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Gold, silver, green and sparkling crystals adorned the room with black and white tablecloths where 28 youth were honored recently at the annual 4-H achievement banquet.
Dressed in their best fancy dresses, suits, ties and hats, the honorees entered to have their photos taken. With more than 87 people in attendance, the night was one to remember, as 4-H youth entered the Brunswick County Cooperative Extension office on a walkway roped off with stanchions and a green carpet runway lined with “Hall of Fame” stars.
The youth were recognized in the Brunswick County 4-H program for their accomplishments during 2008. Accomplishments ranged from talent, public speaking, raising animals to show at the fair, photography contests, sewing, pottery and more.
County Extension Director Al Hight served as master of ceremonies for the evening, introducing the youth and talking about their interests and accomplishments. Each youth was honored with a certificate of achievement and the top four outstanding 4-H’ers of the year received a framed certificate, trophy and a $100 scholarship in 4-H money. The outstanding 4-H’er award is bestowed upon one youth from each division that is the most active for the year and well rounded in his or her participation of 4-H activities.
The winners of this year’s prestigious outstanding 4-H’er award were: Amber Yurgel (9-10 age division); Samantha Lawrence (11-12 age division); Perry Grosch (13-15 age division); and Justin Simmons (16-19 age division).
4-H members Samantha Lawrence, who sang, and Rachel Conley, who played the harp, provided special entertainment for the evening. Induction ceremonies honored current members and new 2009 county council officers. The 2009 officers include: Justin Simmons, president; Dorothy Conley, vice-president; Perry Grosch, secretary/treasurer; and Stefanie Zapf, reporter. 4-H county council members honored included: Rachel Conley, Rebecca Frye, Kelsey Sanders, Elizabeth Mintz, Matthew Watson and Bryan Simmons.
Horticulture Extension Agent David Barkley also spoke at the event, informing 4-H youth of horticulture judging opportunities and praised last year’s team that won the state competition and proceeded to place fifth at the national competition. He also congratulated and awarded Stefanie Zapf with a $100 check for her prize-winning craft that went to the North Carolina State Fair and represented the “best of show” award from the Cape Fear Fair and Expo last year.
Volunteers and parents of the 4-H program were recognized for their hard work and support they continually put into the program. A new, special award was given in honor of the most dedicated new 4-H’er of the year, called the “Excellence in 4-H” award.
This award went to Matthew Watson, who joined the 4-H program in 2008 by participating in the summer activities. He served on the achievement banquet planning committee and is also a county council member and centennial 4-H committee member. He has become an active member in the program throughout the past year.
Special thanks were also given to Julia Zapf, who worked with the Cooperative Extension last summer as the Summer Fun Program coordinator. Although she put in many hours as an employee directing and handling summer fun activities, her work with 4-H continues, serving as a 4-H parent, volunteer and club leader. 4-H program assistant Leslie Wilson and 4-H Secretary Gina Britton were also recognized for their many hours of work and dedication in helping to make the 4-H program a success.
At the conclusion of the banquet, there was a dance that enabled the youth to show off their dancing moves. The Macaroni Grill provided food for the event.
The Brunswick County 4-H program is open to all youth ages 5-19 and offers many youth development activities throughout the year. With more than 70 members and 200 participants for the 2008 year, it is a rapidly growing program. The program also offers school enrichment activities to over 2,000 youth through programs, such as “Embryology in the Classroom” and “Life on the Farm.”
To learn more about becoming involved in the program, e-mail Blair Green, 4-H extension agent, at email@example.com or Leslie Wilson, 4-H program assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Cooperative Extension office at 253-2610. Visit its Web site at www.brunswickco4h.shutterfly.com or blog at http://brunswick4h.wordpress.com.