4-H specialist in MSU Extension
Geraldine “Gerry” Fenn worked in the Montana State University Extension state 4-H office as a youth development specialist from 1947 to her retirement in 1967, focusing on youth/family education and well-being. Following World War II, Fenn, along with other colleagues, founded the International Farm Youth Exchange program essentially to promote world peace through family-to-family exchanges. An extension of that notion was the intrastate and interstate exchanges for youth in this country. She designed two areas of study for 4-H members: 1. teaching the importance of becoming involved in their community, and 2. allowing youth the opportunity to set goals and make plans to achieve them. In addition, the People Partner program was for 4-H clubs to design and complete community projects. Seventy years later, all three of these opportunities are still being used. After Fenn's retirement from Extension, she facilitated a group of people to work with the legislature on youth and family issues. All her efforts pointed toward positive youth development and family well-being. Networking was second nature to Fenn so she reached out to colleagues across campus who might have important expertise to enhance her endeavors.
Geraldine Fenn embodied Montana State University’s land-grant mission by serving, inspiring and teaching youth of Montana and their families.