UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — At the recent Pennsylvania 4-H State Leadership Conference, 21 4-H’ers received Diamond Clover Awards, the highest achievement possible in the Pennsylvania 4-H program.
The Clover Award Program encourages 4-H members to explore new projects and activities that will help them acquire the seven leadership life skills: communicating; decision making and problem solving; getting along with others; learning to learn; managing; understanding self; and working in groups. Engagement with the Clover Award Program is generally a multiyear process and consists of planning and implementing a service-learning project in the community.
“Now more than ever, the skills learned as 4-H’ers are needed all over our world,” said Jeanette Stackhouse, 4-H teen program manager with Penn State Extension. “We are delighted to see so much thought and effort go into these projects that make a great impact on the 4-H’ers’ local communities.”
4-H’ers from the following counties received Diamond Awards:
— Andrew Houseknecht organized an environmental day and fishing derby at a local state park to teach youth about water conservation, erosion, marine biology, geology and raptors.
— Katherine Fogel created a sensory trail for therapeutic riders of all ages at the TaKE Center, an equine assisted therapy program.
— Cora Stine carried out a project called “Kinder-garden,” bringing moveable raised garden beds to local schools for hands-on learning.
— Melissa Griswold educated third graders about local agricultural industries with an interactive presentation.
— Sophie Griswold aimed to help the public understand the daily life of farmers and how cows experience the world differently from people. She conducted research on cows’ senses and created infographics, posters and educational videos.
— Melissa Johnson worked with local businesses, individuals and 4-H clubs to send homemade gifts to the families of deployed military personnel.
— Katherine Arnett set up a meet-and-greet for families and children to get to know their local first responders in a nonemergency setting.
— Caleb Miller installed livestock gates on the cattle barn at the Elizabethtown Fair to protect the safety of the cattle and bystanders.
— Jolene Bomgardner sought to convey the importance of full-fat dairy products for growing children and worked with her school to make whole milk available in the lunch line.
— Barry Decker gave presentations on safe riding and driving practices when sharing a roadway with equine.
— Abigail Holmberg taught children aged 8-12 to sew reusable snack bags, pillowcases, stuffed animals and scrunchies. Some of the kids donated the pillowcases they made to children with cancer through the “Ryan’s Cases for Smiles” program.
— Damian Brown rebuilt the 4-H storage closet at the Montour County Fair.
— Elaina Tyson sent gift boxes to soldiers oversees to help bring awareness to how many local residents were serving in the military.
— Ashleigh Rogers worked in a local park to update the basketball courts, clean up garbage, replace the benches and update the bat box. With the help of a local environmental scientist, she also informed the community about the importance of bats.
— Hannah Burke worked closely with 4-H and school staff to revitalize the Blue Mountain High School greenhouse, starting a 4-H club to grow the garden and donate some of the plants to a local nursing home.
— Molly Coyle organized fundraisers to support a local German shepherd rescue organization and educate her community about animal science, animal science careers and the Char-Wills German Shepherd Rescue’s mission.
— Jennifer Countryman worked with the Grove Association and Penn State Extension Master Gardeners to establish a pollinator garden and educate her community about the importance of pollinators.
— Dustin Green worked with his 4-H club and Pennsylvania Game Commission officers to provide more nesting boxes for bluebirds, an endangered native bird of America.
— Sami Jo Hayman partnered with the Red Cross to coordinate a blood drive and provide education on the importance of donating blood, the criteria for blood donation and the types of recipients it helps.
— Garrett Franck worked with local community members to create a “Give and Take Free Food Pantry and Library.”
— Kaylee Knapp taught kindergarteners and their families about the local dairy industry with a variety of educational activities and handouts.
Administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Extension, 4-H is a nonformal educational youth-development program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that helps young people develop knowledge and skills to become capable, caring and contributing citizens. To find your local program, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/
–Alexandra McLaughlin, Penn State University