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4-H Love Stories

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so we thought we'd share some 4-H love stories we've heard throughout the years. We hope you enjoy! You may even know some of the couples or have your own story to share.

We'll start off by sharing a story about two generations in the same family who fell in love at 4-H camp!

So what's your 4-H love story? Share in the fun by submitting your own story! Check back frequently to read more 4-H love stories!

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. "My wife and I met during the summer of 2003 at the Iowa 4-H Center. We became close friends while being on the summer camp staff. The miles between us during college only made our hearts grow fonder and we began dating that fall. We spent two more summers on camp staff making many more friends and memories. We had an outside wedding on October 14, 2006 in the grassy area just east of Linden Lodge at the 4-H Center with the reception following inside Linden. Three flags flew that day: Northwest Missouri State University, Iowa State University, and the 4-H flag. Our colleges kept us apart but 4-H brought us together. Some of our wedding photos have been placed on the Iowa 4-H Center website."

    ~ David and Betsy Stephens, Humboldt, IA

  2. "It was Feb. 1969 and Page County was sending senior 4-H'ers to a 'Winter Camp' about 3 hours away at the Iowa 4-H Center. I went to high school in Clarinda but in my same car traveling to Winter Camp, was a very cute farm boy, who lived only 5 miles up the road on Highway 71. This cute boy went to school at Villisca, so we had never met until the big event of Winter Camp. Winter Camp was an awesome experience, complete with a Howie led 'Night Hike' to the Des Moines River. Lots of fun going to the river, but all uphill in deep snow going back to the old Oak Lodge. Surely a memorable hike to anyone who tagged along. Long story - short version. The farm kids married in September 1971 and took a short 'honeymoon' to Cedar Lodge at the 4-H camp. The new groom was on leave in between boot camp/basic training USN and heading out to sea during the Viet Nam war, the bride was attending nurses training, so time was short. Fast forward to 2008: three 4-H children of our own and hundreds of 4-H members from the Clarinda Classics latter... we still love 4-H and the Iowa 4-H Center. We planned numerous Winter Camps at Camp Aldersgate near Villisca, and Howie led a Night Hike each year- a tradition and Classic favorite for the next generation of campers. When our children dated one of my first questions: "Are they in 4-H?" There is nothing like 4-H Love. Thanks for this opportunity to share our 4-H Love Story."

    ~ Howie and Janelle Stephens, Ames, IA

  3. Carol and I were 4-Hers in the same county and were on county council together for a year or so, but no real connection. We were at a dance about Christmas time of her senior year and danced some. I asked her to a Valentine church youth group party and then our invitations to each other's Proms followed. That summer at the county fair I was the experienced beef showman and she was a novice, so I helped her fluff out the tail switch that was the thing to do in those days. That was 41 years ago. Our 4 children were active 4-H members and we were and are leaders. A few years ago I decorated a 5-gallon bucket for a bucket of flowers exhibit for the fair board members and wrote " I met my wife through 4-H" with a smiley face and the judge gave me a prize. 4-H was good to me.

    ~ Dudley McDowell, rural Sheldon

  4. The 1991 National 4-H Congress which was held in Chicago, IL holds a special place in our hearts. Neither one of us ever knew this trip would lead us to find a life time partner and friend. Allison (Steen) was the 1991 State 4-H Horse Project winner and Bryan was the 1991 4-H Sheep Project Winner in the state of Iowa. Neither of us knew each other before traveling to Chicago for Congress. However, as the week went on we found ourselves spending more and more time together on the trip. After returning home from Chicago there were many letters, phone calls, and dates. Since we lived a little over 2 hours apart our favorite meeting spot was in Waterloo (since Allison lived in Lime Springs and Bryan in Gladbrook). Bryan attended Allison's senior prom in 1992 as well. Both of us chose different colleges to attend, Allison went to ISU and Bryan to Simpson College. We continued to see each other throughout college. Bryan finally proposed in November of 1995 and we were married on December 28, 1996. We recently celebrated our 11th Wedding Anniversary. Allison is a microbiologist for Fort Dodge Animal Health and Bryan works for Iowa State University Extension as a 4-H Youth Field Specialist/State 4-H Safety and Education in Shooting Sports (SESS) Coordinator. We live in Eagle Grove, Iowa and have 2 children. Our daughter Shea is 5 and our son Quinn is 2. Both of us have fond memories of our 4-H experiences. We are looking forward to becoming 4-H parents with the hopes our children will acquire all the life skills we developed by being involved in the 4-H program.

    ~ Bryan Whaley (9 year member of the Wolfcreek Whirlwinds in Tama County) and Allison(Steen) Whaley (9 year member of the Howard Center Stars and Flying Hoofs in Howard County)

  5. We were active in rival 4-H clubs while growing up in Mills County. We have many wonderful memories showing cattle and hogs against each other. One of Dan's first memories of me was during the annual county fair water fight. I was pelted with a bucket full of water and manure, then slipped and rolled down a hill. We were more rivals than friends growing up. However, it was at Iowa State that our love blossomed. We dated for seven years and on June 2, 2007 we were married in Des Moines. We continue to stay active in the 4-H program and love to share friendly banter about our old 4-H club rivalry. Thanks for the opportunity to share our story!

    ~ Stephanie and Dan Pollock

  6. I met my wife Julie Jones when we were both in 4-H in Jones County. The year was 1973 and we both were in the county group called "Builders". Julie belonged to the "Olin Ship Ahoys" and I belonged to the "Oxford Livewires" (Oxford Junction). The thing I remember most was going on a trip to Dubuque, going out to dinner as a group and then there was dancing afterwards. That was the first time that we really talked and started to get to know each other. Julie and I danced for the first time that night. We stated to date shortly after that. I graduated in ' '73 and she in ' '74. We were married in April of ' '75. We have been dancing ever since that first date. Dancing together, country and ballroom, is just one of the things that we love to do together. We have moved from Jones County to Mahaska County but continue to live in the country. 4-H holds many memories for us. It has been an important part of our family for 3 generations.

    ~ Brad Flory and Julie (Jones) Flory

  7. Ah, yes, a 4-H love story. This is a joy to relate. Going to the Winneshiek County Fair was the highlight of the whole summer. I was going to be a senior in high school when I met the most handsome young man at the County Fair. My friend and I were walking through the hog barn when we met a couple of boys. I knew one of the boys who introduced me to his friend. Wow!! He made a great first impression!! We had never seen eachother because we were in different schools. He asked if I wanted to ride on the tilt-a-whirl . That night at the fair was the start of a dream romance that has lasted for 62 years --- but, wait, I am getting ahead of myself. At the time, there were "Girl 4-H County Presidents" and "Boy 4-H County Presidents" , and WE held these two offices, so naturally we needed to get together to plan the 4-H party. Then followed Ted's farming and a year as State FFA President and two years of country school teaching for Phyllis. This 4-H romance became a permanent love story with a wedding in 1948. Many years of sharing dreams, raising five wonderful children, I might say that we have a beautiful 4-H love story that has become even more precious as we think about that first meeting at the fair. Do I believe in love at first sight? YES.

    ~ Phyllis and K. Ted Green (Pat Beck's mom and dad)


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