South Dakota CFEL Week is May 4 – 10

We will be highlighting Perkins County’s only remaining CFEL club throughout the week. Please check back each day!  Bison’s Town and Country CFEL is 60 years old in 2014. Are there other local clubs who have met continually for that same amount of time or longer?

The first “extension” clubs in South Dakota organized in 1921; in Perkins County, the first one formed in 1925 under the direction of County Agent Elbert Bentley (hence the Bentley Building!) At one time there were more than 20 clubs in the county with hundreds of members.

Town and Country organized in Bison in Sept. 1954. By 2012, it was the last remaining CFEL club in Perkins County.

Once, SDSU offered programs for extending educational programs to local communities. An early day purpose of “extension clubs” was for “social gatherings and neighborly aid.” Going to “club” was a once-a-month getaway for women, offering them a mini break from husbands, children, laundry and kitchen duties. It was a time to learn about becoming better homemakers and to socialize with their peers.

Today, SDSU has little or no involvement but members continue to educate themselves in a variety of areas. Part of every Town and Country meeting is an educational program. Just last week, Bob Drown, from NRCS, offered a presentation about roses – how to plant and maintain them and the various strains available. Town and County is a viable service organization. Did you know that the flags that fly on Main Street during patriotic holidays were purchased and are maintained by Town and Country CFEL members?

CFEL stands for Community and Family Extension Leaders. The following creed best describes the purpose of the organization:


To maintain the highest ideals of home life; to count children the most important of crops;

to so mother them that their bodies may be sound, their minds clear,

their spirits happy, and their characters generous.

To place service above comfort; to let loyalty to high purposes silence discordant notes;

to let neighborliness supplant hatreds; to be discouraged never.

To lose self in generous enthusiasms, to extend to the less fortunate a helping hand;

to believe one’s community may become the best of communities; and to cooperate with others

for the common ends of a more abundant home and community life.

By Ruby Green Smith

Does that creed sound like something that you could embrace? Do you respect the principles that it upholds?

If so, there is room for you! Please contact Carolyn Hendricks, 244-7488 or Beth Hulm, 244-5231 (chairman and secretary/treasurer of Town and County CFEL) about visiting a meeting and/or becoming a member.

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow!