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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Gretna Snowflakes

A few weeks ago I stopped by the Bass River Elementary School Library after school and was pleased to see a group of enthuiastic Girl Scouts working on various craft projects. They invited me to sit with them and talk for a while. What a delightful group of girls.

As I was driving home, my mind wandered to a group of girls 4-H photos that Phyllis Briggs had sent to me a few years ago. They called themselves the Snowflakes. I turned on the trusty computer when I got home and quickly found the photos. I know many of those girls, today. Of course they, like I, are a wee bit older now. Some are mothers and some even grandmothers. Where does the time go? Perhaps some of you out in the Blog-o-Sphere know some of them too.

I asked Phyllis Briggs to write something about the Snowflakes for the Blog. I thought I would share her comments and some of her Snowflake photos. They sure do bring back memories of a much simplier time. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

     The New Gretna Snowflakes 4-H Club started in 1970 under the guidance of June Eichinger and Phyllis Briggs. We asked the Atlantic County 4-H headquarters in Egg Harbor City if New Gretna could join since Burlington County didn't have any 4-H clubs nearby. We were warmly welcomed into the Atlantic County 4-H; this was the beginning of many exciting experiences for New Gretna's young teens.
     The 12 to 14 year old girls learned to knit, sew, model, cook, make root beer soda and twirl a baton.

Snowflakes modeling nightgowns that they sewed. (l-r): Mandy Mickens, Debbie Eichinger, Cherie Gross, Pam Adams, Joan Cramer & Connie Sue Briggs. (1974 photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)

Snowflakes wearing their hand made kerchiefs. They look like little Russian peasant girls. Makes me want to hum a tune from "Fiddler on the Roof."  (l-r):Cindy Wunsch, Maureen Potter, Kim Zeritt, Connie Sue Briggs & Vicki Wetmore. I wonder if any of the girls still have their kerchief? It would be neat to see them model it, today. (Photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)
     May 31, 1971 the New Gretna Snowflakes 4-H Baton Group won a 2nd place trophy in Tuckerton's annual Memorial Day parade. Strutting and twirling along Rt 9 the girls looked crisp wearing short green and white stripe 4-H uniforms each had sewn. The group competed in the August 1971 Egg Harbor 4-H Fair twirling competition. Many awards were won for their clever Fair Booth entries in the yearly 4-H Fair.

The Snowflakes march in the 1971 Tuckerton Memorial Day Parade. They won a 2nd place trophy that day. I wonder if someone still has that trophy today?(r-l): Mary Longo, Cindy Wunsch, Connie Sue Briggs, Maureen Potter, Vickie Wetmore, Melinda Allen, Debbie Ayres, Kim Zeritt & Debbie Eichinger. (Photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)

     The girls participated in many events held in the Egg Harbor 4-H auditorium and at the 4-H Fairs including square  dancing, talent contests, sewing competitions, pumpkin decorating contests, Favorite Foods Show and attending 4-H camp in Stokes State Forest.

The Snowflakes do some high stepping at the 1971 Egg Harbor 4H Fair. (l-r) Kim Zeritt, Cindy Wunsch, Connie Sue Briggs & Maureen Potter. (Photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)

     Two events the club did locally was a trash pickup at Fir Bridge and a bike ride to Crowley Landing.
     These were four years of fun and learning, a time in their lives the girls will always remember.

A group of Snowflakes work on a paper mache project for the 1971 4-H Fair. (l-r): Susan Allen, Kim Zeritt, Vicki Wetmore, Connie Sue Briggs, Maureen Potter & Cindy Wunsch. I wonder if more paste got on the girls than on the projects. (Photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)
     New Gretna Snowflakes 4-H Club members were: Pam Adams, Melinda Allen, Susan Allen, Cherie Gross, Debbie Ayres, Connie Sue Briggs, Joan Cramer, Debbie Eichinger, Mary Longo, Mandy Mickens, Maureen Potter, Vickie Wetmore, Debbie Wilson, Cindy Wunsch, and Kim Zeritt.
Phyllis Briggs

Snowflakes enjoying a warm summer day, in 1971, on the Bass River. Whose dock do you suppose they're sitting on? (l-r): Cindy Wunsch, Maureen Potter, Connie Sue Briggs, Vicki Wetmore, Susan Allen & Kim Zeritt. (Photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)

I wonder if we have a 4-H club in our area today and, if so, do they do the same things that the Snowflakes did back in the early 1970's?

Pete S

PS- Not to be out done, the New Gretna boys also had a 4-H Club. Unfortunately I only have one photo and don't know much about their group experiences. Perhaps, someone out there who was a member could fill me in and provide additional photos.

The 4H Bass River Roughnecks on a June 17, 1968 trip to the Stokes State Forest 4H Camp. (l-r): Doug Cramer, Greg Cramer, Benny Adams, Gary Petzak & Teddy Briggs. (Photo courtesy of Phyllis Briggs.)


  1. The Bass River dock the Snowflakes were sitting on was ours, now the George Kurtz house. Lots of memories there. Before that house, we built the Adams house on the river across from the Janivere Gun Club. Our last & 3rd house was located on Hammonton Rd, now the Bill Aaronson place. That is our history in New Gretna. Phyllis Briggs

  2. Is the Joan Cramer mentioned as one of the Snowflakes the same Joan Cramer (Adams) that you identified as a cousin of mine? She might be a double cousin at that. My Grandmother was an Adams from Port Republic. One of her sisters-Josephine, married a Ziba Adams and another sister-Edna, married a Mark Cramer.
    Beverly Mathis Robinson

  3. Beverly,

    Yes. Joan Cramer married Benjamin Adams. They live on Rt. 9 in New Gretna. Joan works at Allen's Clam Bar.

    Pete S

  4. Nice blog Pete. Phyllis had quite a few girls under her wing in 4-H. I was one of them and my favorite thing to do was Square Dancing! Lot of good memories! Wendy Adams-Teter