Heart of 4-H Award Winners 2006

Tom & Brenda Messick

January. Tom and Brenda Messick. The Messicks have had children in the 4-H Horse program for 15 years and have been volunteer leaders with the EquiRiders 4-H Club for 11 years. They have also helped out at numerous county, district and state 4-H horse shows.

Brenda is a member and past officer of the Horse VIPS committee. Tom is a past member of the Lancaster County Extension Board, having acted as the liaison with the Lancaster County Agricultural Society (Fair Board) for two years.

"I enjoy teaching youth how to ride horses," says Brenda. "During our 4-H meetings and arena practices, I enjoy teaching safety and horse knowledge. Currently, I am helping youth age 8 to 10 learn to ride and show for their first year. I love their excitement! Tom enjoys watching the youth ride, practice and show -- and how much they progress throughout each year.

The Messicks are members of the Capital City Horse & Pony Club and the Quarter Horse Association of Nebraska. Brenda was recently elected to the Nebraska Horse Council Board. Brenda has a business called Messick Quarter Horses and Messick Tack & Feed, giving riding lessons to youth and adults, training and boarding horses, and selling tack and shavings.

The Messicks live in Ceresco and all three of their children were members of 4-H. Their youngest son, Micah, is a senior in high school and planning to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln next fall. Tom and Brenda are also active members of the Raymond Central Booster Club and the Ceresco United Methodist Church.

Jim and Bonnie Henshaw

February. Jim and Bonnie Henshaw. The Henshaws have volunteered for the 4-H program for more than 20 years. Jim is a long-time member of the County Fair Livestock Booster Club, is Nebraska State Fair assistant superintendent of 4-H Dairy Goats and has been County Fair superintendent of 4-H Poultry. Bonnie is Lancaster County superintendent of the 4-H Dairy Goats and has been a presenter at the Ag Awareness Festival. Both have also participated on the Livestock VIPS committee.

They live on an acreage south of Lincoln. Their four children have all been 4-H members (youngest daughter Emily is still in 4-H). They have a large garden and sell produce at the Haymarket Farmers' Market.

The Henshaws have provided goats to 4-H youth living in Lincoln who want to learn about goats but don't have room to raise them. These 4-H'ers "adopt" a goat and then come to the Henshaws' acreage on a frequent basis to help care for their goat and practice their showmanship skills.

"Jim and Bonnie have hearts of gold," says 4-H staff member Deanna Karmazin. "They are so willing to help and will do anything to make the 4-H goat program bigger and better. For the Ag Awareness Festival a couple years ago, they made 500 bars of goat-milk soap to give each fourth grader!"

Barb and Ron Suing

March. Barb and Ron Suing. Married for 37 years, the Suings began volunteering for 4-H when their three children joined 4-H.

Barb was leader of the Creative Towngirls 4-H club for 16 years, was a 4-H Recruiter, has been 4-H Food Superintendent at the Lancaster County Fair for 25 years and has been a longtime volunteer at the Nebraska State Fair.

Ron was leader of the Hills Heroes 4-H club for 6 years, has taught Rocketry at Clover College for 10 years, has been 4-H Engineering Superintendent at the County Fair for 20 years, was Aerospace Superintendent at the State Fair for many years, and has taught and judged Rocketry throughout the state.

The couple also sponsors plaques at the County Fair.

"I like watching our youth grow up and maybe be something more than they may have been without your support and/or advice," says Barb. Ron says he likes to keep busy -- right now he has enough to do he will have to live to 135 years old. Barb adds, "Our favorite 4-H experience is attempting to stay young with the children and watching our own eight grandchildren participate."

Kitt Saathoff

April. Kitt Saathoff. Kitt has been a 4-H volunteer for 6 years and is organizational leader of two 4-H clubs, The American Gals and Crazy Clovers. Members in both clubs complete a wide variety of projects, including clothing, food, celebrate art and photography. She has also been an instructor at Clover College for several years.

"I have enjoyed being a leader and watching my daughters and their friends having fun doing the things I remember enjoying as a 4-H'er," says Kitt. "I enjoy spending time with kids. 4-H provides activities for my daughters and I to enjoy together. Most of the activities I enjoy as an adult, I learned from 4-H."

A Lancaster County 4-H alumnus, Kitt was a 4-H Ambassador and camp counselor. Her mother, Linda Dempsey, was leader of Kitt's club. Linda still volunteers for 4-H, assisting with Kitt's 4-H clubs and Clover College classes.

Kitt is owner of A Page In Time scrapbooking store. Kitt also volunteers at their church and their daughters' schools.

Jane Dowd

May. Jane Dowd. Jane has volunteered for 4-H for 11 years. She was leader of the Douglas Woolies sheep club and co-leader of the Launch Pads rocket club with her husband Kevin. Currently, she is organizational leader of the Creative Kids 4-H club. Jane has taught leather craft at Clover College for several years and has helped with the county-level senior Life Challenge contest.

"I enjoy teaching. 4-H has a lot to offer," said Jane. "The projects we work on in 4-H use skills that are useful for a lifetime. I enjoy watching youth build skills and grow in character for adulthood. My favorite experience is every time a 4-H'er grasps the idea or skill we are working on and you can see the light bulb turn on inside them with a big 'I get it!' look. This sometimes comes while making the project and sometimes the reward is the huge smile they wear when they see the ribbon earned."

Jane and Kevin live in Lincoln with their seven children, whom she homeschools. Jane also volunteers as a Sunday School teacher and as a speaker on spinning wool and medieval history lifestyles.

Ron Dowding

June. Ron Dowding. Ron has volunteered for Lancaster County 4-H for more than 20 years. He was organizational leader of Happy Go Lucky club for many years (in photo, he is wearing a belt buckle presented to him by the club). The club has been one of the larger 4-H clubs in Lancaster County. Ron has served as a county fair 4-H Sheep superintendant, 4-H recruiter, 4-H Council member, livestock VIPS committee member and Extension Board member. He also sponsors several livestock trophies.

"Being a 4-H volunteer is a great opportunity to give back to a program that's been a big part of my life," says Ron. "From that first rabbit at 8 years old to showing swine, sheep, dairy and beef cattle in Otoe County 4-H, to raising a small herd of registered shorthorns today in Lancaster County. My favorite part of volunteering is watching the youth not only of our club, but the youth of all Lancaster County 4-H grow into champions!!! It is very rewarding watching that little brother or sister too young for 4-H grow and mature through 4-H."

Ron is a Lancaster County Agricultural Society board member (he currently is Vice President) and he volunteers through his church.

Jean Pedersen

July. Jean Pedersen. Jean began volunteering for 4-H 10 years ago when her daughter Nicole was old enough to join 4-H. Jean has been a dedicated parent volunteer who helps her children and other members of the Cool Clovers 4-H club complete projects in sewing, foods, entomology, horticulture, photography, home environment, cats, household pets, leather and welding – and prepare for Style Revue, Table Setting, Speech & PSA, Contest and Music contests. Four years ago, Jean and Nicole joined 4-H Council. Jean currently schedules volunteers for the County Fair 4-H Corner Stop (food booth). Last year, Jean became Cool Clovers organizational leader. This year, Jean and Nicole are teaching a plant class at Clover College.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because I like to see kids learn, grow and excel in many project areas," says Jean. "I like to see kids help each other and grow into responsible confident adults. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is having the kids do well in the horticulture contests. I have also had fun serving at the 4-H Council sponsored Spudfest at the county fair."

Jean is also a UNL Extension Master Gardener volunteer. She is also a member of the Lincoln Iris Society, the Lincoln Rose Society, the Lincoln African Violet Society, the Lincoln Orchid Society, the Lincoln Herbal Society and P.E.O. Chapter HW.

Jean is currently working for Landscape Services on UNL East Campus and taking courses towards a Masters Degree in Horticulture at UNL.

Kay Clinch

August. Kay Clinch. Kay has been a 4-H leader for 10 years. She was a leader with the Hands Across America 4-H club for one year and organizational leader of Clovers and Company for nine years. Clovers and Company has been recognized four times as an Outstanding 4-H Club based on club participation at county fair. Kay and her husband Ron have been longtime superintendents of the Lancaster County Fair 4-H Bicycle Safety Contest.

"I like to see kids having fun while they learn," says Kay. "It was so much fun to see them learn new skills such as baking, sewing, woodworking, horticulture, etc. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was all the activities we did as a group: the community service projects, launching rockets, woodworking, baking and especially the mother/daughter breakfasts. Once a year, we would meet in the morning in our pajamas and cook breakfast together -- it was a blast!

Kay runs her own business, Kays Kwilts and she belongs to the Quilt Guild. She helps makes quilts to give to the poor through organizations such as Quilt Guild, the Linus Project and People's Mission.

Karen and Joel Armstrong

September. Karen and Joel Armstrong. The Armstrongs have volunteered for 4-H for nearly 10 years. Karen has been organizational leader of the Star City Llamas club for five years. They have led the llama club in numerous community service activities such as: visiting schools and churches -- often tying llamas in with South American studies | visiting retirement homes and the Madonna Alzheimer Unit | participating in the annual Star City Parade – includes designing costumes for 4-H members and llamas, as well as floats (the manure wagon is lavishly decorated to disguise its function) | pairing with Waverly FFA to set up a petting zoo at the Camp Creek Threshers Show and All 4 Kidz Expo.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because of the great kids and involved families," says Karen. "Plus the extension office is great to work with. My favorite experience is seeing faces light up in young and old alike when my kids share their animal projects."

The Armstrongs' two daughters, Rebecca and Kacy, were active 4-H members (both are now in college). The Armstrongs are special event photographers and have taken photographs at many 4-H events -- see their Web site at www.vantageimaging.com. They belong to the Nebraska Llama Association and have helped at national llama shows.

Sheila Scheideler

October. Sheila Scheideler. Sheila has been a 4-H volunteer for six years in many capacities: Leader of the Blazing Saddles 4-H club | Co-leader of the Hunters Pride 4-H club | Assistant superintendant of the County Fair 4-H Horse Jumping Show | Active member of the Horse VIPS Committee | Coach for Horse Bowl teams and Hippology teams

She was nominated for the award by Susan Frobish, who wrote, "Sheila epitomizes the heart of 4-H character. She is a kind, nuturing adult who is a wonderful 4-H role model and involves her club in all aspects of the 4-H horse program. Any parent would appreciate her as an adult mentor in their children's lives."

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because I enjoy watching 4-H members mature with their projects, learn responsibility and gain important values through their 4-H project experiences," says Sheila. "My favorite experience was watching our members practice their quadrille pattern this summer to music."

Sheila's two boys, Will and Alex are both active 4-H members. Sheila works at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Animal Science as Extension Poultry Specialist. She also volunteers with the Cornhusker Pony Club.

Lynnette Nelson

November. Lynnette Nelson . Lynnette has been a 4-H volunteer for 7 years. She began as a parent volunteer when her oldest son, Ryan, joined the Lone Star 4-H club. Four years ago, she became organizational leader of the club. Currently the club has 25 members and many of the youth have livestock projects.

"I enjoy seeing the older kids mentor the younger kids in working with their animals, getting ready for fair," says Lynnette. "One thing all the kids have in common is that even though it is a lot of work, they all really enjoy the fair and look forward to it. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is Fair Fun Day. It is fun to see the 4-H kids get excited to talk to other kids about their 4-H project -- whether it is chickens or cows, they are so proud of their animals. 4-H allows you to work as a team, but yet be an individual when it comes time to be judged."

Lynnette lives in rural Lincoln with her husband Dale. Their children, Ryan and Justine, are members of the Lone Star 4-H club. Lynnette is a board member of the Updowntowners. She is also a member of the Malcolm Youth Sports Association and Nebraska Angus Association.

Joyce and Jim Agena

December. Joyce and Jim Agena. Joyce and Jim Agena have volunteered for 4-H since 1988. Joyce was co-leader of the Wee Amigos 4-H club for two years and organizational leader for 11 years. She has been Superintendant of the Lancaster County Fair 4-H Horse Trail show for 11 years, active member of the Horse VIPS Committee for 16 years, and a level tester for four years. Jim provides valuable behind-the-scenes support. In the past, they have also helped with the 4-H dog program.

Their three daughters, Jayme, Carissa and Kendra were all active in 4-H, and helped volunteer at the County Fair after leaving 4-H. Kendra is now leader of a 4-H club.

"I like being around youth and I love animals," says Joyce. "I never had the opportunity myself when young to do any of this. So this has been an awesome experience for me. My favorite part was starting with those first year 4-H'ers and watch them in Groom & Care and each year see them grow and improve. Now I see them as college kids and parents and still loving horses. That is a true blessing."

See more Heart of 4-H Award Winners

Contact Information

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County
444 Cherrycreek Road, Ste A
Lincoln, NE 68528 | http://lancaster.unl.edu

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