Honored by the University of Hawaii, Manoa and the Hawaii 4-H Youth Development Program, Dr. Helene Zeug was one of 16 people inducted during the ceremony held on October 12, 2021 at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Zeug was part of the National 4-H Hall of Fame 2020 Class of Inductees and a virtual-only ceremony was held in 2020.
Helene has made numerous contributions to help improve the needs of the local community and beyond. Her numerous activities and services at the university, community outreach programs for the under-privileged, and for the mentally and physically handicapped have had lasting impact. Her pioneering spirit and can-do approach to challenges have benefited countless individuals over four decades through Hawaii 4-H programs. She started one of the first urban 4-H programs in the country (focusing on inner city areas of Honolulu), established 4-H clubs for handicapped youth at the Diamond Head and Pohukaina schools, developed innovative 4-H project materials when none were available, and coordinated Hawaii’s participation in the Labo Japanese exchange. Additional volunteer activities have included serving on both the Hawaii Girl Scout and State Farm Fair boards of directors, assisting with management of the Hawaii Senior Olympics and Aloha State Games for many years, actively serving as a volunteer track and field official (both locally and nationally) for 15 years, and being principal seamstress for the Honolulu Boy Choir for ten years.
One of Helene’s notable achievements was the establishment of the Hawaii 4-H Alumni Association in 1983.The primary mission of this 501(c) 3 organization is to provide monetary support for the Hawaii delegation attending the National 4-H Congress each year, as well as National 4-H Conference and our Hawaii State 4-H Conference. Helene provided the impetus and direct leadership to bring this affiliate group to fruition. Her skills and leadership included serving as the “backbone” of fundraising efforts that raised more than $500,000 to fund endowments for both the foundation and alumni association, adding significantly to the long-term financial stability of these two organizations. As a result, the 4-H Alumni Association has provided travel assistance from1983 to the present for selected Hawaii 4-H members who otherwise could not afford to attend these awarded 4-H activities. Helene further exhibited executive leadership ability by bringing efforts of the Hawaii 4-H Foundation and the Hawaii 4-H Alumni Association together to work in harmony with this statewide Hawaii 4-H effort; these two separate organizations now provide synergistic support of the 4-H program on the islands.
In 1992, Helene launched and served as editor of the first edition of the “For a Lifetime” Hawaii 4-H magazine. This glossy, high quality, annual magazine was extremely valuable in the marketing and donor development of the Hawaii 4-H program. The magazine currently serves as a valuable repository of historical information and photos of the Hawaii 4-H program in the 1990s. In 2008, Helene also wrote the definitive history of the Hawaii 4-H Program that started in 1918. This documentation of the history of the Hawaii 4-H program was published as part of the 300-page book entitled “Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: Celebrating 100 Years.”
Helene has been the “Rock” of the Hawaii 4-H program for nearly four decades. While this 4-H program has gone through some rough times in the past, Helene’s foundational presence has helped see us through those difficult times. She has received many accolades and recognition, both locally and nationally; many letters of recommendation have been written about her. Words like wholesome, unquestioned integrity, industrious, cooperative, likeable, and enthusiastic are written repeatedly. At 79 years of age, Helene still demonstrates a persistent commitment and devoted support of Hawaii 4-H as she is still an active member of the boards of both the Hawaii 4-H Foundation and the Hawaii 4-H Alumni Association. She cares immensely about this positive youth development program.
Helene has been an integral part of the Hawaii 4-H program for nearly 70 years, from when she joined Waihee Girls 4-H club at age 9, continuing on to be a junior leader, club leader, Campus Collegiate 4-H club president, then serving on the state 4-H staff from 1963 to 2004, first as a 4-H specialist at the county level, then as Assistant State 4-H Program Leader, and finally as acting state leader for the 4-H program. A consummate recruiter, she also has brought many other people into the 4-H family. Her congenial personality and positive approach have enabled her to win the trust and support not only of her peers, but also of young 4-H’ers, adult leaders, and business and community leaders.
Honorees were presented with a National 4-H Hall of Fame medallion, plaque, and memory book during the ceremony. The National 4-H Hall of Fame was established in 2002 as part of the Centennial Project of National Association of Extension 4-H Agents in partnership with National 4-H Council and National 4-H Headquarters at USDA.
A recording of the National 4-H Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for the 2020 Class can be viewed online or below. The laureates were inducted in alphabetical order and Helene Zeug’s induction begins at 1:11:05
The National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council; the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (NAE4-HYDP); or the Division of Youth and 4-H, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.