Shirley Bond helps 4-H Club members as they work on a project about products that come from trees. Bond, who lives in Pinellas County, will be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in October. / Contributed photos
The National 4‐H Hall of Fame celebrates those people who have made a significant impact on the 4‐H movement. This year, there are 16 inductees, including Shirley Bond of Pinellas County.
She and the 15 other National 4-H Hall of Fame Class of 2016 “laureates” will be inducted during a special ceremony on Oct. 7 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.
She’s been with 4‐H (Head, Heart, Hands, and Health) since childhood. Bond grew up in rural West Virginia, so the arrival of a 4‐H agent to her school was exciting. Even while attending college, Bond joined a 4‐H Work Study program as a para‐professional, and was so good at it that 4‐H recruited her right after graduation.
For six years, covering three counties in West Virginia, Bond worked with the needs of people in various communities, working up in the mountains and down in the valleys.
“I love 4‐H, and I believe in it,” Bond declares. “It was never a job to me ‐ it’s a way of life. It’s been my philosophy; plus, I got to do all of the fun things and get paid for it.”
She arrived in Florida in 1973 with her then new husband. Here, Bond took research information and brought it down to kids’ level, developing the 4‐H Water Wise program, an indoor/outdoor water-conservation program that received statewide, national, and international attention. The program was adopted by seven other countries around the world.
Her Waste Reduction program ‐ featuring recycling, using yard waste and worms, and enviro-shopping for elementary-age children ‐ is still in use.
Today, after 35 years, Bond is retired, but still volunteers with 4‐H, organizing her community to create monarch-butterfly habitats.
4‐H, once a rural and mostly agricultural organization for mentoring youth, has changed into a group that serves young people in rural, urban, and suburban communities in every state across the nation. Its members are tackling some of the nation’s top issues, from global food security, climate change, and sustainable energy, to nutrition and childhood obesity.
4-H Club programs, in and out of schools, and in camps and clubs, serve youth with a wide variety of interests ‐ from agricultural and animal sciences, to rocketry, robotics, environmental protection, and computer science ‐ through mentors and agents.
For more detailed information about 4‐H Clubs, visit 4‐H.com.
Mikki Royce is a writer and publicist. A “foodie,” Royce is a member of Slow Food, a local CSA; and is learning about food and nutrition every day, gearing up to complete a natural-style cookbook. Royce is a graduate of the University of Miami’s School of Communications.