Dave and Louise Owen
became 4-H leaders in Clark County over 24 years ago. The 4-H poultry program they developed has not only touched the lives of the many members of the Prairie Hatchers 4-H Club, but its influence has reached many state and national programs as well.
Youth that were interested in poultry led Dave and Louise to discover the 4-H program and begin their journey into youth development. Their club focus was on learning life skills as well as project skills. They encouraged their members to help provide poultry project workshops around Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Dave became the leading poultry volunteer specialist in the state and provided 4-H poultry project training to other club leaders in Washington and the surrounding states.
Dave and Louise participated in the development of the 4-H Leaders Selection Process, which began the requirement for background checks on adult volunteers and protected the safety of our 4-H youth. This process was later adopted at the 4-H state level and presented at the National 4-H Agents Conference. They also spearheaded the development of the Clark County 4-H Conflict Resolution Process, which convenes a committee of key leaders, superintendents, and parents to hear disputes and make recommendations to the 4-H faculty.
Dave’s experience as a poultry judge for numerous poultry associations led to him being asked to be a member of a National 4-H Poultry Committee whose focus was to develop new 4-H poultry project materials. Dave passed away in 2002 doing what he loved best – preparing cages for fair with youth at his side.
Louise has continued in her role as leader of the Prairie Hatchers, as well as a member of the Clark County Leaders Association Executive Board. For many years she has chaired the Clark County annual 4-H in Action Day, bringing together all project areas for the public to visit.
Without doubt, the 4-H program has been made better by the dedication of Dave and Louise Owen. Though they had no children of their own, they have clearly been a tremendous inspiration for many youth and adults throughout their years as 4-H leaders.