Delaware Gov. John Carney visited Delaware volunteers at the annual 4-H Leader Forum held Feb. 4 at Polytech High School in Woodside.
Carney praised the gathering of more than 100 4-H volunteers, known as leaders, for their impact on the First State.
“What you do every day lifts all of us up and makes all of us better,” Carney said. “I don’t think there is any greater feeling than to teach a young person to do — whatever it is — and to see them successful at it. As a teacher, as a volunteer, that is what you do every day.
“We are not going to be successful as a country, or as a state unless we are able to instill in that next generation, the values, the skills and the leadership they need to takeover for us.”
After his remarks, Carney remained during the lunch hour, going from table to table talking with 4-H leaders and 4-H state teen officers and happily posing for photographs.
“The thing I appreciate most about Gov. Carney is that he is always supportive of youth and the things they are doing, and what we are doing here in 4-H,” said Doug Crouse, state 4-H program leader. “I know he has a busy schedule, so the fact that he spent an hour talking to every leader was very meaningful.”
The annual forum provides an opportunity for 4-H leaders and staff to present or attend professional development sessions. This year’s offering included: hippology, archery, personal branding, social media, food dehydration, leadership skills, teambuilding, healthy meals and health-related activities.
“I volunteer for 4-H because I am truly inspired by the children I lead,” said Brenda Shaffer, a New Castle County 4-H leader who is a regular at the annual conference. “I continue to learn and grow as a 4-H volunteer.”
“This year’s State 4-H Leader Forum was terrific,” said Ernie Lopez, state 4-H extension specialist. “We had a large and enthusiastic group of volunteers who came out to learn new best practices and join in recognition of the meaningful work being done by fellow 4-H volunteers up and down the state.”
Salute to Excellence awards
Each year provides an opportunity for each county to salute a volunteer of the year for excellence in service under 10 years, and a lifetime volunteer recognition for service of 10 years or more. County winners for 2016 were:
• New Castle County: Volunteer of the Year Blaky Wasgatt and Lifetime Volunteer Award winner Janice Melson.
• Kent County: Volunteer of the Year Sharon Little and Lifetime Volunteer Award winner Wayne Moore.
• Sussex County: Volunteer of the Year Tammy LeCates and Lifetime Volunteer Award winner Marian Carey.
From this selection of volunteer excellence, LeCates and Moore were chosen to represent Delaware for consideration in the regional and national 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards to be announced at a later date.
About 4-H leadership
To become a Delaware 4-H leader, adults go through an extensive application process which includes a criminal background check. In addition to training opportunities at the annual forum, 4-H volunteers receive curriculum training and support at the county level, and many participate in regional and national 4-H leader forums and 4-H sponsored events.
For more information about joining or volunteering for 4-H, visit the website.
For more photos from the forum, visit the Delaware 4-H Flickr site.
Article by Michele Walfred
Photos by Wenbo Fan
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