Union Township leader singled out by her peers

Matt Roth (left) representing the Huntington Rotary Club, congratulates 2009 Outstanding 4-H Leader Nadean Brown during an awards ceremony on Saturday, July 25.
Matt Roth (left) representing the Huntington Rotary Club, congratulates 2009 Outstanding 4-H Leader Nadean Brown during an awards ceremony on Saturday, July 25. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

The last of Nadean Brown's four children is a 10-year 4-Her this year, a milestone she always said would also mark her last year as a 4-H leader.

Now, she's not so sure she wants to quit.

"It's kind of hard to step away from it," Brown said Saturday night, July 25, after being named the 2009 Outstanding 4-H Leader for Huntington County. "It's a lot of work, but it's really rewarding."

And Brown has apparently done it well. Her fellow 4-H leaders selected her for the honor, which has been presented each year since 1990 by the Huntington Rotary Club.

Brown is one of three leaders of the Neighborhood Workers/Farmer Lads 4-H Club in Union Township. At around 100 members, it's one of the largest clubs in Huntington County.

There's been some talk of splitting the club and even changing its name, she says, but "the kids don't want to change the name."

Brown considers the club part of Union Township's heritage.

"It's just been there for so long," she says. "I'm 47, and Neighborhood Workers was my club."

That was back when there were separate 4-H clubs for boys and girls, and Neighborhood Workers/Farmer Lads was actually two clubs - one for the girls, and another for the boys.

Brown spent a full 10 years as a member of Neighborhood Workers, concentrating on sheep and chickens. Her four children have favored the swine project.

Brown has been a leader of the club for 12 years, taking on the job at the request of her sister, Cindy Blocker, who also serves as a volunteer leader of the club.

"She's my rock," Brown says of Blocker. "She does all the paperwork."

Blocker and Brown took over the club after the previous leader decided to step down. Brown's children were already involved in the club, and she says she felt a responsibility to keep it going.

Cyndy Patrick joined Brown and Blocker this year as a third adult leader for the club.