Milford 4-H Club has plenty to celebrate

Club celebrates its 90th anniversary with Community Pride projects

The Milford 4-H Club’s award winning members posed during the Brown County Fair this August. Top Row: Josh Wenninger, Aaron Dewanz, Kaden Olson, Alex Wyffels, Alex Schroeder, Shawn Moldan and Brandon Wyffels. 3rd Row: Jayce Seifert, Lizzy Bianchi, Greta Bailey, Kallie Olson and Shelby Seifert. 2nd Row: Abby Bianchi, Korbin Olson and Levi Bailey. Bottom Row: Violet Hammer, Olivia Hammer, Kate Schmidt and Aubree Schmidt.

The Milford 4-H Club of Brown County is celebrating its 90th year in 2018, and to celebrate, get more involved in the community and commemorate its long heritage, the club has decided to do at least nine Community Pride projects. Nearly every club member was involved in at least one of the projects. Most club members were involved in two more projects.

The club won first place at the Brown County Fair this year with its Community Pride project exhibit. In addition, a new club banner to resemble the 150th Anniversary of the Brown County Fair logo was created. After the banner competed at the state fair, it was donated to the fair board.

In July, club members assisted with Make Someone Smile Week, helping a local florist distribute floral arrangements around New Ulm to make people smile.

Last October and November, club members collected more than 110 pounds of food for the New Ulm Area Food Shelf.

For Thanksgiving, posters were made to decorate the annual community Thanksgiving dinner at St. Mary’s Church.

At Christmas, members donated about $175 worth gifts to people in need through the Giving Tree program and Adopt-A-Family program.

In May, members collected bags of trash along the New Ulm bike trail. In addition, as it does every May, club members pulled weeds, trimmed grass and bushes and picked up sticks at the Milford Monument north of Essig, just of CSAH 29. The monument marks the site where more than 50 settlers were killed during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.

Last January, the club brought 90 donuts and cookies to the Brown County Law Enforcement Center (LEC) for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. In addition, LEC staff was thanked for protecting the community and county.

Leora Johns and her daughter Connie Neal of New Ulm, are examples of two generations of membership.

Johns was a member in the 1930s. Her Buff Ophington chicken project was grand champion at the county fair.

Neal was a 1962 4-H Style Revue Queen. She represented the group at the Minnesota State Fair. The former butter heads are Annie (Seitz) Olson representing Brown County in1995, the mother of 4-H club members Kallie, Kaden and Korbin Olson; Sarah (Olson) Schmidt, McLeod County 2002, mother of club members Aubree and Kate Schmidt; and Michelle (Dammann) Schroeder, McLeod County 1999, the mother of club member Alex Schroeder. Sarah was crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way in 2002.

Milford 4-H members were originally just Milford Township residents. The club later opened its membership to New Ulm, Courtland and Hanska residents. The club is now advertised as Brown County’s largest club with 43 members.

Other Milford 4-H Club historical nuggets:

• Decades ago, Milford 4-H club meetings were held at the Milford Town Hall, just east of Essig. It was not known when the club stopped meeting in the town hall. The club met at Washington Elementary School in New Ulm in the 1980s and 1990s. The club now meets at Christ the King Lutheran Church in New Ulm.

• The Milford 4-H club was chartered July 13, 1927. The Sleepy Eye Wide Awakes were chartered on Nov. 21, 1926, according to Brown County Extension Office records.

• The Radloff family including Hilda Fritsche, Elenora Haber, Alice Fick, Edna Sear and Herman Radloff, all siblings raised on a Home Township farm. Hilda served 49 years as club leader, retiring from the job at age 90.

• Hilda Fritsche and her sons Arlon and John have four generations of 4-H members. Arlon’s son Paul and grandsons Andrew and Daniel are members.

• The Milford 4-H Club changed its name to the Milford Cooperators due to another Milford 4-H Club starting in Brown County. After that club disbanded, the original club took its name back.

• According to county records, a group of 4-H members and families split from the Milford club in 1974 and started the Milford Country Club which was said to be very agriculturally focused.

• A Brown County 4-H softball team of men and women helped generate interest as an activity besides school and farming in the first few decades of 4-H clubs here.

• The club is looking for historical items including club memorabilia, records or anything else of historical significance. Anyone interested in sharing or donating items is asked to call Michele Schroeder at 507-276-4810.

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