The milestone of 50 years of Rotary 4-H Achievement Night was reached in 2012. The annual program was held on November 8, at the 4-H Center in Pittsfield. This year also marks the 100th year of 4-H in Pennsylvania. The two momentous occasions culminated a year dedicated to leadership development and civic engagement. The President of the Warren Rotarians and master of ceremonies, Addison Legere, led the program celebration.
The program entitled, 4-H Rural Beginnings to Global Success, was presented by Mr. Norm Perschke of Warren and the 4-H Electro-tech Club of Clarion/Venango Counties. Mr. Perschke took the crowd down memory lane as he discussed the rural beginnings of the Rotary 4-H Achievement Night. Honor was given to Dr. David Rice for his forethought and insight on the development of the program that has withstood 50 years. Taking the crowd years into programming, the 4-H Electro-tech club demonstrated the 4-H program's advances related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. The club participated in their initial robotics competition in 2012 at the First Robotics Competition (FRC) in Pittsburgh. The members received a kit and built their robot with the assistance of several leaders and skilled trainers in the 4-H program. The program detailed the many changes that 4-H has withstood in 100 years of youth development.
The remainder of the evening celebrated the accomplishments of the Warren County 4-H members. This year's Rotary 4-H Agricultural Trophy was awarded to Stephanie Puckly of Spartansburg. She is the daughter of Doug and Karen Puckly. Stephanie describes her first year in 4-H as very challenging. She eventually discovered that her club was in need of teen leadership. From that point forward, Stephanie has been supporting club members and stepping up to the leadership needed to make the club an inviting learning environment.
The male Watts Outstanding 4-H'er award was given to Edward Sekerak of Columbus, and a member of the Udder Club. Edward in his last two years has assisted with club clinics and is eager to assist younger members with learning proper techniques. Throughout the past year, Edward has worked with the club leaders to help meetings run smoothly and lend support wherever needed.
The female Watts Outstanding 4-H'er award went to Abagail Downs of Bear Lake, and a member of the Sugar Grove Ruff Riders. Abagail's leaders describe her as a caring and compassionate member. As vice president she confidently introduced club clinicians and guest speakers. She worked behind the scenes planning out the clubs community service projects and is always eager to assist fellow members. She is willing to share her knowledge and passion for the horse industry with all members.
The 2012 Roll of Distinction/ Friend of 4-H Award was presented to Will and Becky Hitchcock of Foggy Meadow Farms. For the last 20 years the Hitchcocks have sponsored the Best Bred and Owned Award for the 4-H Dairy Program. Each class winner receives an item to be used with their animal. The members then compete for the plaque that is also sponsored by the Hitchcocks. This award is extremely important and the project is very time intensive but rewarding to the 4-H members.
The "I Dare You" awards are given to a male and female to challenge them to use their leadership skills as they grow. Winners were Jonah Samuelson and Mollie Marsh both of Russell.
Jonah continues to demonstrate increasing poise and self-confidence in his horsemanship skills. In 2012, he joined the Warren County Horse Judging Team and learned quickly to take accurate notes, organize his thoughts, and present his selections in a comprehensive manner to a panel of judges. Outside of 4-H Jonah works at a local farm feeding calves and other chores as assigned. He participates in many homeschooling activities, plays football for the junior high team at Eisenhower and the trumpet for Eisenhower. In his free time you can find Jonah volunteering to help neighbors with yard work and home repairs.
The leaders of the Scandia Trail Blazers club explain that Mollie can always be found helping out younger members. She is described as outgoing and excels in all activities. Mollie always has a smile on her face. Outside of 4-H Mollie stands out academically with her dual enrollment at St. Bonaventure. This past year Mollie was one of four students to receive the "Outstanding Achievement Award" at the 2012 Drum Major Camp. Mollie's leaders want to see her continue to succeed and challenge her to continually improve her leadership skills.
The first annual Perschke Clover Award for Leadership Development was given to Stephanie Puckly. The memorial award has been created by Mr. Norm Perschke in honor of his late wife Edice and their family's commitment to the future leaders of Warren County. The award is to encourage leadership development in youth through their communication and collaboration with fellow club members in reaching yearly goals and objectives. Stephanie was honored for her work the last four years with the State 4-H Leadership Conference and her encouragement to others to get involved in the conference. She has single handily increased the number of delegates to attend the conference by communicating the impact the conference has had on her skills.
Warren County 4-H Development Council presented $25 for the purchasing of savings bonds to the Achievement Award winners. For the leadership achievement award, Abagail Downs has supported her club by being an elected officer the last two years. She also attended the state leadership conference in 2012 which assisted her with a leadership role in her club. Stephanie Puckly received recognition for her achievement in citizenship. She attended 4-H Capital Days where the experience provided her with the awareness of how parliament works. Stephanie also had the opportunity to visit the United Nations building in New York City. The culturally diverse experience aided Stephanie in understanding how government operations differ from one nation to another. For achievement in community service, Skyler Black was honored. Her community service experiences included Christmas caroling, collecting scrap metal for the township, working the 4-H kitchen during fair week, and garbage collection along one of the roads in Grand Valley. Her favorite service was the scrap metal collection because she worked with fellow members as a team to load the metal. She also enjoyed caroling at the Rouse Home because it made her realize that letting others know you care can change their whole life.
The Leo Rapp Volunteer Community Service award was presented to Michelle Enos of Sugar Grove. Not only is she a mother of two active 4-H members but she is involved with the Lander United Methodist Church, Warren County Dairy Promotions and teaches the Wonder Kids program. Michelle inspires others to do better and to help others. She is a role model of giving one's self to her community.
Receiving the Warren County 4-H Scholarship, Brenton Maille of Pittsfield was honored. Brenton is attending Malone University and majoring in zoo biology and wildlife management.
Cody McMillen of Sugar Grove and a member of the Shamrock Sheep club was awarded the Debbie Knowlton Livestock award for his club activities, leadership, community service, and project records.
Annie Royek of Columbus and a member of the Udder Club received a plaque and $25 to purchase a savings bond for the "Brett Marsh Dairy Member Award." The award is sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Jones. During 2012, the Udder Club had a large number of first and second year members. Annie was quick to support them in their project work. She served as a wonderful role model throughout the year. Annie is described by her leader as "an encourager."
The Les Curtis Young Dairy Person Award honors Les who shared his time and dairy industry knowledge with kids of Warren County. This year Brandon Braswell of Bear Lake received the award for his work in the Udder club. Brandon explains that through his 4-H experience he has learned "Brandon Michael Braswell is a strong person." At first he and his calf did not get along. He put many thoughts into how he could be smarter and gained courage to work with his calf by himself.
The Udder Club earned the county wide community service award. The club leaders, Carrie Ludwick and Melinda Johnson stated that members held their meetings at the Lander United Methodist Church and donated supplies to the church for their support of the club. During the holiday season, the club adopted a family of 3 from the Angel tree. The club made 20 goodie bags that consisted of fruit, candy, raisins, hot cocoa and cheese. Each member took one bag and delivered it in the community. The members enjoyed each of the community service projects because they know they are giving back to the community.
Other clubs recognized were: Desperados Connie Tenney and Cheryl Hummel; Pittsfield Bronc Busters Barb, Jim, Heather, & John Emahizer, Courtney Jenkins, Katie Juke, Melissa Morse, Josh Schrader and Terry Stover; Sanford Saddles and Spurs leaders Matt and Diana Maille, Sarah Grable, and Donna Soulsby; Scandia Trail Blazers leaders Sherry Moore, Stephanie Arthurs, Jolene Ferrie, and Heather Wilcox; and Sugar Grove Ruff Riders Virginia Loizeaux, Kelly Boisvert, Rebecca Downs.
Ag Choice Farm Credit Production Project Record Book awards of $25 were presented to Stephanie Puckly of the Na-Ca-Ton Wranglers, Lindsey McMillen of the Shamrock Sheep and Tara Sleeman for her work with the Udder Club. Jim Hoge, Executive Loan Officer of Ag Choice in Meadville, sponsored this award.
Rotarians presented club officer awards. Katelyn Maille of Pittsfield received the club president trophy for her work with the Sanford Saddles and Spurs. Other presidents receiving notebooks, gavels, and pins were Kellie Coons, Morgan Hultman, and Stephanie Puckly.
The Vice President trophy was given to Abagail Downs. Lindsey McMillen also received a pin and notebook.
The treasurer's trophy went to Kaylene Coons of Bear Lake and a member of the Sugar Grove Ruff Riders. Nick Johnson of Waterford also received a calculator and pin for his work with the Milkyways.
The secretary's trophy went to Rachel Enos of Sugar Grove and a member of the Ham Handlers. Also recognized for their club work, Kate Avenali of Kane and Parker Curtis of Columbus received a pin and a notebook.
The county scrapbook trophy was presented to Destiny Upton of the Sanford Saddles & Spurs. She did a great job of collecting county-wide information throughout the year. Emily Allison of Kennedy, NY and Audrey Ferrie of Warren, members of the Scandia Trail Blazers were honored with the club scrapbook trophy for their outstanding work.
"Project Pins" were awarded to individuals submitting complete, accurate books with a story on "What I Learned from My 4-H Project." Receiving dairy project pins were: Ashley Blair, Sabrina Long, and Tara Sleeman. Project horse pins were given to: Melissa Bennett, Skyler Black, Lois Brown, Josey & Kyra Campbell, Kaylene Coons, Abagail & Katie Downs, Macey Eyler, Audrey Ferrie, Alex Hangge, Mikayla Holden, Oakleigh Gilbert, Katelyn Maille, Emma Marino, Kayla McMillen, Stephanie Puckly, Leah Stroup and Destiny Upton. Stephanie Puckly received a pin for her shooting sports project. Cody and Lindsey McMillen received pins for their sheep project books.
Rotarians in attendance to help with the presentation of awards were: Stephen & Sathya Durkac, Brenda Jones, Dr. John Sechriest, Harvey Stone, and master of ceremonies Addison Legere.
Congratulations to all Warren County 4-H members and leaders for participating and supporting the local clubs and communities. To learn more about the Warren County 4-H program go to extension.psu.edu/warren. 4-H in Pennsylvania is coordinated by Penn State Extension through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 4-H programs are open to all boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 18.