Brenda Allen of Ames and formerly of Montezuma is shown with her, at left, brother Eric and his daughter, Willa, and at right, her parents, Roger and Nancy Allen, who she credits for her success in life and working with youth through the ISU Extension and Outreach.
By J.O. Parker
Brenda Allen credits her 4-H experience, her club leaders, her mentors and her parents for allowing her the opportunity to try new things, to grow and learn in life. Those experiences led Brenda to a 23-year career to date in extension and outreach work with youth.
The Poweshiek County 4-H Program has named Brenda, a native of Montezuma, the 2022 Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame inductee. A spokesperson with Poweshiek County Extension noted that Brenda has exemplified outstanding service and leadership in 4-H in a way that not only honors the county, it honors the State of Iowa and the National 4-H.
Her 4-H involvement has been part of her whole life as it started with her attending 4-H events with her mother, Nancy, a former Poweshiek County 4-H agent and her father, Roger, a 4-H photography leader.
The announcement of Brenda receiving the hall of fame honor came at the Poweshiek County Fair on Thursday, July 14. She will officially be honored at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday, Aug. 21 in the 4-H Building.
“I feel very honored and touched that the Poweshiek County 4-H program thought of me,” said Brenda. “I definitely credit my 4-H experience to the leadership and communication skills in my work and everyday life.”
Brenda was a member of the Jackson Busy Bees 4-H Club and has continued throughout her career with numerous leadership positions within 4-H and ISU Extension and Outreach in Ames. She currently serves as the professional development manager for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Ames.
“One of Brenda’s first responsibilities when she was first hired by the Iowa 4-H program was to provide guidance to an elite group of 40 Iowa 4-H teenagers (Iowa 4-H Council) in their role to lead and implement the Iowa 4-H Conference (a conference that yearly attracts 800 – 1,000 teens from across the state),” noted Judith Levings, Ph.D., retired Iowa 4-H Assistant Director. “Brenda did a spectacular job at this – she had a knack that all of us (her colleagues) desired for working with adolescents, so much that she became widely viewed as the go-to “teen expert” with staff and faculty.”
Chuck Morris, retired, Iowa Director of 4-H Youth Development, shared, “Brenda was an excellent adviser to the State 4-H Council members as well as being an excellent role model for them which created many lasting friendships. She is an intelligent and dedicated extension professional.”
Kelli Tallman, ISU Extension and Outreach, Program Development and evaluation Director, shared, “Brend intentionally implements and supports positive youth development principles and practices such as being a caring adult to help foster youths’ sense of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. She values young people as tomorrow’s leaders and today’s leaders with their own unique interest, abilities and strengths. I am grateful to call Brenda a positive youth development advocate, professional and friend.”
Nancy Franz, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, ISU School of Education, said, “In Brenda’s time with 4-H as a member and IFYE exchange member, 4-H camp staff and 4-H staff state specialist, she deeply served others through youth development, volunteer development, leadership development and group facilitation. She is one of the best development and service leaders I’ve had the pleasure to work with and know.”
Marcia Tarvin, Kathy Gorsuch, Gina Urfer and Linda Iverson, Jackson Busy Bees 4-H Club leaders stated, “Brenda was such a bright shining star when she became a member of the club and was an outstanding record keeper. We knew that she would go far in her life’s career.”
Brenda Allen of Ames and formerly of Montezuma was named the 2022 Poweshiek County 4-H Hall of Fame inductee at the Poweshiek County Fair on Thursday, July 14. She is joined by two of her four Jackson Busy Bees 4-H Club leaders, Kathy Gorsuch at left and Marcia Tarvin at right, following the announcement of her induction into the 4-H Hall of Fame.