Over the years, thousands of young people have taken part in the Ohio 4-H program, ready to carry the skills and experiences gained throughout their lives. Each month, we highlight one of these outstanding 4-H alumni who continue to make the best better in their lives and careers. This month we spotlight Linda Roe Joseph, an alumna of Erie County 4-H and longtime supporter of Ohio 4-H.
For Joseph, 4-H provided many opportunities to learn new skills and grow as a member of her community. “Club officer positions, committee work, and time spent on the Junior Fair Board gave me many chances to work with others and lead. I also developed my public speaking abilities through project demonstrations,” she said. Her experience as a camp counselor at Kelleys Island 4-H Camp and Club Congress, as well as serving as a delegate to Ohio Conservation Camp, provided additional avenues through which she strengthened her leadership and communication skills.
Project work was also an important aspect of Joseph’s time in 4-H. She showed cattle and completed a variety of food and nutrition and clothing projects, which introduced her to an array of future career possibilities. Joseph attended The Ohio State University and obtained a degree in home economics education. 4-H also helped make college possible for her. “I would not have enrolled at Ohio State if my home demonstration agent had not nominated me for the Minnie Price Scholarship,” she said.
Joseph said while her cattle projects did not lead her to a career in animal science, it did give her something even better — her husband Bob. While serving as the Ohio Hereford Princess in 1965, she was photographed with the reserve grand champion Hereford at the Ohio State Fair and the photo was featured in The Ohio Farmer. Linda and Bob met at a square dance hosted by University 4-H. She remembered, “Bob and I were dancing and when he saw my nametag he said, ‘Didn’t I see your picture in The Ohio Farmer?’ We have been together ever since and married for 54 years.”
Since then, the Josephs have been ardent supporters of Ohio 4-H. “We have volunteered as project judges numerous times, helped start two suburban 4-H clubs, advised a club, and started two scholarships at Ohio State for 4-H members. We even have a 4-H license plate that draws attention and starts conversations!”
The Joseph’s work on the Ohio 4-H Foundation Board has also been invaluable. They have served on the board for a combined 18 years and, between the two of them, represented the board since 2003. Linda has dedicated the past nine years to serving as the board’s secretary, while Bob held the role of board president from 2010 to 2011. They have also been a part of the planning process for Celebration of Youth, the Ohio 4-H Foundation’s annual fundraising event, since its inception in 1998 and helped grow the event into what it is today.
Joseph has much to be grateful for because of her time in 4-H. “I got my career, leadership qualities, and a lifelong partner through this organization,” she said. “Bob and I love 4-H! Over the years we’ve learned that the ribbons, placings, and prize money were not as important as the friends we made along the way. We grew through 4-H, had a wonderful time doing it, and are always proud to say we got our start in 4-H.”