Heart of 4-H Award Winners 2009

Brenda Wilkinson

January. Brenda Wilkinson

Brenda has volunteered with 4-H for nearly 15 years and has helped with the Stevens Creek Stars and Happy Go Lucky 4-H clubs. She has helped with the 4-H Sheep Show at the Lancaster County Fair and is currently Assistant Superintendent of the 4-H Goat Show.

She says, "All through the years our children were showing, 4-H gave us more opportunity to spend time as a family. I like volunteering for 4-H because I think 4-H is a great project for youth and I like to see them get interested in agriculture. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was watching children come into a project never having any agricultural background, giving them an understanding of what it takes to raise and take care of livestock."

Brenda lives in Walton with her husband, Jay (he received a Heart of 4-H Award in July 2007). Even though their two daughters have outgrown the 4-H program, Brenda and Jay still volunteer with 4-H.

John Krueger

February. John Krueger. John has volunteered for 4-H for nearly 10 years, helping with the Ropes & Riggins 4-H horse club which his kids Cassie and Josh have been members. He is superintendent for the Roping/Working Ranch 4-H Horse Show and helps with the 4-H Horse Games Show at the Lancaster County Fair. John is an active member of the 4-H Horse VIPS committee. He also helped at last fall's 4-H Roping Clinic and has brought cattle for roping practices.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because it has been fun to watch the kids come into the horse program, begin their riding skills and develop into really good horsemen when they leave 4-H," says John. "We have been blessed with really good leaders in Ropes & Riggins that have taught the kids alot about riding and training horses. My favorite experience was watching the kids catch their first calf at county fair or make a really good run in one of the game events. This is when they realize how hard work really pays off."

Jim Bauman

March. Jim Bauman. Jim has volunteered for 4-H since his oldest daughter started 4-H nearly 20 years ago. He has helped members of the Flying Hoofs and Riding Wranglers 4-H clubs with horse, beef, swine, sheep and goat projects. He has also helped with fitting, selection and nutrition clinics.

"I liked watching the kids go through stages as they gained more knowledge, experience and confidence in their livestock endeavors through the years," Jim says. "My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was watching the many successes–along with some failures–my children had in 4-H."

Jim, his wife Cindy and their three children are all 4-H alumni. He is manager of the Farmers Cooperative Company Martell branch. He, his wife and his company sponsor numerous trophies for the animal shows at the Lancaster County Fair. He has served on the Lancaster County Ag Society board of directors. He is a life member of the American Quarter Horse Association and member of the Nebraska Cattlemen Association.

Carin Sandman

April. Carin Sandman. Carin has been a Lancaster County 4-H volunteer for five years and a Dodge County volunteer for 10 years. In Lancaster County, she is organizational leader of The Wild Green Clovers 4-H club and has volunteered at 4-H Clover College for three years. In Dodge County, she is project leader for the City Slickers 4-H club and attended 4-H camp with local youth. She has served on the state 4-H livestock Advisory Council as the southeast district volunteer and has volunteered at the statewide Unicameral Youth Conference.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because you have the opportunity to see youth grow and succeed in each of their talents," says Carin. "My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was attending Unicameral Youth Conference and staying in Burr Hall. The 2003 UYC was a great experience when we went to the basement for a long night of storm warnings and restless youth. We all had a great time getting to know each other and built friendships that are still present."

Elaine Simpson

May. Elaine Simpson. Five years ago, Elaine helped start the All American Kids 4-H Club (her two children are members) and was a project leader. Two years ago, she became organizational leader for the club. The club has been recognized as a Nebraska 4-H Club of Excellence the past four years.

"I enjoy challenging children to learn new things and have new experiences," says Elaine. "Watching children grow and learn is very rewarding for me. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer has been supporting children as they conduct service projects and help others in the community."

In addition to volunteering for 4-H, Elaine volunteers at church, her children's school and "Cookie Mom" for Girl Scouts.

Quentin Farley

June. Quentin Farley. Quentin has been a 4-H volunteer for 13 years in a variety of roles including: 4-H Council member, co-leader of Star City Explorers 4-H club and a Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) Group trip sponsor. He has also helped with shooting sports, the Lancaster County Fair 4-H food booth and Kiwanis Karnival.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because of the kids," says Quentin. "4-H provides great opportunities for life skills learning and self discovery. If you take a close look at the achievers in the community, you will see many have ties to 4-H! My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was being a sponsor on the CWF trip. What can you say about two weeks on a bus with 50 teenagers! Getting to know 4-H'ers from across the country better and seeing our nation's founding landmarks with these kids was truly a moving experience."

Linda Meyer

July: Linda Meyer. Linda has been organizational leader of the Rokeby Dairy 4-H club for 10 years (her husband Ron is a co-leader). They present 4-H judging practices and workshops pertaining to dairy cattle, poultry and rabbits. The couple also hosts 4-H farm tours and nature tours. For several years, Linda has also been Saline County 4-H volunteer, serving as a project leader and 4-H Council member.

"I was a third generation 4-H'er," says Linda. "I have reaped the many benefits of being involved in the 4-H program and I enjoy sharing my life experiences with others while helping them gain new skills and create positive experiences of their own. My favorite experiences is helping others and watching their faces lights up after a job well done or after learning a new skill. I'm also amazed at the lifelong friends that are made through 4-H. Many great memories are created."

Linda also volunteers with Ag Awareness Festival, FFA, Ag in the Classroom, Farm Safety Day camp and the American Dairy Association/Dairy Council.

Deb Badeer

August: Deb Badeer. Deb has been a 4-H volunteer for 20 years and has helped with the Home School Express club (which had nearly 150 members) and Clover Buds club, and is currently leader of the High Flyers club. When Nebraska 4-H started the Public Service Announcement (PSA) Contest, Deb wrote introductory materials and for many years coached youth on PSAs and speeches at workshops and club meetings. In 1995, Deb wrote and produced a promotional video for 4-H Clover Buds (now called Clover Kids). As part of the Citizenship - Public Adventures 4-H project, she takes youth to the State Capitol to meet Senators, learn the legislative process, learn to speak out on issues/lobby and observe legislative debate. She has also volunteered in several 4-H areas at the Lancaster County Fair.

"I strongly believe in the educational benefit of 'learning by doing,'" says Deb. "4-H is an excellent way of enriching a child's life and education while building closer relationships with them. They also 'master' the material they are learning by putting it to use while completing projects and receiving input and rewards at the fair. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was showing students they could write and speak before an audience. To see the light in their eyes and joy at their new found skill is truly rewarding."

Her clubs have put in many community service hours singing and performing at nursing homes.

Pat and Kim Wiseman

September: Pat and Kim Wiseman. Pat began volunteering for 4-H about 49 years ago as a club leader. Her daughter, Kim was active in 4-H at the time. In the 1970s, Kim assisted in writing environmental curriculum for 4-H. Both have continued to help with various 4-H activities to this day. Since 2003, they have been superintendents of the Lancaster County Fair 4-H General Areas (which includes posters, banners, Consumer Management, Citizenship, Entomology and more). Previously they assisted with county fair 4-H Home Environment.

Pat and Kim also help at the Nebraska State Fair in the 4-H Home Environment, Horticulture and Food areas. They recently participated in a state 4-H Web site development focus group.

For many years, they have volunteered with the annual earth wellness festival for 5th graders.

Jennifer Rawlinson

October: Jennifer Cusick-Rawlinson. Jennifer was nominated for the award by Susan Frobish, who wrote, "She is very involved in 4-H Council, Horse VIPS and Esprit de Corps 4-H Club. She is very knowledgeable, caring, dedicated and extremely committed to youth!"

Jennifer has volunteered with 4-H for nearly five years and has helped with the Lincoln Broomtails (a horseless horse club) and Esprit de Corps (a horse club). She serves on 4-H Council and on the Horse VIPS Committee (she is currently chairman of fundraising). Her daughter, Kate, is active in the 4-H horse program.

She says "I like being a 4-H volunteer because the kids love 4-H programs and volunteers are necessary to continue offering the programs. I just love watching the kids succeed and grow! We've also loved meeting so many nice 4-H families through the programs."

Danetta Jensen

November: Danetta Jensen. Danetta has been a parent volunteer for seven years. She is now leader of the newly reorganized Star City Llama & Alpaca 4-H club, which she helped rebuild. While the 4-H Llama show at the Lancaster County Fair was on hiatus for two years, Danetta helped present llama demonstrations. Last year, she was a superintendent of the returned and expanded 4-H Llama/Alpaca show at the county fair. (Alpacas are a recent addition to the club and county fair show.) Danetta and members of the club helped at the recent 4-H Kick Off.

"I enjoy working with the youth and watching their confidence in themselves grow as they achieve their goals," she says. "I enjoy watching the excitement of the 4-H'ers when their animal accepts an obstacle and maneuvers it willingly."

Danetta is a board member for the Nebraska Llama Association and she has been an assistant Girl Scout leader for six years.

Mindy Leach

December: Mindy Leach. When Mindy finished her last year as a 4-H member about four years ago, she became co-leader of the Ropes & Riggins 4-H Club. Her mother Natalie Leach is also co-leader. Mindy has been a main clinician at horse showmanship clinics and she has helped at group level testings.

Renee Heusinger, on behalf of Ropes & Riggins, nominated Mindy for the award, writing, "She continually gives of herself and her time. She is selfless, positive, always encouraging, kind and very knowledgeable."

Mindy says, "4-H is a great opportunity to get involved with local youth and help them learn about riding and showing horses. The 4-H program is excellent and is something I am proud to be involved with. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is watching the members of my club learn lessons that will not only help them in their horse shows, but also in all aspects of life. I really enjoy being there to help them and have fun with them."

Mindy is a student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and president of the UNL Equestrian Team. In 2007, she was an intern for Extension Horse Specialist Kathy Anderson and Mindy helped organize the statewide 4-H Horse Stampede.

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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