Friends of Extension recognized for their service to 4-H

November 7, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - John and Carolyn  Beck of Boone County and the program manager and staff of Shakamak State Park in Greene and Sullivan counties have been chosen as the 2013 Friends of Extension for their longstanding service to 4-H.

The awards by the Indiana Extension Educators Association were given Thursday (Nov. 7) during a luncheon at Purdue Extension's annual conference at Purdue University.

John (Wes) Beck was honored at the Indiana State Fair this year for completing 42 years of service to 4-H clubs, which includes membership on the Boone County Extension Board, the 4-H Board and 4-H Council. He also has spent the past several years serving as a state fair judge for geology and a county judge across the state for geology, forestry, wildlife and genealogy, among others.  

Carolyn Beck's volunteer work includes having a key role in designing and implementing the 4-H Microwave Cooking project in Boone County in the late 1980s and serving as the microwave cooking leader for about eight years. She was a co-leader of Fashion Revue in Boone County for eight years with daughter Marsha and assisted son Matthew as a junior leader adviser for several years.

The Becks were instrumental in a recent campaign that raised $1.2 million in private donations to accompany the $2.5 million in county government funds that resulted in a renovation of the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds. They were selected to the Boone County 4-H Hall of Fame and were awarded the honor of Boone County Friends of Extension.

"John Wesley and Carolyn Kincaid Beck have made 4-H the cornerstone of their lives," said a nomination letter by Tony Carrell, Purdue Extension youth development program specialist, and the Boone County Extension Office. "Their heads, hearts, hands and health have served Boone County and the state of Indiana throughout the years. Collectively, the couple has given 76 years as 4-H volunteers."

Shakamak State Park, near Jasonville, has been home to 4-H camps since 1931. The West Central Camping Association has convened at the park for 4-H camps each year since then.

Park Manager Robb Hogg "is attentive to details that affect our campers and works to resolve problems quickly," Rena Sheldon, association president, said in a nominating letter.

Sheldon also praised Hogg for giving the group first choice of dates each year and for providing excellent value for the 4-H camp.

In addition, the association in 2008 was granted permission to put a storage shed at the park, saving the group about $500 annually in storage costs.  

During a renovation, crews worked overtime to finish before 4-H camp began, Sheldon said. When a camp group was needed to participate in the dedication ceremonies with then-Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, Hogg and his staff chose the 4-H campers to represent the tens of thousands of youth who had camped there since 1931.

"This was a special day for the 250 youth who watched history being made at Shakamak," Sheldon said. "He and Shakamak property managers of the past have worked to build a solid partnership with 4-H campers and educators that has endured and allowed youth to grow and learn in an affordable hands-on environment for over 80 years."            

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, 

Source: Jason Henderson, 765-494-8489, 

Note to journalists: Photos of the award recipients will be available at

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

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