The Michigan 4-H Emerald Awards recognize Michigan’s outstanding 4-H alumni, volunteers and partners.
Join us for a memorable evening of recognition and celebration to support Michigan 4-H youth for the future.
2:30-4 p.m.- Michigan 4-H Foundation Annual Membership Meeting (optional)
Admission to the annual membership meeting is complimentary.
5 p.m. – 4-H Emerald Awards Reception
5:30 p.m. – Dinner & Program featuring the 4-H Emerald Awards.
7:30 p.m. – Dessert
The 4-H Emerald Awards include:
- 4-H Citation Award
- 4-H Emerald Clover Society
- 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards
- Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards
Register by Sept. 20, 2018. Reservations may be made online or by calling at (517) 353-6692.
The 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony is $125/person.
A block of rooms has been reserved for guests at the Quality Inn and Suites in Lansing at $130/night. To make hotel reservations, please call the hotel at (517) 886-0600 and ask for the MSU 4-H rate.
Quality Suites Hotel
901 Delta Commerce Drive
Lansing, MI 48917
The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society honors former Michigan 4-H members whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership – extraordinary use of an individual’s head, heart, hands and health to make communities, the country and the world better places in which to live. This recognition, provided by Michigan 4-H Youth Development with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation, is a tradition in Faye and Wayne Adam’s family.
Wayne Adam, the family patriarch; Alan Adam, the family’s younger son; and Dawn Reid, the family’s oldest daughter, have all been inducted into the Emerald Clover Society. Their induction allows them to proudly have their names engraved on the 4-H Emerald Clover Society wall at Kettunen Center, and to each to have a recognition award, an exclusive Emerald Clover Society membership pin and individual biographical recognition on the society’s website.
Wayne Adam, Alan Adam and Dawn Reid were selected because of their outstanding professional and business achievements, leadership in community service and philanthropy, contributions to or impact on American society, and significant leadership and achievements as Michigan 4-H members for three or more years – all requirements for nominees.
Faye Adam, although not a past 4-H member herself, recognizes the importance of the Emerald Clover Society through her family’s participation in Michigan 4-H and her service as a past president of the Michigan 4-H Foundation. Mrs. Adam said her family’s induction into the Emerald Clover Society has allowed them to identify “how they have impacted their community by what they have done because they have learned through 4-H the importance of being a volunteer and helping others what they have benefited from.”
As a family of five – Faye, Wayne and their three children – four of the five are eligible for the Emerald Clover Society, and to date, three of them have been inducted.
“It’s just a real special honor for our family to have,” the family says. “It’s a great opportunity for all of us to be involved with Michigan 4-H today in various ways.”
Emerald Clover Society members include former 4-H’ers whose careers vary from politics, teaching and farming to entrepreneurs, community leaders and those who have dedicated their lives to 4-H. Emerald Clover Society members include former Gov. John Engler, former Michigan first lady Janet Blanchard, Mary Ellen Sheets and Fred Meijer. (For the complete list of members, visit www.mi4hfdtn.org/ecs.)
Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society members are inducted every two years. The inaugural class of 62 members was inducted in 2002 in honor of the national 4-H centennial. Subsequent classes were inducted in 2004, 2006 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
The 4-H Emerald Clover Society class of 2018 nomination deadline has been extended through May 6, 2018.
Photo cutline: Pictured above are Wayne and Faye Adam with their daughter, Dawn Reid (center), at the 2008 4-H Emerald Clover Society induction ceremony.
The Michigan 4-H Foundation is hosting its annual membership meeting and the Michigan 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony on Fri., Oct. 5, 2018 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.
The Michigan 4-H Foundation Annual Membership Meeting will be from 2:30-4 p.m. Agenda items include trustee elections, audited financial statement report, 2018 president’s report and recognition of major donors to 4 H within the past year. Donors are encouraged to attend and vote on all items at the meeting.
The Michigan 4-H Emerald Awards begin at 5 p.m. with a reception, followed by dinner and the awards ceremony. The 4-H Emerald Awards honor Michigan 4-H’s outstanding 4-H alumni, volunteers and partners. These awards are provided by Michigan 4-H Youth Development with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation.
Serving as Masters of Ceremonies is Montcalm County 4-H alumnus, Judy Emmons, Michigan Senator and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society member.
Reservations may be made online or by calling at (517) 353-6692 by Sept. 20. Admission to the annual membership meeting is complimentary. The 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony is $125/person.
A block of rooms has been reserved for guests at the Quality Inn and Suites (901 Delta Commerce Drive, Lansing, MI 48917) for $130/night. To make hotel reservations, please call the hotel at (517) 886-0600 and ask for the MSU 4-H rate.
Michigan 4-H Citation Awards
Since its inception in 1946, the Michigan 4-H Citation Award, the highest recognition presented by Michigan 4-H, has honored and recognized individuals and organizations whose contributions to and support of MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development programs, have significantly advanced the work of Michigan 4-H on a multicounty, regional, statewide and/or national basis. The contributions of honorees have served to expand the capacity of Michigan 4-H to make a positive impact on the lives of Michigan’s young people in significant and meaningful ways. 4-H Citation Award recipients are:
- Dale and Sara Stuby, Constantine
- GreenStone Farm Credit Services
Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society
The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society (ECS) honors Michigan 4-H alumni whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership – extraordinary use of an individual’s head, heart, hands and health to make communities, the country and the world better places in which to live. ECS members receive a recognition award, an exclusive ECS membership pin, and individual biographical recognition on the society’s website and on the ECS wall at Kettunen Center. Emerald Clover Society inductees are:
- Darwin Booher, Evart
- Domonique Clemons, Flint
- Ronald Hendrick, East Lansing
- Barbara Haynes Heyboer, Hudsonville
- W.G. (Mac) McPerson, Lowell
- Thomas Nugent, Clarksville
- Maggie Sans, Clarkston
- Gretna Van Fleet, Frankenmuth
ECS members are inducted every two years. The inaugural class was inducted in 2002 in honor of the national 4-H centennial. Honoree biographies and nomination forms are available at www.mi4hfdtn.org/ecs.
Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards
The 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards honor outstanding volunteers for their dedication to youth. The Lifetime Volunteer Award is presented to a 4-H volunteer who has spent 10 or more years volunteering for 4-H; the Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to a 4-H volunteer with less than 10 years of service. Recipients of each award are submitted for regional and national 4-H recognition honors. This award is funded by the Michigan 4-H Volunteer Recognition Fund. For more information on the 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards and past honorees, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-4-h-salute-to-excellence-awards. The 2018 4-H Salute to Excellence honorees are:
Outstanding 4-H Volunteer
- Cheryl Barton, Owosso
4-H Volunteers of the Year
- Brenda Alverson, Grand Blanc
- Gordon Ridenour, Niles
MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards
The Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award, funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment Fund, recognizes 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. Honorees designate a $1,000 award to a 4-H agricultural program of their choice. For more information on the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award and past honorees, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/mfb.
The 2018 recipients are:
- Diane Keinath, Frankenmuth
- Mary Hutka, Novi
- Kathy Grau and Mary Hammer, Chelsea
The 2017 recipients are:
- Melanie Barnes, Whittemore
- Michelle Barnes, Battle Creek
- Tiffany Spedowski, Standwood
GreenStone Farm Credit Services, headquartered in East Lansing, and Dale and Sara Stuby, of Centreville, have been honored with the prestigious Michigan 4 H Citation Award. The award was presented on Oct. 5 during the Michigan 4-H Foundation’s 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony in East Lansing.
Two Michigan 4-H Citation Awards are given each year. They honor individuals and organizations whose multicounty, regional, state, or national contributions and support have significantly advanced the work of Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H Youth Development. The contributions of honorees have expanded the capacity of Michigan 4-H to affect the lives of Michigan young people in positive, significant and meaningful ways. This award, given since 1946, is the highest recognition bestowed by Michigan 4-H Youth Development and is presented with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation.
GreenStone Farm Credit Services has been a partner with Michigan 4-H Youth Development for more than three decades. The organization has been a loyal supporter of 4-H livestock and veterinary science programs for many years, consistently sponsoring the 4-H Beef, Sheep and Swine and the 4-H Veterinary Science workshops at Kettunen Center. The company has also provided annual recognition for 4-H volunteers across the state with its support of the 4-H Award of the Clover. In addition, GreenStone is a strong partner and advocate of county 4-H programs, often as an active supporter of 4-H livestock auctions at county fairs.
GreenStone also shows its commitment to 4-H with representation on the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees. The advocacy of GreenStone Farm Credit Services helps build 4-H support across rural communities and among industry leaders.
Dale and Sara (“Sally”) Stuby’s strong partnership of philanthropy in support of Michigan 4-H has lasted several decades. As 4-H alumni, parents and volunteer leaders, Dale and Sally are truly committed to Michigan 4-H, having experienced firsthand the program’s benefits many times over.
In 2014, Dale and Sally joined nine other couples as part of the 4-H Leadership 10. This group of leadership supporters serve as public advocates for the Campaign for Michigan 4-H’s Future. As members, the Stubys have encouraged others to help build the county 4-H endowment match pool. They helped lead the St. Joseph County 4-H Endowment campaign, garnering local support to help build this perpetual fund, and have been recognized as Michigan 4-H Foundation Cornerstone Society members for their lifetime giving to 4-H. Additionally, they have each served as activists for 4-H, helping to open new doors of support for statewide 4-H programs.
Beyond their philanthropic support, the Stubys’ ties to 4-H are long and deep. Sally retired from MSU Extension in 2008 as the southwest regional director. She is the incoming Michigan 4-H Foundation president and has served as a foundation trustee since 2009. Sally is a St. Joseph County 4-H alumnus, a 4-H Emerald Clover Society member and a longtime 4-H volunteer. Her 4-H service includes 14 years as volunteer leader of the Rolling Clovers 4-H Club, eight years on the State 4-H International Exchange Committee, 15 years of coleadership in the St. Joseph County 4-H veterinary and animal science program and 10 years as the St. Joseph County Fair 4-H sheep superintendent. She is also vice-president of the Centreville FFA Alumni Association, serves on various advisory councils, and coaches 4-H/FFA livestock and meat evaluation teams for state and national competitions. Together Sally and Dale co-own and operate a 1,000-acre crop farm in Constantine.
Dale is known for conducting cooperative on-farm research with MSU and for providing internships and mentoring young agricultural students. He has served on the Constantine Cooperative Board of Directors, the Michiana Irrigation Association, the Centreville Public Schools Alumni Association and the FFA Alumni Association. Dale is also a 25-year supporter of the St. Joseph County 4-H Livestock Auction.
In these and so many other ways, the Stubys show that Michigan 4-H is a priority for both their advocacy and their personal support. As is evident in their long 4-H portfolios, Sally and Dale Stuby have invested personal time, wealth and resources to ensuring that Michigan 4‑H is well-positioned to continue to help Michigan’s young people learn, grow and succeed. The 4-H Citation Award is a celebration of their combined commitment to and support for 4-H and the work 4-H does for and with Michigan’s young people.
The 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony was hosted and emceed by State. Sen. Judy Emmons, a Montcalm County 4-H alumna and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee.
For more information on the Michigan 4-H Citation Award and awardees, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-4-h-citation-award/.
Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) has continued its longtime sponsorship of the 4-H Award of the Clover program. These resources help local 4-H programs honor 4-H volunteers who reach 20 or more years of service to 4-H. MFB has supported this recognition for nearly five decades.
“We understand the value 4-H provides to Michigan youth,” said Carl Bednarski, Michigan Farm Bureau president. “The program not only gives youth life-long skills and experiences, but allows youth to develop into responsible Michigan citizens. We are excited to continue our support of Michigan’s 4-H program.”
Volunteer recognition is an integral component of the 4-H program. Adult volunteers help youth develop new skills and explore their interests through safe, fun, engaging learning experiences. It is critical to honor the caring adults who give their time to help young people learn and achieve through 4-H.
MFB has shown its commitment to volunteer recognition with the creation of the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award – the product of a campaign led by MFB to establish an endowment to honor and recognize outstanding achievements of 4-H volunteers exhibiting excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership development in 4-H agriculture areas. Honorees each designate a $1,000 grant toward a 4-H agricultural program of their choice for volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H locally or statewide.
Eighteen honorees have received the award since its inception in 2007. The 2016 MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award recipients were Penny Sween, of Leslie, and Hollis and Jill Rockwell, Shelby.
Hollis and Jill Rockwell, Oceana County
Hollis and Jill Rockwell have been involved with 4-H since their youth. Today they are deeply involved with the 4-star Beef 4-H Club, and both hold positions on the Oceana County Farm Bureau, Hollis on the Board of Directors and Jill on the Promotion and Education Committee. Hollis advocates for Michigan’s agricultural needs at the Ag Legislative Breakfast hosted by MSU Extension bi-monthly. Additionally, he currently holds the position of vice president for the Oceana County 4-H Market Livestock Committee. Hollis is the current beef barn superintendent at the Oceana County Fair, and Jill is involved in various projects with Oceana 4-H. She helps organize and run the Oceana County Folk Festival, the Oceana County Farm Bureau Spring Break Day Camp, and the 4-H Community-wide Yard Sale and Bake Sale. Jill is involved in educating 4-H youth in meat quality and selection and also on Michigan’s potato industry. Jill has held the position of treasurer for the 4-H Small Market Animal Association Committee and is currently a member of the Oceana County 4-H Youth Council, helping make decisions for the overall educational goals and growth of Oceana County 4-H.
Penny Sween, Ingham County
Penny Sween has contributed her efforts to 4-H since she was an Ingham County youth 4-H’er. She helped create the Town N County 4-H Club. In addition to being the club administrative leader, she was the Ingham County rabbit superintendent, 4-H council president and member of the Ingham County 4-H Livestock Committee. Sween is an active member of the Michigan State Rabbit Breeders Association and the American Rabbit Breeders Association, and serves on several other state and national breed associations and local rabbit organizations. She is a nationally known and respected rabbit judge and, along with her daughter, raises and shows several types of rabbits. Sween encourages youth to explore their passions and interests and to get involved and engages club members in community service.
To learn more about the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Award or to nominate a 4-H volunteer, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-farm-bureau-4-h-excellence-in-agriculture-award. Nominations are due June 1, 2017.
In addition, MFB has continued as a partner of 4-H Capitol Experience for the past three years. 4-H Capitol Experience is a four-day teen conference with a focus on state government and policy.
Michigan Farm Bureau honors outstanding 4-H volunteers
Three outstanding 4-H volunteer leaders received Michigan Farm Bureau 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards Dec. 1, 2015 at Michigan Farm Bureau’s (MFB) 96th Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids.
Katelyn Horning of Washtenaw County, Tara Miller of Eaton County and the Kounty Klover Kids 4-H Club of Livingston County each received the award and a $1,000 grant in which they designate to a 4-H agricultural program of their choice for 4-H volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H programming locally and/or statewide.
The MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards, funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment Fund, recognizes 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.
Katelyn Horning, Washtenaw County 4-H volunteer
Horning has been a 4-H leader in Washtenaw County for the past two years, but also has been instrumental in reorganizing the county 4-H dairy quiz bowl and judging program since being a teen leader. Her enthusiasm and recruitment of members—many with no dairy experience—has reinvigorated the quiz bowl program, which continues to grow. She assisted the state 4-H dairy judging program and accompanied the 2014 team to the national contest in Wisconsin, where it claimed first-place honors. “I have learned so much through the 4-H dairy program,” Horning said. “I have gained practical knowledge about the dairy industry, plus I learned how to manage my time, and it gave me the opportunity to make lifelong friendships. I learned the importance of teamwork and learned leadership skills when I was selected team captain. Most importantly, it has given me confidence to communicate effectively and do public speaking and interviews—skills I use every day in everything I do as I pursue a degree in agriculture.”
Tara Miller, Eaton County 4-H volunteer
Miller has been a dedicated servant to agriculture and the youth of Eaton County for 22 years. She is the beef and swine leader for the Forever in Reach club and remains active with the Eaton County 4-H Council. Tara and her husband, Matt, live on a farm near Charlotte. Together, they raise shorthorn beef cattle and meat goats. She works for the Michigan State University Department of Housing and Residential Services, while he is the manager of Farmers Livestock Marketing in Battle Creek. They have three children, including a daughter, Sydney, who’s an MSU student majoring in agriculture food and natural resources education. A year ago, when the Olivet FFA barn burned down, Tara and her husband offered the use of their barn while the chapter rebuilt. In September 2014, Tara and her husband supported the family of a 4-H club member killed in car accident by organizing club and volunteer support to aide with funeral planning. “The day after the accident, Tara showed up at the farm offering to help plan the funeral dinner,” Eaton County Farm Bureau member Jill Cords said. “She mobilized the club and any volunteer that offered to assist in bringing food. In addition to all of the work organizing the meal, Tara and Matt spoke at the funeral service.” Tara also organizes many 4-H club outings and helps members show and judge livestock.
Kounty Klover Kids 4-H Club, Livingston County
Livingston County Farm Bureau nominated Kounty Klover Kids 4-H Club, led by Teena Munsell, for its outstanding effort in spreading the message of agriculture while developing leadership and communications skills of young members. It has recognized the group several times as the top volunteers in the county at its annual meetings. Kounty Klover Kids won the state award for community service for its Triple F Farms Project (Family, Farming and Food) and finished runner-up in the state award for community service area for Project RAT (Replace the Ash Trees). Triple F Farms featured members dividing into committees based on their interests and developing displays of corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, hay, beef, swine, poultry, dairy and sheep. The displays included live crops and animals, related agricultural facts and a hands-on activity for kids. Project RAT offered trees to the community to replace ash trees destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer. “We hope you will see how the Kounty Klover Kids are invaluable to our organization and to our community as a whole in advancing the positive message of agriculture and in building our future agricultural leaders,” said Debra Holmes of the Livingston County Farm Bureau. Teena Munsell accepted the award on the club’s behalf. Other adult leaders of the group include Gordon Munsell, Stephanie Fletcher and Martha Munsell.
View the award video shown at the December MFB awards ceremony
Learn more information on the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards and how to nominate a 4-H volunteer or call (517) 353-6692. Nominations are due June 1 each year.
Eight outstanding 4-H alumni were inducted into the prestigious Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society in 2018. Honorees were recognized on Oct. 5 during the Michigan 4-H Foundation’s 4-H Emerald Award Ceremony in East Lansing.
The Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society honors former Michigan 4-H members whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership – extraordinary use of an individual’s head, heart, hands and health to make communities, the country and the world better places in which to live. This recognition is provided by Michigan 4-H Youth Development with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation.
The 2018 4-H Emerald Clover Society honorees are:
- Darwin Booher, of Evart;
- Domonique Clemons, Flint;
- Ronald Hendrick, East Lansing;
- Barbara Haynes Heyboer, Hudsonville;
- W. G. (Mac) McPherson, Lowell;
- Thomas Nugent, Clarksville;
- Maggie Sans, Clarkston; and
- Gretna Van Fleet, Frankenmuth.
A new class of Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society members is inducted every two years. Honorees for this prestigious society are nominated by their peers and selected by a review committee that consists of state and county 4-H volunteers and staff members, Michigan 4-H Foundation trustees, and current Emerald Clover Society members. Selection is based on evidence of three or more years of Michigan 4-H youth membership, professional and business achievement, leadership in community service and philanthropy, contributions to or impact on American society, and significant leadership and achievement as a 4-H member.
The inaugural class of 62 members was inducted in 2002 in honor of the national 4-H centennial. To date, a total of 161 Michigan 4-H alumni have been inducted into this society. For more information on the 4 H Emerald Clover Society and its members, visit www.mi4hfdtn.org/ecs.
Nineteen Michigan 4-H alumni and volunteers were recognized Oct. 5 during the 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony in East Lansing. The awards presented at the event are among some of Michigan 4-H’s highest honors for 4-H alumni, volunteers and partners.
The ceremony was emceed by State Sen. Judy Emmons, a Montcalm County 4-H alumna and 2014 4-H Emerald Clover Society inductee. The awards are provided by Michigan 4-H Youth Development with support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation. Learn more about the 4-H Emerald Awards.
Michigan 4-H Citation Awards
The Michigan 4-H Citation Awards, the highest recognition presented by Michigan 4-H, recognizes significant contributions to Michigan 4-H programs, were awarded to GreenStone Farm Credit Services and Dale and Sara Stuby, of St. Joseph County.
Since its inception in 1946, this award has honored and recognized individuals and organizations whose contributions to and support of 4-H have significantly advanced the work of Michigan 4-H on a multicounty, regional, statewide and national basis to make positive impacts on the lives of Michigan’s young people in significant ways.
Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society
Inducted into the Michigan 4-H Emerald Clover Society (ECS) were: Darwin Booher, Evart; Domonique Clemons, Flint; Ronald Hendrick, East Lansing; Barbara Haynes Heyboer, Hudsonville; W. G. (Mac) McPherson, Lowell; Thomas Nugent, Clarksville; Maggie Sans, Clarkston; and Gretna Van Fleet, Frankenmuth.
This society – Michigan’s 4-H alumni hall of fame – honors alumni whose professional leadership and community service reflect the ultimate outcome of 4-H membership. ECS members receive a recognition award, an exclusive membership pin and recognition on the ECS wall at Kettunen Center. ECS members are inducted every two years.
Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards
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. The Lifetime 4-H Volunter, honored for 10 or more years of volunteer service, is Cheryl Barton of Shiawassee County. Brenda Alverson, Genesee County and Gordon Ridenour, Cass County were recognized as 4-H Volunteers of the Year, an award for volunteers with less than 10 years of service.
Each will have a brick engraved with his or her name to be placed in the 4-H Salute to Excellence trillium walkway at Kettunen Center. Honorees also select a Michigan 4-H program at the county or state level to receive a $400 recognition grant in their honor, made possible by the Michigan 4-H Volunteer Recognition Fund.
MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards
The Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards, funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment, recognizes 4-H volunteers who exhibit excellence in 4-H youth education and leadership in agriculture-related areas. Honorees designate a $1,000 grant to a 4-H agrcultural program of their choice.
The 2018 recipients are Mary Hutka of Oakland County, Diane Keinath, of Saginaw County, and Kathy Grau and Mary Hammer of Washtenaw County.
The 2017 recipients were also recognized at the ceremony: Melanie Barnes, Iosco County; Michelle Barnes, Calhoun County; and Tiffany Spedowski, Mecosta County.
Three outstanding 4-H leaders were honored with 2017 Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Awards Jan. 19 at MFB’s Voice of Agriculture conference in Grand Rapids.
Melanie Barnes, of Iosco County; Tiffany Spedowski, of Mecosta County; and Michelle Barnes, of Calhoun County; were recipients of $1,000 grants, funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment, to designate to a 4-H agricultural program of their choice, for volunteer training, supplies or curricula to enhance 4-H programming locally and statewide.
Since the beginning of her involvement with the 4-H program in Iosco County in 2006, Melanie Barnes has worked diligently to help local 4-H members gain skills in their project areas and for themselves. She worked with the 4-H Horse Program to establish a local 4-H educational camp to allow members to expand their horsemanship and showmanship skills, as well as leadership and teamwork skills. In addition to her guidance with the horse project area, she is also a 4-H Livestock Club volunteer.
She has been instrumental in establishing youth leadership positions for members, such as a 4-H market steer club that allows members to thrive in both their project areas and personal development. She connects 4-H with her community as well, arranging for youth to speak on the radio, and organizing community service events at the local fairgrounds as well as a youth-led community breakfast to share about the 4-H program.
“Melanie has done an outstanding job encouraging youth to participate in the 4-H Awards program both in Iosco County and at the state level,” wrote Kelli Rau in her nomination for Melanie. “In addition to supporting youth in various award programs, Melanie also encourages youth to step outside their comfort zone and participate in regional and state leadership experiences. She has a way with making youth feel empowered, and she encourages them to seek new opportunities and live the 4-H motto of making the best better.”
Tiffany Spedowski, Mecosta County
Tiffany Spedowski has been a 4-H volunteer for 20 years, leading the largest 4-H community club in Mecosta County with over 70 youth members, known as the Stanwood Pioneers 4-H Club.
Aside from being a club leader, she is involved in the Junior Livestock Association, Horse Leaders Association and Mecosta County 4-H Council. Through those groups, she holds officer roles and is actively involved in the county program, which influences and benefits the lives of all Mecosta County 4-H members.
Community service is a big focus of the Stanwood Pioneers 4-H Club. The club participates in many service projects that contribute to the quality of life in the community. Through these projects, the club stays active and involved during all seasons and helps youth to learn the importance of giving back and advancing their citizenship.
“Tiffany is showing her youth how to recognize, understand and appreciate multiculturalism,” stated Jenn Marifo in her nomination for Tiffany. “She also does this by showing through example helping out those individuals that wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to participate in 4-H. The members of her club are always growing and contributing through their service and leadership and help in any area they are needed.”
Michelle Barnes, Calhoun County
Michelle Barnes got her start with 4-H in 1998, and today she volunteers with five clubs: 4-H Dairy Starter Calf Club, 4-H Shooting Sports, Calhoun County 4-H Council, Lucky Starts 4-H Club and the Mini-winnies 4-H Club.
Along with living the life of a small farmer, she works in the veterinary field. She is a shining example of someone who works hard and shows passion for the world of agriculture. She uses the resources available to her through the veterinary clinic and her own knowledge to help teach many concepts in animal husbandry, nutrition and much more.
She leads many community service projects for 4-H Council. She represents 4-H at many local events, teaching youth to be involved leaders in their community by example. This past year Calhoun County 4-H offered a tractor and machine operator course for youth. She was instrumental in helping surface instructors and assembling other resources to make the program a success.
“Michelle is always encouraging youth to pursue their dreams,” said Andrea Boughton in her nomination. “She even pushes them to look outside their comfort zone and create goals that might require some hard work to achieve. Once youth have set these goals, she is there to support them every step of the way. Whether it is learning how to vaccinate, tag or build a new enclosure, Michelle will support them and usually find others to help as well.”
Supported annually through the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture and funded by the MFB 4-H Excellence in Agriculture Endowment Fund, 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.
Outstanding Michigan 4-H volunteers are recognized with Salute to Excellence awards for their dedication to county and state 4-H programs.
Three remarkable Michigan 4-H volunteers were named 2018 Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Award winners for their outstanding contributions to both county and state 4-H programs: Brenda Alverson of Genesee County, Gordon Ridenour of Cass County and Cheryl Barton of Shiawassee County. These individuals join an elite group of 4-H volunteers who have dedicated their time to serve Michigan 4-H youth and help make the best better.
The Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards highlight the important work of 4-H volunteers across the state. As the heart and soul of 4-H, volunteers give their time, energy and commitment to 4-H every day and improve the lives of the youth they serve. Through the Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program honors outstanding volunteers annually for their unwavering dedication to 4-H and Michigan youth. As part of the award process, each county 4-H program is invited to nominate up to two outstanding individual volunteers for consideration, and the winners are selected through a statewide review process.
This year, Brenda Alverson of Grand Blanc is one of two individuals to receive the Michigan 4-H Salute to Excellence 4-H Volunteer of the Year award, an award bestowed on outstanding Michigan 4-H volunteers with 10 years of service or less. Alverson actively volunteers for two Genesee County 4-H committees where she encourages youth to take part in the governmental processes as a way to learn problem solving and decision-making skills. Those who know Alverson also indicated that she encourages and empowers youth to pursue project areas they are passionate about and is committed to helping youth explore all that 4-H has to offer.
“Brenda’s dedication and teaching exemplifies all that 4-H has been and can be,” said Jen Skornicka, Genesee County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator and Alverson’s nominating staff person. “As she shares these life skills in programming and through various outreach events, she acknowledges 4-H’s historically rural, deep agricultural roots while branching out to reach suburban and urban youth. She refers to dogs, rabbits and cavies as gateway animals that can help pique a youth’s interest in further 4-H programming, including financial literacy, entrepreneurship, veterinary science, agriculture and other STEAM-related (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) program areas.”
Joining Alverson in receiving the 4-H Volunteer of the Year award is Gordon Ridenour of Niles. Ridenour has served as a role model to many youth in his county while presiding over the Cass County 4-H Leader’s Association. Nominators said Ridenour encourages members to present and share their ideas and is never afraid to take leadership of projects. He also shares his passion for welding, carpentry, electricity, plumbing and cooking with local youth by organizing project meetings, recruiting new members to participate in these categories and mentoring youth to help them complete their projects.
“Gordon is an asset to the Michigan 4-H program in Cass County, to other leaders and, most importantly, to the youth in the program,” said Stephanie Consford, former Cass County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator, who nominated Ridenour. “He forms positive relationships with youth, takes advantage of every opportunity to advocate for 4-H and is willing to try new programming efforts.”
Receiving the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer award, which honors a 4-H volunteer with more than 10 years of service, is Cheryl Barton of Owosso. She has been involved with Shiawassee County 4-H for more than 40 years and during that time, has made a tremendous impact on the county’s dog program and local youth. In her years as a volunteer, Barton has shared her knowledge and skills by teaching 4-H Exploration Days sessions, Kettunen Center 4-H workshops and 4-H Companion Animal Camp, influencing thousands of youth. Barton has also served as chair of the State 4-H Companion Animal Programming Committee and played an integral part in the State 4-H Dog Show, fulfilling the volunteer and judges coordinator positions for many years.
“Cheryl inspires kids to be the best that they can be, pushes them to work as a group and helps them make the best better,” said Nikki Hersch, Shiawassee County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator and Barton’s nominator. “She wants the youth to succeed and will do anything to help them get there. She truly reflects the 4-H motto.”
The 4-H Salute to Excellence awards are supported by the Michigan 4-H Foundation, which honors the many hours of service each of these individuals has given to 4-H by recognizing them at the 4-H Emerald Awards Ceremony. This year, the event took place Friday, Oct. 5, at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing. Learn more.
As honorees, each will receive a brick engraved with their name to be placed in the 4-H Salute to Excellence trillium walkway at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, as well as a mini-brick replica. Salute to Excellence awardees are also given the opportunity to select a Michigan 4-H program at the county or state level to receive a $400 recognition grant in their honor, made possible by the Michigan 4-H Volunteer Recognition Fund at the Michigan 4-H Foundation. To learn more about the 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards and past honorees, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/4-h-emerald-awards/michigan-4-h-salute-to-excellence-awards/.