Longtime volunteer helps keep 4-H modern

CLEARVIEW — Jan Bond started volunteering with Snohomish County 4-H when her children were young.

They grew up. Bond stayed involved.

Now, 47 years later, she’s still at it.

“We just live it, it’s part of our lives,” Bond said.

Bond’s dedication to the program won her a spot last year in Washington State University’s 4-H Hall of Fame. She was one of three people from Snohomish County inducted in 2011, along with Don Ballard of Everett and Nancy Franke of Snohomish.

Bond, 78, lives with her husband at the Clearview home where they raised their three children.

She began volunteering with 4-H in 1966.

“I got involved when I moved out to Snohomish County from King County,” Bond said.

The family had gotten horses. Bond’s two daughters, now in their 50s, wanted to learn how to care for them.

Later, Bond started up a 4-H program about cats, including how to show them. Until then, no cat program had existed for 4-H in Washington.

“The girls wanted to have cats in 4-H, so I wrote the program,” Bond said.

Her son participated in 4-H programs for camping, hiking and electronics, among others.

Two of Bond’s children, Lori Pehling and Robert Bond, remain active as 4-H leaders. They’re both involved in the performing-arts activities that Bond has been teaching for more than 30 years. It’s one of many current-day activities that branch out from the agriculture and animal programs which many associate with 4-H.

“What it does is give the children enough confidence to perform in front of people,” said Sue Sanderlin-Berry, the club leader and superintendent for the Snohomish County 4-H cat program.

The 4-H program began more than a century ago as a way to teach youngsters about agriculture. The name stands for the four values members work to improve: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

Today, the United States has more than 5 million members. There are active programs in more than 80 countries.

In Snohomish County, it’s run by Washington State University Extension along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the county government.

Local programs give children opportunities to pursue interests in animals, science, mechanics, model trains, beekeeping, veterinary science, food, clothing and the arts.

“We build programs around the kids’ interests,” said Jana Ferris, a WSU Extension youth-development faculty member based in south Everett.

About 550 volunteers keep those local activities going. At least 10 of them have been volunteering for about as long as Bond, Ferris said.

“We have a lot of folks in our community who are interested in sharing their talents,” she said.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, nhaglund@heraldnet.com.

Learn more

To learn more about 4-H youth programs or to volunteer, go to snohomish.wsu.edu/4H.htm or call 425-357-6044.

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