Van Berkum inducted into 4H Hall of Fame

Friday, September 3, 2021

Sherie Van Berkum of Alta has been named the 2021 Buena Vista County honoree for the Iowa 4H Hall of Fame at the Iowa State Fair. The Iowa 4-H Foundation sponsors the annual induction ceremony. Counties nominate volunteers, community leaders, and Extension staff members who have exemplified outstanding service and dedication to the 4-H youth program in their county. Only one individual or couple per county can be nominated each year. Inductees can be recognized posthumously.

The Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as 4-H celebrated 100 years of a program dedicated to teaching youth life skills.  During those 100 years, it became evident that one of the essential elements of the 4-H program was the caring adults who were committed to the program. 

Inductees into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame represent the many people in Iowa who have contributed countless hours to the 4-H program.  They work tirelessly to see that Iowa’s youth have a great learning experience in a safe and fun environment.These adults have modeled volunteerism, community service, integrity, and leadership to Iowa’s youth.  Their legacy is the young people they have mentored who will in turn support the continuation of a 4-H program that builds Iowa’s leaders.

Sherie has positively and generously contributed to the Buena Vista County 4-H program in numerous capacities over the past 17 years. She spent 12 years as an involved and supportive 4-H mom, 10 years as a vibrant club leader to the Maple Valley Motivators and Maple Valley Agriculturists, and six years and counting as a 4-H static exhibit judge. 

As a judge, she has served eight counties in a variety of project areas. Sherie helped guide and raise young 4-H members to become contributing adult leaders. Numerous 4-H alumni, including Sherie’s children Jayden and Katie, have volunteered their time to support the Buena Vista County 4-H program because of her influence. Each year she held one-on-one sessions with family members in preparation for the Buena Vista County Fair. This intentional time helped youth feel confident and prepared in their project exhibits, while providing a welcoming atmosphere for new families to ask questions. 

Sherie demonstrated community development through her work with her club’s annual pumpkin patch. The club planned for, planted, weeded, promoted, and hosted school groups and community members to enjoy hayrides, education, and other fall fun at the pumpkin patch! Sherie helped facilitate the amiable merger of two community 4-H clubs. She made all members feel welcome in the new club environment. Sherie also served as a contributing member of the larger team of 4-H leaders who promoted the benefits of 4-H in Buena Vista County through events, individual interactions, and school presentations. When Sherie was nominated for the 4-H Hall of Fame, she shared the following comment, “I feel so blessed to pass on what I have learned from other 4-H mentors to 4-H youth, families and our larger community.”

Van Berkum is the Behavior Interventionist/At Risk Coordinator at Alta-Aurelia Elementary School. She was also honored in 2020 as Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency PBIS Person of the Year Award, recognizing her work on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.