Celebrating 4-H achievements

The Webster County 4-H Leaders Recognition and 4-H Awards Banquet was Sunday at the Best Western Starlite Village in Fort Dodge. Sponsored by the Webster County 4-H Foundation and the Webster County Extension Service, this annual event is held to celebrate the accomplishments of and pay tribute to 4-H’ers, volunteers and others who deserve special recognition.

Local 4-H leaders presented awards to members of their respective clubs for Junior, Intermediate and Senior Achievement and Outstanding Club Officers. Additionally, pins and certificates were presented to acknowledge the many years of service by dedicated volunteers. Special note was taken of those volunteers who are retiring. An assortment of achievement awards acknowledged project success in a wide array of fields. Other awards celebrated extra work and dedication to the 4-H program. The list of those honored at this event was long and impressive.

It’s hard to imagine anyone in Iowa who doesn’t know a bit about 4-H, but this awards banquet is an excellent time to reflect on the important contribution this organization makes by helping young people develop skills and values that will serve them well for a lifetime.

It has been more than a century since 4-H got its start in Iowa in 1901. Today it is the largest youth-development program in the Hawkeye State. About one-quarter of the state’s young folks are involved in 4-H. Those roughly 125,000 youthful participants from all 99 of the state’s counties are supported in their activities by more than 11,000 adult volunteers.

The member projects that are a key component of the 4-H program help young people develop important life skills that center on positive self-esteem, communications and decision making. Those who partake of the 4-H experience learn how to conceptualize a task and carry it through to successful conclusion. Many of the most successful members of our communities first began to hone their organizational and communications skills in 4-H.

The underlying theme of 4-H is captured succinctly in the organization’s motto: “Make the best better.” Growth through learning, teamwork and communication is at the very core of 21st-century 4-H.

The Messenger salutes the many 4-H’ers, volunteers and others honored at this important event and the many adults and young people who participate in the myriad 4-H programs. Their investment of time in 4-H today will pay dividends far into the future both for them and the communities they call home.