Left to Right) Julie Chapin, director of MSU Extension’s Children and Youth Institute and state leader for Michigan 4-H Youth Development, recognizes Alice Kempf, of Newaygo County, among 12 4-H alumni inducted into the 2022 class of the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society, along with Jodi Schulz, interim associate director of MSU Extension’s Children and Youth Institute and interim associate state leader for Michigan 4-H Youth Development, and Matt Shane, associate director of MSU Extension and a 4-H alumnus.
Newaygo County 4-H alumna Alice A. Kempf, of Holton, is among 12 4-H alumni inducted into the 2022 class of the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society. Kempf was recognized on Sept. 30 during the Michigan 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration hosted by Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Foundation in East Lansing.
The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society honors former Michigan 4-H members whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership – extraordinary use of an individual’s head, heart, hands and health to make communities, the country and the world better places in which to live. This recognition is provided by Michigan 4-H Youth Development with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation.
Kempf has been a Newaygo County 4-H’er since the day she was born. Kempf family members, including Alice Kempf’s grandmother, mother, and today, Alice herself, have served as volunteer leaders for the Happy Hustlers 4-H Club for decades. This Newaygo County group is the oldest continuously operating 4-H club in the state, with more than a century of history. The club’s name dates back to the time when the four H’s in 4-H were head, heart, hands, and hustle.
Today, the club is still hustling, with Kempf holding weekly meetings and encouraging youth to take advantage of state, national, and international 4-H travel experiences. Kempf herself traveled to Venezuela with 4-H in 1969 and later to Jamaica with the International 4-H Youth Exchange, or IFYE, program. As a young adult, Kempf served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic and Belize, helping to establish an educational library and adopting two children from Belize when she left the country.
“4-H gave me the knowledge to try and do anything,” said Kempf. “I have learned the 4-H motto well and share it with our 4-H’ers. They are our future. With 4-H around the world, I do believe we have a bright future.”
In addition to her club leadership roles, Kempf is president of the Newaygo County 4-H Council. She has been recognized many times for her 4-H service, receiving the Newaygo County 4-H Leader of the Year Award and the Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions’ Volunteer of the Year Award. In 2021, Kempf was recognized by MSU Extension for her 50 years of volunteer service to the Michigan 4-H program.
In addition to being a committed member of the 4-H community, Kempf owns a successful organic hay farm. She has served on the Newaygo County Agricultural Fair Board for more than 20 years, serving as a fair superintendent and on many fair committees. Kempf also helped start a program that requires youth exhibitors to donate at least three hours of community service a year to the fair. Through the program, the fair benefits from hundreds of hours of youth service each year.
The Michigan 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration was hosted and emceed by MSU Extension Associate Director Matt Shane, a Kent County 4-H alumnus and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee. Also inducted into the 4-H Emerald Clover Society Class of 2022 were: Gail R. Frahm, Saginaw; Larry J. Gould, Morenci; Jon D. Hausserman, Fenwick; L. Janel Horrocks-Boehmer, Williamston; Karen Kolberg Kietzer, Stevensville; Dian M. Liepe, Pullman; Sarah J. Pion, Cassopolis; Rachael N. Ramirez, Birch Run; Melissa A. Souva, Bronson; Schawna M. Thoma, Anchorage, Alaska; and Mary J. Yeomans, Midland.
Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society members are inducted every two years. The inaugural class of 62 members was inducted in 2002 to coincide with the national 4-H centennial. For more information on the 4 H Emerald Clover Society and its members, visit www.mi4hfdtn.org/ecs.