Betts inducted into 4-H hall of fame

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JEFFERSON, Ohio – Mildred Betts and the late Arthur Betts were inducted into the Ashtabula County 4-H hall of fame.

Mildred Betts, escorted by her grandson, Brandon Smith, received a standing ovation from the crowd of 4-H advisors at the 4-H Advisor Banquet Nov. 9.

“I wish Arthur could have been here to see this,” she said after receiving the award.

Each year the Ashtabula County 4-H Committee nominates past or present 4-H advisors for their involvement and service to the 4-H program. Betts received a plaque and her photo will be displayed on the 4-H Hall of Fame in the OSU Extension office.

A nomination will also be submitted for the Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame in Columbus.

Life-long commitment. The 4-H program was a focal point for Arthur and Mildred Betts as teenagers, as a young married couple, as parents with their own family and finally as a retired couple with grandchildren.

Mildred first joined 4-H in Wayne Township in 1932 and walked several miles to the sewing club meetings. She went to the Ohio State Fair with a complete costume after her sophomore year of high school and then to club congress as a junior in high school.

She was a camp counselor at Camp Peet in 1939 and started a fancy work club (crocheting, knitting and embroidery) for young girls in Wayne.

Arthur was already an Andover area 4-H vegetable and calf club leader as a young adult and a camp counselor at Camp Peet. They were both active in the Service Club, which had monthly meetings in Jefferson.

The Service Club was primarily for older 4-Hers who served as camp counselors and also helped at the county fair just as our present day Junior Fair Board.

Arthur and Mildred were both active participants in the selection of Camp Whitewood in Windsor as the county 4-H camp. They planted trees by the driveway and helped to construct the first building on the camp site, the dining hall.

When they were married in June of 1941 they spent part of their first summer together as counselors at Camp Whitewood.

Family involvement. When the couple’s four children were ready for 4-H, Arthur served as a leader for the Andover Milk Sloppers 4-H dairy club, and Mildred was the leader of the sewing and cooking club called the Andover Cute Cutters.

But 4-H was not the only community activity at the Betts home. The family were active members of the Andover United Methodist Church and served for many years as Sunday school teachers and Arthur as Sunday School superintendent.

Mildred played the piano and helped with the junior choir for many years.

The couple was active in Farm Bureau, Andover Grange, the Ashtabula County Antique Engine Club and Arthur was an honorary and founding member of the Laker Ruritan Club.

In later years, they continued to be active in the Service Club and began to collect items of historical significance regarding early 4-H and camping in the county.

Lasting contribution. Probably their most lasting contribution was the importance with which they regarded 4-H.

The second generation of their family were 4-H members, camp counselors and leaders and now the third generation of their family has also been 4-H members, camp counselors and the dean of men for Ashtabula County 4-H Camp at Camp Whitewood.

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