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Jim Kemp receives National Life Member award for volunteerism through U of M Extension 4-H

October 5, 2018
Jim Kemp
Jim Kemp

On Oct. 8, Jim Kemp received the National Life Member Award for volunteerism in Columbus, Ohio, given to him by the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA). The retired University of Minnesota Extension 4-H leadership member and educator has more than 75 years of experience and dedication in youth development. He is also a retired Hennepin County Extension director.

The 2018 NAE4-HA National Conference will be familiar to Kemp. He went to his first such conference as a teen in 1951 as a delegate to the National 4-H Club Congress. He has since served as the president of both the national organization as well as the Minnesota Association of Extension Agents.

Jim Kemp with large group of 4-H alumni
One of many groups at the 4-H State Ambassador Alumni 50-year reunion.

Kemp has remained active in serving and encouraging others to serve. He currently lives at the Waters on 50th, a senior living community in southwest Minneapolis, where he leads many activities.

The purpose of the NAE4-HA Life Member Award is to recognize outstanding effort and accomplishments in serving the association during their career, including their involvement, dedication and exceptional service to their community during their retirement years. Beyond 4-H, Kemp has served many other organizations, including two terms on the local Wayzata school board, with two years as chair.

Philanthropy has been another area where Kemp has made a difference for young people. Minnesota 4-H State Ambassadors serve as spokespeople for 4-H to educate youth and adults about the importance of youth development, leadership, citizenship, service, teamwork and other life skills. Kemp’s commitment to 4-H will continue beyond his lifetime through the James C. Kemp 4-H Ambassador Endowment fund. Read more in the article Jim Kemp’s gifts give boost to 4-H ambassadors.

2018 is the 50-year anniversary for the Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador program and Kemp attended a reunion of more than 600 4-H alumni and friends at the 4-H building during the Minnesota State Fair.

Jim Kemp: Lifetime highlights

Jim Kemp as a 4-H'er
Jim Kemp (upper row, second from left), 1951 4-H Health Award winners

1941: Brought to first 4-H meeting by Cecil Staver (who later became Colorado state 4-H leader) at 8 or 9 years old. Staver became lifelong friend and mentor.

1951: “I Dare You” award, National 4-H Congress National Health Winner

1955: Traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland with the International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE)

1960-61: Received one of six National 4-H Fellowships

1960s: Started 4-H urban gardening clubs in Philadelphia

1970s: Recognized for efforts to reach young people with disabilities through 4-H summer camp

1980s Brought 4-H garden projects to Theodore Wirth Park in North Minneapolis; helped launch “Ag in the Classroom” with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

1993: Received WCCO Good Neighbor Award

1990: Initiated into University of Minnesota President’s Club for gifts made to 4-H over several years

1989-94: Advisor for five years for 30 4-H State Youth Ambassadors each year, including Margaret Anderson-Kelliher, former Speaker of the House of Minnesota Representatives, and Lois Regnier Conroy, Hennepin County Judge

2008: Named Minneapolis Volunteer Gardener of the Year.

2009: Inducted into National 4-H Hall of Fame

2012: Named an Outstanding Volunteer by the Minnesota Historical Society.

2017: Continues to support Minnesota’s young people through gifts to the Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador program

2018: Received Life Member Award from National Association of Extension 4-H Agents

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