member who is in Phyllis’ club knows they can count on her and that she will be their biggest supporter and advocate, watching every show, supervising pen cleaning on those early mornings and being there as the project comes to a close.”
Phyllis and a fellow 4-H leader developed the Jama Harms Memorial scholarship in 1995. They developed a sustainable funding system to have a donated lamb auctioned annually at the Lake County Market Sale to perpetuate the fund. Since the scholarship’s inception in 1996, over 75 Lake County 4H graduates have benefited and over $100,000 has been raised/awarded.
During the 2018 Lake County 4-H Recognition Ceremony held during County Fair, Phyllis was recognized for her 50 years of service as a Lake County leader. In addition, Phyllis was awarded the “Friends of 4-H Award.” The Lake County 4-H Association has established this award to commend those businesses and individuals in Lake County that stand in support of the 4-H youth of Lake County and the Lake County 4-H programs.
The Lake County 4H program engages youth through in-school, club based and short term opportunities to support youth to reach their fullest potential. The Lake County 4-H Program is delivered by Oregon State University Extension Service.
For more information, please contact the OSU Extension Service at 541-947-6054.