Delaware Congressman John Carney meets with YoUDee and 4-H Program Director Mark Manno
University of Delaware mascot YoUDee was proud to include a little 4-H green into his ensemble.
On Sat. Jan. 21, 2012, despite a forecast of sleet and snow – already accumulating in New Castle County – more than 100 4-H adult volunteers from all three counties assembled at the University of Delaware’s Townsend Hall to begin a day of volunteer training.
The 4-H forum is a long standing tradition, providing several workshop sessions in leadership, interpersonal skills and an array of 4-H project curriculum that includes the sciences, technology and healthy lifestyles. In turn, the volunteers, known as “4-H leaders” take what is learned back to their 4-H clubs, afterschool programs and communities. Each year, the location is rotated among the county Extension locations. The 2012 Newark location included some inclement weather, but that didn’t deter leaders from their mission to enhance their skills. They even got a few snowball tosses from a playful YoUDee.
The weather didn’t stop Rep. John Carney either, whose morning comments paid tribute to the consistent dedication of the 4-H volunteer spirit. “Your example is the Delaware way,” Carney said. “That is working together to do what is best for Delaware’s children.” “That you do it with such dedication and passion is remarkable.”
Delaware 4-H has reasons to be proud. 4-H is the largest youth development program in the state, making a difference in Delaware youth through a variety of delivery methods: traditional community clubs, in-school outreach, afterschool programs, special events and day and overnight camping.
4-H leaders put the program’s curriculum into action. With the support of Cooperative Extension and national 4-H curriculum of more than 130 project areas, 4-H leaders set the examples and are the teaching role models for the four H’s: Head, Heart, Hands and Health, that as their motto states, “make the best better.”
“The 2012 Delaware 4-H State Leader Forum was a terrific success!” said Ernie Lopez, UD extension specialist and 4-H statewide volunteer coordinator. “We had one our largest turnouts and the day was filled with wonderful fellowship and learning by all who attended. We are fortunate in Delaware to have the best 4-H adult volunteers in the country. All of us who work at the county and state level are grateful for their service and dedication.”
In addition to continuing volunteer education, the forum provides a venue to recognize achievements in outstanding volunteer service. The Salute to Excellence Award, created by National 4-H Council and sponsored by Monsanto, is awarded to two individuals from each county in the following categories: Volunteer of the Year, for service 10 years and under, and the Lifetime Volunteer Award for more than 10 years of service. This year’s list of winners included:
- New Castle: Volunteer of the Year: Caryn Pierson, Lifetime Volunteer: Marian Harvey
- Kent: Volunteer of the Year: Heather Crouse, Lifetime Volunteer: Charmayne Busker
- Sussex: Volunteer of the Year: Debbie Lagano, Lifetime: Wendy Wharton
From this pool of excellence, Delaware 4-H announced the selection of Charmayne Busker, Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer and Caryn Pierson, Volunteer of the Year to represent Delaware and be placed in consideration for the regional and national 4-H Salute to Excellence awards that are announced at a later date.
“All of our Salute to Excellence winners are in a class by themselves, “Lopez said. They exemplify the model of servant leadership we ask of all of our volunteers. These are challenging times for children and families throughout our state and once again, 4-H leaders have shown that their hearts are in the right place,” Lopez said.
Associate dean and Director of Extension Jan Seitz receives a flowers from 4-H Teen Council officers. Seitz, a former 4-H'er is retiring from UD in March, but is not retiring from 4-H
Also speaking at the event were Dr. Lisa Lauxman, representing USDA and NIFA, Maggie Bergen, from National 4-H, John Hickey, speaking on behalf of Monsanto, Mark Manno, Delaware 4-H program director and Dr. Jan Seitz, associate dean at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of Cooperative Extension.
Seitz was surprised by a standing ovation and by a bouquet of flowers presented to her by state 4-H teen officers. Seitz, who is retiring in March, has been active at 4-H events throughout her tenure at UD and has been a 4-H fixture at annual forums. Seitz pledged that her future involvement with Delaware 4-H will continue. “My first 4-H meeting, I was in a bassinet,” she remarked. “4-H will always be in my heart.”
For more information about Delaware 4-H please visit their website at: http://ag.udel.edu/extension/4h/. New 4-H volunteers are always welcome. For more information about becoming a 4-H volunteer leader, please contact Ernesto López at (302) 856-2585 ext 561.
Article & photos by Michele Walfred Additional photos may be viewed at the 4-H Flickr site.