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Monday, October 1, 2012

Gold Star Banquet

How strange to think that we are already celebrating another year of accomplishments at the Gold Star banquet.  It seems like I just posted about this event not too long ago!

Tonight Sean, Henry and I (along with Zaira) arrived to a full room of 4Hers and their family and friends.  We really did not think we would find a seat!  Lucky for me I...I found a nice spot beside long time 4H supporter (Sandra).  We had a nice conversation throughout the evening.  We talked about the new rules of the food show...the significance of 4H...the youth in general.  I told her how much I think 4H has helped my children and how I was guaranteed 20 more years of 4H with little Zaira in arms!  It is all worth the work as we saw from the awards of the evening!

Sean found his spot in front with the other county council officers.  Henry sat quietly beside me enjoying the view through the camera lens.  Baby Zaira slept peacefully throughout the evening.

It was nice to sit back and listen to all of the successes of our 4Hers throughout the county.  The first recognition went to those who completed record books from last year.  We had 34 books turned in with 19 of those placing first place at the district level.  As Ryan told us, there are not too many more categories so it shows that our county did well.

We then had the spirit awards given out to those who promoted 4H with their love for the program.  This meant they encouraged others in our clubs or in the community to learn more about 4H.  This year our Junior Spirit award was presented to Jace Weeks.  The Senior Spirit awarded was given to Courtney Daniels (our county council president).  These two were nominated by their peers at the county level.

The leadership awards were then recognized.  These youth were chosen from applications submitted by youth leaders in our county.  These young leaders have gone above and beyond to assist the adult leadership in their projects and in county leadership roles.  The Junior Leader chosen was Kade Milligan.  Corrine Caraway was the Teen Leader.

Each year we choose a group or individual from our community who has supported 4H.  This community support is what allows our clubs to stay strong and usually entails some form of monetary donation for scholarships.  This year we were able to thank the Syler family for their generous scholarship opportunity that was granted in memory of long time 4H supporter.  This scholarship will be greatly appreciated by our 4Hers as they prepare to attend college.

The final acknowledgement went to the outstanding youth members who show leadership in all areas of 4H...from project involvement to club and county officers...these youth have shown how 4H has helped them grow into leaders for today and in their futures.  These awards are considered some of the highest honors of 4H at a local level.

The Danforth Award is given to a youth "who have demonstrated unusual integrity, balanced personal development,  and a willingness to assume responsibility."  This year's recipient was Abigail.  According to the 4H website, this award was "first offered in 1941 by businessman and philanthropist, William H. Danforth,  who dared young people to achieve their highest potential and to influence others through lives of service."  I am sure Abigail has shown these qualities to 4Hers and others.

The Gold Star award shows the importance of a well rounded career in 4H.  The recipient must show accomplishments in at least three projects or leadership roles.  Furthermore, the application states the youth "must have exhibited leadership skills by serving as a 4-H officer or committee chairman (club county, district or state), and/or as a junior or teen leader in an activity or project with or under the supervision of an adult volunteer leader. The 4-H member must have participated in one or more community service activities."  This year our county was able to award three of our outstanding youth this highest honor (limited to a certain ratio to the county membership).  The youth chosen after applications were submitted and interviews of all the candidates were: Preston, Melissa and Katy (our very own club president!).  These youth have shown the importance of taking responsibility and leadership.  We could not be more proud of their ability to "make the best better!"

Ryan ended the night thanking all those who attended and those who were honored.  It was a pleasant evening among friends!

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