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Virginia Steele

Meet Virginia Steele: A Lifelong 4-Her

Virginia started in 4-H when she was 10 years old in 1933. She became very involved in 4-H and was the first female All Star from Sacramento County. She has steadfastly served as a volunteer beginning as a youth leader in 1941, and is very proud of the fact that she was a leader in 4-H for 56 years!

When Virginia was asked to reflect upon her experiences in 4-H she shared several poignant memories. For instance, 4-H was suspended in the Sacramento area during World War II. No young men were available and the women were all working. It was a very interesting time. Virginia was involved in fashion, sewing, and once raised a jersey cow. She attended the 4-H youth conferences that were held at UC Berkeley where she heard high level speakers on very sophisticated topics. She still possesses a 1940 Conference program and the topics of the conference included “What Makes Literature Great,” “Art in Relation to Everyday Living,” and “Social Value of Physical Education.” There were also lectures on physics, finance, health, and public service. Participants toured a radiation lab and went swimming too. All of the lectures were presented by UC faculty. Things are bit different now.

Virginia has lived in many places in California, and has always reached out to the local 4-H in her community to volunteer. Her three children were also in 4-H. When asked how 4-H had prepared her for adulthood Virginia readily states: “4-H made me a good homemaker, I was the PTA president at two different schools, I had three challenging careers as a banker, merchandiser and worked in the California school systems—4-H prepared me to handle all of those things and enjoy them!”