Louisiana volunteer named to National 4-H Hall of Fame

Kenneth Gautreaux  |  10/19/2018 6:42:07 PM

(10/19/18) BATON ROUGE, La. — For Fran Castille, 4-H has played a role nearly her entire life. From the time she first became eligible to join 4-H to her time working tirelessly as an adult volunteer, Castille has made improving the lives of 4-H members her calling.

For her lifelong commitment to Louisiana 4-H, Castille, of Amite, Louisiana, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on Oct. 19.

“To be following in the footsteps of a lot of great people before me in Louisiana, it truly is a very humbling experience,” Castille said. “I just can’t fathom being selected, and I am really honored that Dr. (Mark) Tassin and Dr. (Janet) Fox felt that I was worthy.”

Tassin is the former LSU AgCenter associate vice president and program leader for youth development, and Fox is the current department head for LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth Development.

Castille’s first venture into 4-H was in 1964 when she joined a 4-H club in rural St. Helena Parish. She began showing Guernsey cows but later focused on leadership opportunities within the youth organization. By the time she graduated from high school, she had been elected to every officer position.

As an adult, she was asked to lead her niece’s local community club. Since that day, she has spent the past 32 years serving as volunteer leader and has been a positive role model for 4-H youth.

“The best job any volunteer can have is to work with some of the most amazing group of teens,” Castille said. “Through assisting with planning and Junior Leadership conference and 4-H University, I have learned what youth/adult partnerships are all about.”

Castille is a charter member of the Louisiana 4-H Volunteer Leader Association and has served as president, vice-president and past president. She has raised more than $75,000 in donations and in-kind contributions for 4-H causes such as scholarships, 4-H trainings and club grants for supplies and awards.

Honorees at the induction ceremony received a National 4-H Hall of Fame medallion, plaque and memory book.

“We are proud to recognize the 2018 National 4-H Hall of Fame honorees for the passion, dedication, vision and leadership they have shown toward young people during their many years of service to 4-H,” said Jeanette Rea Keywood, National 4-H Hall of Fame committee chair.

4-H is the nation’s largest youth organization, and the program is administered by the LSU AgCenter in Louisiana. It is heavily reliant on volunteers to assist in club activities. Castille is thankful she has that opportunity, and she is willing to serve.

Castille has served as a judge for cookery contests in her parish and neighboring parishes. She has helped chaperone youth trips to Orlando, San Antonio, Louisville and Washington, D.C. and has also overseen service-learning projects at the parish and state levels.

Fox said Castille is the standard bearer of what a good volunteer should be.

“Fran is always giving unselfishly of herself, her time and her resources,” Fox said. “She is the epitome of what it means to be a 4-H volunteer making the best better.”

Castille also volunteers with other groups in her community. She is an active member of St. Helena Roman Catholic Church and visits local hospitals with her service dog Chelsea.

For more information, contact Janet Fox at 225-578-2971 or jfox@agcenter.lsu.edu, or Jeanette Rea Keywood at 609-827-0199 orreakeywood@njaes.rutgers.edu.

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Fran Castille, of Amite, Louisiana, was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Castille joined 4-H in 1964 and served in various leadership roles as a member of her local 4-H Club. For the past 32 years, she has served as a volunteer and devoted many hours working with youth in developing leadership skills by serving with the 4-H executive board. (Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter)

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