- Author: Natalie Cunha
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jean Allender (Musso) in late July. It is a joy to have the ability to reconnect with our Placer County 4-H history. Jean grew up an Auburn local. She first joined the Bowman 4-H Community Club, which met at the Bowman School, in the 1950s around the age of 9. That was just the start of her 4-H career; she participated in Placer County 4-H all the way through high school and aged out of Mount Vernon 4-H Community Club program. Quick Fact: At that time, girls were not yet allowed to join Future Farmers of America (FFA). Jean's parents owned the fruit shed in Bowman, although it was her aunt and uncle who were more involved in the 4-H program. Jean's uncle led the 4-H Tractor Project which both Jean and her sister participated in as well as their aunt's sewing project.
With the Gold Country County Fair right around the corner, it is interesting to know that it used to be called the 20th District Fair when Jean and her sister showed horses and cattle. Jean's sister Susan had a passion for showing cattle, specifically Angus which led her to a life involved in the agriculture industry. Jean showed Shorthorn cattle, and the Musso sisters were part of the first group to sell market steers at the Fair. In 1960, Jean's steer named "Chuck R" after chuck roast placed 1st. They were both active members in the Horse Project, participating on the drill team, camping rides, and horse shows. In the photos attached you can see both sisters in Squaw Valley where they would ride out for 3-4 days. Jean had a brown horse name "Little Mighty", and her sister Susan had a palomino horse named "Socks".
By the time Jean aged out of the 4-H program at 20 years old, she had actively participated in 4-H for over 10 years. Jean's children then followed her footsteps and participated in Placer County 4-H as well. Jean stated that, "4-H is a place to learn about animals, learn to work with people, and gain problem solving skills". 4-H allows a space for youth to network, meet nice people, and it opens a whole new community. Jean went on to be a teacher at Placer Hills School, then Rock Creek Elementary, retiring after 30 years of teaching. Jean showed me her many 4-H trophies and awards, which truly reflect a wonderful time in Placer County 4-H. We were able to look back through her record book and learn about parts of Jean's 4-H story which I have now been lucky enough to share with you!
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