4-H became a significant part of Mrs. Barbara Arton’s life when she joined in the fifth grade at Glencoe Elementary in St. Mary Parish. She was a club member for eight years. Her projects included sewing, nutrition, cooking, safety and leadership. She also participated in the poultry project, ordering 50 chicks to raise.
Mrs. Arton was a member of the St. Landry 4-H Club from 1957 to 1965, a member of the Collegiate Club at University of Southwestern Louisiana from 1988 to 1991, an Organizational Club Leader at New Iberia Middle School from 1982 to 1983, a member of the Iberia Parish 4-H Food and Fitness Board from 1983 to 1999 and a 4-H Project Leader since 1982.
Mrs. Arton has served in numerous volunteer roles in her continued 4-H involvement. These include School 4-H Club Organizational Leader; Parent Volunteer; Demonstration Volunteer; Activity Leader; Iberia Parish Workshop Presenter; founder and leader of the Iberia Parish Food and Fitness Board; Overnight Chaperone; Project Leader; 4-H Judge; 4-H Grandparent; 4-H Advocate; and 4-H Donor.
Barbara is a vigorous advocate for 4-H. She has campaigned hard to keep 4-H in the eyes of our elected officials through tough financial times as well as personally sponsoring the program and securing corporate sponsorships. For 24 years Mrs. Arton served as an organizer and a club leader at Peebles, Bank and Caneview elementary schools and Iberia Middle School. She is also very active on the parish and state levels, always going above and beyond to serve the 4-H Program and its youth.
In the years 1982, ’83 and ’87, Barbara received the New Iberia Middle School Outstanding Volunteer award. In 1986, she received the Cabot Volunteer Service award and a $1,000 gift to the Iberia Parish 4-H Foundation. In 1994, she received the 4-H Alumni Orville Redenbacher Sponsor award. In 2016, she received the Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Youth/Adult Partnership award and the Louisiana Salute to Excellence Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer award.
Mrs. Arton’s major career accomplishments include establishing the Iberia Parish 4-H Food and Fitness Board in 1983; being Secretary of University of South Western Louisiana Collegiate 4-H Club in 1987; serving as National Communications Coordinator at the University of South Louisiana in 1987 and 1988; and, in 1994, establishing the Andrew Granger/Louis Arton Jr. award dedicated to 4-H agents working special needs 4-H’ers for 20-plus years.
In January 2016 her husband of nearly 50 years, Louis Arton Jr., passed away. His greatest wish was to have the 4-H flag that had been given to him by his sponsor, the Amoco Foundation at Club Congress, placed on his casket. The family honored his wishes. Mrs. Arton says, “I don’t want to rest on my own laurels, but the 4-H’ers, agents, my children, grandchildren, friends and family have shaped the road I have traveled on. My blessings to all of them.”