A year in 4-H

From serving the homeless, or sponsoring a family through the Salvation Army’s giving tree, to competing in events and raising animals for the county fair, Webster County 4-H members have been busy this year.

The annual 4-H Volunteer Recognition and Award banquet was held Sunday evening to honor these kids, and all the adult volunteers and sponsors who make 4-H possible.

“I think it is important to have a wrap-up of the year, and get recognized for all they’ve done for the last year, and that’s what this banquet does,” said Kim Stuhrenberg, one of the leaders of the Johnson Jaguars club.

More than 300 people attended the event, which is about normal, said 4-H Program Coordinator Linda Cline. Each of Webster County’s 15 clubs were represented, and new members received certificates. The night also honored alumni members and honorary 4-H members.

As always, the students of the 4-H County Council organized the event, with Rebecca Nellis of the Country Charmers and Stephanie Martin of the Nifty Newark club serving as hostesses.

“We plan the order of the event, and plan the script,” said Nellis. “We assign people to speak. We also help choose honorary members.

“A lot of counties actually don’t have this program, so Webster County is lucky enough to have this night where they can recognize everyone,” she added.

One thing was missing from Nellis and Martin’s scripts, though; the awards they were to receive.

“We won’t know until the night is over,” Nellis said. “Those awards are blacked out in our script.”

County Council members announced each segment of the program.

Nellis’ mother, Ruth Nellis, said watching her daughter present the event shows how much she’s grown through 4-H.

“She was a shy fourth-grader,” Ruth Nellis said. “Through 4-H she’s really developed communication skills and had the chance to use them.”

Stuhrenberg has been a 4-H leader for more than five, but less than 10 years, she said. She’s also seen how much the program helps kids grow.

“I was in 4-H when I was a youth,” she said. “It teaches kids great leadership skills, community service, and responsibility.”