MICHIGAN 4-H LEGACY AWARDS: OUTSTANDING MICHIGAN 4-H ALUMNI, VOLUNTEERS, YOUTH, STAFF & PARTNERS RECOGNIZED AT 4-H LEGACY AWARDS CELEBRATION

2022 Emerald Clover Society.
2022 Emerald Clover Society.
2022 Emerald Clover Society.
The 2022 Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society.

Outstanding Michigan 4-H alumni, volunteers, youth, staff and partners were recognized Sept. 30 during the 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration in East Lansing. Awards presented at the event, which was hosted by Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Foundation, are among Michigan 4-H’s highest honors for adults.

“It was great to come together to celebrate the remarkable individuals that make up our 4-H community,” said Julie Chapin, state 4-H leader for Michigan and director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs. “There is a rich history of 4-H in our state and there is a lot to celebrate, from our current youth to our outstanding alumni, and our dedicated volunteers to our commendable partners.”

The 4-H Citation Awards, the highest recognition presented by Michigan 4-H, recognizes significant contributions to Michigan 4-H programs. This year, the honor was awarded to the Michigan Community Service Commission and to Michael and Winifred Tate.

The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society honors Michigan 4-H alumni whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership. Inducted into the 2022 class were Gail R. Frahm, Saginaw; Larry J. Gould, Morenci; Jon D. Hausserman, Fenwick; L. Janel Horrocks-Boehmer, Williamston; Alice A. Kempf, Holton; Karen Kolberg Kietzer, Stevensville; Dian M. Liepe, Pullman; Sarah J. Pion, Cassopolis; Rachael N. Ramirez, Birch Run; Melissa A. Souva, Bronson; Schawna M. Thoma, Anchorage, Alaska; and Mary J. Yeomans, Midland.

The 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards honor remarkable 4-H volunteers who have contributed substantially to both their county and state 4-H programs. This year, the 2023 Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award was presented to Michelle (Anders) McNamara of St. Joseph County and the 2023 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Kim Wright of Dickinson County.

The Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards, which recognize 4-H volunteers who exhibit excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership in agriculture-related areas, were presented in 2023 to Katheryn Bell of Oakland County, Marie Curell of Lapeer County, Melissa Barnett LaForest of Wayne County and Dione M. Oliver of Alpena County.

Also recognized at the event were the award honorees from 2019 through 2022. In 2022, honorees were David Cox of Jackson County, Vicki Rau of Ogemaw County, and Karen Scovill of Shiawassee County. In 2021, honorees were Dave Galer of Macomb County and Madaline Knight of Muskegon County. In 2020, honorees were Stacy Hough of Mecosta County and Cristie M. Warren of Washtenaw County. In 2019, honorees were Beth Clark of Shiawassee County, the late Vera Kempf of Newaygo County and Andrew Walker of Ogemaw County.

Fifty-year 4-H volunteers from 2021, 2022 and 2023 were recognized at the event, as well as winners of the 2023 MSU 4-H Scholarships and an MSU Extension 4-H staff member retiring in 2023.

“We’re grateful to continue this strong partnership of recognizing Michigan’s outstanding 4-H community through a day of celebration and camaraderie,” said Abbey Miller, director of the Michigan 4-H Foundation. “It’s always enjoyable to salute our honorees alongside our 4-H friends and family.”

The Michigan 4-H Legacy Awards Celebration was hosted by MSU Extension Associate Director Matt Shane, a Kent County 4-H alumnus and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee. To learn more about previous honorees in each of these award categories, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/.

MI Farm Bureau Award

Three outstanding 4-H leaders were honored with 2022 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards: David Cox, of Jackson County, Vicki Rau, of Ogemaw County, and Karen Scovill, of Shiawassee County. The 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards recognize outstanding achievements of Michigan 4-H volunteers or groups that have exhibited excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development in the areas of 4-H beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine and veterinary science.

David Cox, Jackson County

David Cox, Jackson County

David Cox has been a 4-H volunteer for 27 years, focusing on 4-H horse programs. He is the “go-to guy” for 4-H youth and adults in Jackson County. Cox donates his time through many facets in Jackson County 4-H, such as the horse council, Youth 4-H Foundation and Michigan 4-H Horse Council. Through his guidance, the Youth 4-H Foundation has become more driven by youth than adults and embodies what 4-H is really about — empowering youth. Cox is also one of the people found staying late after a show to make sure the grounds are in order, showing up early to condition an arena or mentoring youth on how to set up gymkhana events. More importantly, Cox makes every moment of working with youth and volunteers a teachable moment.

Since 1999, Vicki Rau has been a 4-H volunteer in Ogemaw County. Through Rau’s guidance, her club members demonstrate leadership, responsibility and the development of life skills that will support them in succeeding in any field they choose to enter. Many youth who are in her club pursue agriculture-focused or animal science-related fields upon graduation, whether that is through further education or careers within the agriculture industry. Rau is known by her peers as a dynamic leader, who demonstrates dedication, passion, heart and patience. She supports positive relationships between adults and youth, while providing an environment where they feel safe and welcome. Rau advocates for the importance of community service and giving back to others. She fosters a sense of place in her club members, which encourages them to remain active citizens within their community as they grow older. Through Rau’s leadership, youth are given a place and the support needed to grow and contribute as active citizens through service and leadership.

Karen Scovill, Shiawassee County

Karen Scovill, Shiawassee County

Karen Scovill has been a 4-H volunteer of Shiawassee County’s Busy Farmers 4-H Sheep Club since 1991. Over the decades, she has been a devoted mentor, teaching and helping 4-H’ers learn about the sheep project. Scovill has presented at many state and county fitting and showing clinics and workshops, sharing her knowledge of the care, management and showring techniques to numerous youth over the years. Additionally, Scovill has served as a member of the State 4-H Livestock Programming Committee since she was 14 and chaired the committee for 10 years. The committee plans statewide 4-H livestock workshops and sessions for 4-H Exploration Days as well as obtains interviewers for the State 4-H Awards Program. Through her guidance, many club members have received State 4-H Awards and scholarships, and achieved excellence in the showring at county, state and national events. Scovill truly enjoys working with youth, ensuring they are actively engaged in their own development and that they gain the leadership skills to help them succeed.

Honorees are recognized by both Michigan 4-H and MFB. Each received $1,000 grants, funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment, to help support a 4-H agricultural program of their choosing, for volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H programming locally and statewide. Honorees will also receive a personalized recognition memento.

The MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment was established with the Michigan 4-H Foundation in 2006 by MFB. County Farm Bureaus and individuals were asked to build the endowment and MFB matched gifts received from county Farm Bureaus up to $50,000, resulting in a $100,000 endowment. The awards have been given since 2008. To learn more about the award and past award winners, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/mfb .

Dave Galer and Madaline Knight

Two outstanding Michigan 4-H volunteers were honored with 2021-22 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards Feb. 19 at MFB’s Growing Together Conference in Grand Rapids.

Dave Galer and Madaline Knight
Michigan 4-H volunteers Dave Galer, of Macomb County, and Madaline Knight, of Muskegon County, are the recipients of the 2021-22 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards.

Michigan 4-H volunteers Dave Galer, of Macomb County, and Madaline Knight, of Muskegon County, are the recipients of the 2021-22 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards,  jointly awarded by Michigan 4-H and MFB, and funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment at the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

Honorees are nominated and selected for their outstanding volunteer efforts for 4-H youth development and education in one or more agricultural project areas, including beef cattle; dairy cattle; goats; horses; horticulture, crops and soils; poultry; rabbits; sheep; swine; and veterinary science programs.

Award recipients will each designate $1,000 grants to help support a 4-H agricultural program of their choosing for volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H programming locally and statewide.

 

DaveGaler
Dave Galer, Macomb County 4-H volunteer

Dave Galer, Macomb County

Dave Galer has been a Macomb County 4-H volunteer of the Detroit Arsenal (DTA) 4-H Club since 2013. Through his leadership, a new youth gardening project was developed. He instructed and assisted youth in building raised garden boxes, bean tepees, a Mrs. Potato Head potato patch, scarecrows and a vegetable stand. He also partnered with the Macomb County 4-H Master Gardeners to assist in maintenance and educating children.

Galer took the gardening project to a higher level when he challenged the youth to develop an irrigation system for tomato plants that promoted water conservation, built a worm farm for soil development and constructed a compost pile to replenish the garden nutrition.

“Mr. Galer recognizes and understands that 4-H can help build young people’s skillsets, provide them with the tools needed to thrive as an adult and create positive relationships that last a lifetime,” said Katelyn Golembiewski, Macomb County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator, who nominated Galer for the award.

During club meetings, Galer guides and encourages the members to make decisions, lead projects and create a positive impact in their community. He also encourages involvement in more than just the county 4-H program by promoting statewide and national 4-H opportunities for his club members to participate in.

Prior to the pandemic, Galer led a 4-H youth day of service in which 4-H members came together to create flower garden beds and landscaping at the Macomb County Animal Control Facility. The purpose of this was to provide a nicer looking space to invite community members to the facility for adoptions.

“I have watched youth learn about new things in our club as pre-teens that became favorite interests as teenagers, and ultimately, drove their education and career paths as young adults. There is no greater reward that I can imagine as a youth mentor and educator,” Galer said.

 

MadalineKnight
Madaline Knight, Muskegon County 4-H volunteer

Madaline Knight, Muskegon County

Madaline Knight has been a Muskegon County 4-H volunteer for the Hop-A-Doodle Doo 4-H Club since 2017. She has also served as president of the Muskegon 4-H Leaders Council since 2020. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions in place during 2020 and some of 2021, Knight held monthly Zoom club meetings and tried her best to keep club members engaged.

Under her leadership, the council came up with two learning kits to keep Muskegon 4-H members involved in 4-H during the pandemic. She has been nominated to serve another year as president of the council.

“Maddie’s positive attitude and engagement with her club is a shining example for other 4-H volunteer leaders in the county,” said Tonya Pell, Muskegon County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator, who nominated Knight for the award. “In both her role as a club leader and as the president of the council, she brings fresh ideas and a passionate attitude towards youth development.”

Knight encourages full participation among 4-H club members. Since 2018, club members have planned and hosted a county-wide rabbit clinic each year and assisted in other showmanship clinics for Muskegon 4-H members. Knight is well-known throughout the county as an expert in the rabbit project and for her willingness to help all 4-H members learn and grow as rabbit showmen.

She also encourages kids to become Muskegon 4-H Ambassadors and to learn about everything 4-H has to offer.

“My greatest reward has been watching the kids in my club build confidence within themselves,” Knight said. “Being a role model for them is the greatest accomplishment of my life. I love watching the kids build friendships with each other because the friends I have made in 4-H are now family to me. 4-H builds such a community of love and support.”

The MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards are supported by an endowment with the Michigan 4-H Foundation, established by Michigan Farm Bureau in 2006. County Farm Bureaus and individuals were asked to build the endowment and Michigan Farm Bureau matched gifts received from county Farm Bureaus up to $50,000, resulting in a $100,000 endowment. The awards have been given since 2008.

Nominations for the 2022-23 awards will be accepted from April 1 to June 1, 2022. For a nomination form and to learn more about the award and the award winners, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-farm-bureau-4-h-excellence-in-agriculture-award/.

Custom cutting board with 4-H clover and 50 year volunteer engraved

As individuals and organizations across the country celebrate National Volunteer Week this April 17-23, Michigan State University Extension is celebrating 24 volunteers who have given 50 or more years of service to Michigan 4-H.

A heart shaped made by people's hands.

As individuals and organizations across the country celebrate National Volunteer Week this April 17-23, Michigan State University Extension is celebrating 24 volunteers who have given 50 or more years of service to Michigan 4-H.

“Volunteers are an essential part of many MSU Extension programs,” said Quentin Tyler, director for MSU Extension. “We appreciate each and every one of those volunteers, but these 24 volunteers in particular have truly gone above and beyond. For a half century, they have given their time and talent to 4-H youth in their communities.”

Michigan 4-H is the flagship youth development program of MSU Extension. Annually, Michigan 4-H provides approximately 200,000 young people ages five to 19 with experiential learning opportunities that help develop critical life skills. These experiences are offered through numerous delivery models and countless program areas, thanks in large part to the generous support of more than 13,000 volunteers.

4-H volunteers help lead young people and grow their skills in many venues, including after-school programs, summer camps, short-term special interest groups, year-long clubs, special events, fairs, mentoring programs and more. As they provide hands-on guidance and real-world experience, these volunteers also offer young people another crucially important element: a healthy adult role model who helps to grow their confidence and ignite their dreams for the future.

“We simply could not operate our 4-H programs without the support of caring volunteers,” said Jake DeDecker, state leader for Michigan 4-H Youth Development and associate director for MSU Extension’s children and youth programs. “In their 50 years of service, these 24 people have made an immeasurable impact. They’ve led and supported many programs, championed numerous initiatives and changed countless lives and for that ongoing commitment and dedication to Michigan 4-H and youth in our state, we thank them.”

The Michigan 4-H 50-year volunteers being recognized in 2022 are:

  • Carole Billig, Lapeer County
  • John Cregg, Mason County
  • Virginia Ferris, Ionia County
  • Jeannette Flynn, Calhoun County
  • Mike Flynn, Calhoun County
  • Lester Gerstenberger, Sanilac County
  • Grant Gettel, Tuscola County
  • Joan Gould, Lenawee County
  • Larry Gould, Lenawee County
  • Raymond Jacobs, Shiawassee County*
  • Margaret Kingsbury, Muskegon County
  • Janet Lucius, Tuscola County
  • Bonnie McCarthy, Cass County
  • Floreine Mentel, Monroe County
  • Angela Michel, Monroe County
  • Daisy Myers, St. Joseph County
  • Howard Pennington, Lenawee County
  • Joanne Richardson, Hillsdale County
  • Donna Shoup, Mason County
  • James Shoup, Mason County
  • Pennie Tomac, Saginaw County
  • Roxanne Wheeler, Midland County
  • Beverly Winter, Monroe County
  • Dennis Winter, Monroe County

In recognition of their service, 50-year volunteers received a gift of appreciation from MSU Extension leadership, as well as a personal note of thanks.

Tribute gifts in honor of any or all of these 4-H volunteers may be made to support 4-H at: https://mi4hfdtn.org/memorial-tribute-gifts/.  To learn more about volunteering with Michigan 4-H, visit 4h.msue.msu.edu.

* Denotes a posthumous recognition.