Vera Kempf

Vera Kempf

Class Year: 2008

County: Muskegon

Title: Owner/operator, Circle K Ranch

“It was such a learning experience when I was in 4-H. If it hadn’t been for 4-H I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to the state show and do things like that.”
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Vera Kempf is a lifelong 4-H’er beginning with her years as a member of the Happy Hustlers 4-H Club – one of the first 4-H clubs in Michigan – and today as leader of the same club. During her youth, Kempf learned to cook, can and sew through 4-H. In her teens, she developed an interest for animals and learned to select and judge animals based on their conformation, a skill she used while on the judging team. She was also selected to represent the 4-H club in both the dairy and horse divisions at the state level. As a member, she also helped the club fundraise in order for club members to travel abroad through International Four-H Youth Exchange (IFYE), a program the club remains active with today. Kempf has led the Happy Hustlers 4-H Club since 1952 and grew the club to over 100 members under her leadership. She encourages members to participate in many 4-H activities including spring achievement, share of the fun, square dances, 4-H camp and fair. Kempf expanded the club’s 4-H projects by recruiting experts in science, arts, crafts, dance and more. As a result, club members joined the State 4-H Performing Arts Troupe who performed at the Wharton Center during Exploration Days, the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island and at the U.P. State Fair. She also instills leadership, community service and global learning to youth. Each year, Kempf rallies the club to create “sunshine boxes” to cheer up hospitalized children and also directs fundraising for youth to travel abroad. She has hosted youth from India, Brazil, Japan, Ireland, Australia, Belize, Jamaica, Mexico and Finland. Kempf was also the first woman to serve on the Newaygo County Fair Board and served ten years on the Newaygo County 4-H Council, serving on each of the sub-committees for a period of time.