Dr. Robert A. Anderson’s 60 years of service in 4-H started in 1938 when as a ten-year-old he joined his local club in Winchester, West Virginia.
“I lived on a farm,” said Anderson. “Everywhere I looked there were all sorts of animals - hogs, horses, cows. Joining 4-H was the most natural thing for me to do.”
Dr. Anderson was very active in club activities, attended summer camps, was elected club President, and participated in the West Virginia State Fair. He was also the first 4-H boy in Putnam County to receive a Gold 4-H Pin.
“When I was about 13 or 14 I chartered for the 4-H pin,” said Dr. Anderson. I had to fill out all kinds of paperwork about all the offices I’d held, how many awards I’d won, the public speaking I had done. Then, I had to take sort of like a test on 4-H and the history of 4-H in West Virginia. After that, I was awarded my pin. I was the first 4-Her in my county to do it. I’ve kept the pin my whole life and worn it to different events.”
Following college and military service in World War II, Dr. Anderson returned to 4-H by becoming a camp counselor.
He taught crafts, swimming and water safety classes while serving as a life guard.
Dr. Anderson received his doctorate in education from Marshall University. Later, when he was hired as Principal of Winfield High School in West Virginia, Dr. Anderson facilitated bringing 4-H programs into the school as an extracurricular activity for the students.
In the early 1960’s Dr. Anderson and his family moved to Brevard County, Florida where Dr. Anderson was employed by Brevard Community College.
Of course, 4-H remained a big part of his life. He began to judge county and district events and became a charter member of the Brevard County 4-H Foundation. Under his leadership, the Foundation has raised thousands of dollars to support scholarships to help county 4-H members attend Florida 4-H Congress, Florida 4-H Legislature, summer camp, and conferences.
“We started that group back in the early 70’s and we’ve met once a month since,” said Dr. Anderson. “We’ve tried to do some good for 4-H. We’ve raised a little money. Enough to send some kids to state, regional and even a few to national camps.”
“4-H is such a valuable program,” said Dr. Anderson. “It has taught me how to assume responsibility. When a task was assigned to me I learned that it was my responsibility to complete it. As a club officer, I learned leadership principles and how to lead meetings, assign committees, and formulate strategies for accomplishing goals.”
Dr. Anderson continues, “I’ve been involved with 4-H for over 60 years simply because it has been a lot of fun. I’ve never forgotten what 4-H taught me about morals and ethics and an appreciation for family and government and nature. Youth need these things.”
In addition to his service with 4-H, Dr. Anderson worked for 30 years as a college administrator at Brevard Community College (BCC) where he started the Early Admission and Dual Enrollment Program for BCC and the State of Florida Community Colleges and Universities.
Dr. Anderson also served on the Rockledge Florida City Council for 18 years in two separate terms, and spent 12 years serving on the Brevard County School Board.In addition to his ongoing activities with 4-H, Dr. Anderson also remains involved in various community organizations such as the Rotary Club and the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce, and is an active member of the Rockledge Presbyterian Church.