South Dakota Association for Family and Community Education

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South Dakota Association for Family and Community Education

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The work in home economics extension has from the outset been organized largely on a neighborhood or community basis, with counties having anywhere from one to several individual clubs. When communities had several well-established local home demonstration clubs, a county demonstration council was organized, made up of representatives from the local clubs. One of its main functions was to advise the home demonstration agent in shaping the county program and plans. There was also a state council of home demonstration clubs. The state council usually held its annual meeting during the State Farm and Home Week. From this committee, suggestions for the work of the succeeding year are sent to all county councils. / Farmers' Institute was a program held by universities featuring lectures dealing with farm and home topics. Every institute made homemaking a large part of the program allowing women to share with the men the full benefits of the lectures and discussions. Community clubs of rural women, who belonged to the Farmers' Institute, preceded Extension clubs in South Dakota. These community clubs supplied their own programs and they met in rural churches or in larger homes. / Venia Keller was appointed as the first women Extension worker after the Smith Lever Act of 1914 was enacted. The work of the first Extension specialists was almost entirely in connection with Farmers' Institute and homemakers’ clubs but some demonstrations were given at county fairs. With very few exceptions each group had a woman member who demonstrated and lectured on some phase of food preparation. In 1918 there were many changes. Work in foods consisted of preservation and conservation; and poultry raising and child feeding were adopted as topics for the specialists. During World War I the Federal Food Production Act provided money for the employment of county home demonstration agents. All of these agents worked with the Food Administration during the war. Their projects included saving wheat, fats and sugar, and the use of meat substitutes and canning campaigns. During the summer special demonstrations were given on uses for cottage cheese. / The 1920's began with plans for holding nine demonstrations of foods and nutrition for organized homemaker's clubs in four counties. More and more home demonstration agent districts were being added. Leader training meetings in foods and nutrition were initiated. In 1923 the nutrition program was broken up to include three food, three clothing, and three home management meetings. During the late 1920's Mary Dolve supervised a drive to find out what the needs of the homemakers were concerning foods and nutrition. Questionnaires were sent to 875 clubs and discussions were held at training schools and local meetings. Extension specialists received a fair indication of what they could do to help the homemakers. / In 1928 money was made available for expansion of home extension work through the Capper-Ketcham Act, which meant that home agents served only three counties instead of four. The founding meeting for the South Dakota Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs was on September 12, 1928 at the State Fair grounds. Mrs. Perry Clifford of Cresbard was named chairman. The first organizational meeting was held during the Farmer's Short Course in February, 1929. Nineteen official delegates from fourteen counties voted to make the Federation a reality and a constitution was adopted. Two yearly meetings were held: a business meeting during the State Fair and an education meeting during Farm and Home Week at South Dakota State University. Individual clubs were encouraged to join. / The purpose of the state council was to exchange ideas about homes and the Extension Service did their part by offering educational materials and planning help. Early projects of the Federation included contests, which supplemented the educational lessons of the clubs. A state wide contest included publicity, awards for poultry and egg recipes; and ironing, bread baking, and vegetable preparation contests. / During the depression of the 1930's, the council managed to stay active by holding district meetings in four areas of the state. This allowed members to attend meeting without having the added expense of travel. In the 1940's, the Farm and Home Week was discontinued, so speakers and demonstrators for that event spoke at the district meetings instead. In 1950, the first money-raising project was begun. Clubs contributed funds to bring an exchange student from Germany to South Dakota to study home economics and extension at South Dakota State University for one year. Extension clubs have also contributed money to the Crippled Children's Hospital and the South Dakota Art Museum. / During the 1970's a new policy was developed and each meeting was to be planned separately by local leaders. The chief function of the meeting is to strengthen county participation, promote the projects and activities of the Council, and foster old and new friendships. / While the council has changed its name over the years from South Dakota Home Demonstration Clubs to South Dakota Home Extension Homemakers Clubs and eventually South Dakota Community & Family Extension Leaders, the main purpose has basically remained the same: to promote the improvement of home and community life.


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