Hello. I am Pat Nelson, pledge class of fall 1976/graduating class of 1980. It feels like yesterday, but when I see those years on paper, wow! It is my honor to be serving on the 4-H House Alumni Board. As the marketing/recruitment officer, I support the House Interviewing Chair with disseminating information, recruiting, and selecting prospective members. As privacy concerns increase and information shared through the university decreases, we rely strongly on our alum base to link young ladies in your communities with the opportunity of living cooperatively at 4-H House. I will make one more shameless plug. If you know any high school young lady that would make a great addition to 4-H House, please email the interviewing chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For me, there was really only one university choice and it led me straight to 4-H House. Perhaps my family brainwashed me into attending the University of Illinois as a majority of my family were U of I graduates. One of those, my aunt, had also previously lived at 4-H House. Naturally, 4-H House seemed like a perfect fit for me. With two interviewing weekends and nearly twice as many girls applying as spots available, I was a nervous wreck! I was beyond ecstatic that Sunday night when Deb Mueller called to extend the invitation to pledge. The decision to live at the house has been a blessing to me ever since. Within the first week that my class moved in, I had sisters for a lifetime. The list of relatives that are alumni has continued to grow to include two nieces and my daughter. 4-H House remains a home away from home where I can enter and, even though all the faces have changed, the love is still readily shared.
The BS degree I received at the University of Illinois through the College of Ag was in Human Resources and Family Studies Education. I taught for 35 years at the junior high and then senior high school level at Galesburg and the ROWVA school districts. Dedicated to developing leadership skills in youth, I served for 25 years as the adviser for the nationally recognized ROWVA FCCLA Chapter, focusing on service learning activities to help young people see how limitless their skills really are. (Just passing on what my house sisters taught me way back when!)
Now retired, I still live on the farm outside of Altona, Illinois with my husband of 38 years. In fact, a couple of house sisters introduced us! We have raised three children and have two grandchildren. Although I still enjoy time in the classroom as a substitute teacher, I fill my time volunteering as the church mission quilting chair, co-leader of an after school Christian youth program for 4-6 grade students with house sister Nancy Erickson, evaluating FCCLA and 4-H projects, and various other community organizations and activities.
I am anxious to see many of you this summer at the 85th 4-H House Reunion. Please make plans with your pledge class to gather for a wonderful time to share memories, catch-up, and strengthen our sisterhood.