Heart of 4-H Award Winners 2012

Tammy Miner

January. Tammy Miner. Tammy has served as a 4-H leader through afterschool programming for four years.

"I grew up with 4-H, 'learning by doing.' It has shaped who I am today," Tammy says. "I encourage youth to take on new challenges with enthusiasm. As a leader, I appreciated the support and friendship I received from the staff. They encouraged me to check out the project activity kits. The entomology kit was a favorite. They all served to greatly enhance the learning experience for the youth. Sharing my love of sewing and quilting has been one of my most rewarding experiences. Parents and teachers enjoyed seeing how excited and proud the youth were when they won ribbons at the fair for their projects."

Peggy and Kenny Steward

February. Peggy and Kenny Steward. Peggy and Kenny have volunteered with the Star City Llama/Alpaca 4-H club for about ten years. Peggy is a co-leader of the club. They help with the Lancaster County adopt a llama/alpaca program, making llamas and alpacas available to youth who don't have a way to keep them. The Stewards also help club members take llamas and alpacas to schools, nursing homes, and churches to educate the public and as community service.

The Stewards are show sponsors of the 4-H Llama/Alpaca show at the Lancaster County Super Fair. They have built and acquired obstacles for the fair performance classes. They are also superintendents of the Open Class Llama show.

"We like being 4-H volunteers because we enjoy watching the kids learn about the llamas and alpacas," Peggy and Kenny say. "Watching the faces of the 4-H'ers when they accomplish a task and the pride they take when we have taught them about the animal and they are able to educate the public."

Ann Pickrel

March. Ann Pickrel. Ann started volunteering with 4-H more than 11 years ago with the Yankee Hill Kids club. She moved to the South Prairie Wranglers club when it started, which is now Lancaster County 4-H's largest club (currently with 67 members) and is a Nebraska 4-H Club of Excellence. She is an assistant leader and has helped with foods, clothing, and rabbit projects. Ann is currently president of 4-H Council and has contributed to the Council's food booth at the Lancaster County Super Fair.

"I grew up in 4-H and realize the importance that 4-H gives kids and adults to have a 'hands on' experience for leadership and real-life relationships needed in this day and age to succeed," Ann says. "My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is working hand in hand with the kids, whether it is to complete a project for fair or while side by side with them at the food booth promoting 4-H. Each time they succeed, it is well worth seeing the pride in their faces."

Bob Dresser

April. Bob Dresser. A volunteer for 10 years, Bob helps with the Rabbits R Us 4-H club and is a member of the Rabbit VIPS Committee (currently as president). At the Lancaster County Super Fair, he is overall assistant superintendent of the 4-H Rabbit Show and a superintendent of several rabbit contests.

"I like seeing 4-H exhibitors progress over the years, developing skills, learning to work together, and learning to take responsibility for their projects and livestock," Bob says. "I like to see the reactions and expressions of the 4-H exhibitors when they present their projects, livestock, and receive the results. I also enjoy working with other volunteers who are dedicated to supporting the projects of the 4-H exhibitors and for 4-H. My favorite experience is the county fair. I look forward to the fair and being a part of the results of the work of the 4-H exhibitors, their families, and the volunteers."

Mark Hurt

May. Mark Hurt. A volunteer for more than eight years, Mark helps with the Rabbits R Us 4-H club, is a member of the Rabbit Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) Committee, a superintendent of the 4-H Rabbit Judging and Breed Identification contests at the Lancaster County Super Fair, and a member of 4-H Council. He has helped with 4-H Council's food booth at the fair and other Council activities.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because I believe the kids are gaining experiences in the life skills of confidence in themselves and projecting that on others," Mark says. "It's such a positive group to be in with so much potential for urban kids to learn from. 4-H is hands-on and involvement with others, gaining communication skills along the way to use later in life. Every year I help out at the Super Fair with the youth in 4-H, helping answer questions or getting them to make more of a effort, boosting their confidence, and showing them they are capable of achieving what they want."

Cindy Zimmer

June. Cindy Zimmer. A 4-H volunteer for six years, Cindy has helped with Coddington Clovers and South Prairie Wranglers 4-H clubs. She is secretary of the Rabbits Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) committee and superintendent of the Lancaster County Super Fair 4-H Rabbit Pet Class. She has been a Clover College instructor and crochet workshop helper. She has also volunteered at Kick Off, 4-H food booth at the Super Fair, and many club community service projects.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because 4-H'ers are learning and growing," Cindy says. "Being involved helps keeps kids safe and out of trouble. Their confidence soars when they do a good job. I enjoy watching youth finish their projects and feeling the pride of accomplishment -- the look on their face when their rabbit wins a purple ribbon, they catch their first fish, or locate hidden treasure with their GPS."

Cindy also volunteers with other organizations, including YWCA En Pointe Dance booster club, Sunday school co-superintendent, and is a board member of the National Federation of the Blind's Krafters Korner.

Andy and Suzi Dearmont

July. Andy and Suzi Dearmont. The Dearmonts have volunteered for more than five years with the South Prairie Wranglers 4-H club (Lancaster County 4-H's largest club with 67 members and an Outstanding 4-H Club for four years). Suzi is the club's dog project leader, Andy assists with the horse project, and Suzi was a previous photography project leader. Both are members of the Lancaster County 4-H Dog Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) Committee and Suzi was a previous member of the Rabbit VIPS Committee. Both have helped at the 4-H Spring Rabbit Show the past five years. The Dearmonts have also helped in many club community service projects such as Kiwanis Karnival, food drives, painting trash barrels for the Lancaster Event Center, and more. Andy helped present a 4-H Speech/Public Service Announcement workshop this year.

"We like being 4-H volunteers because it is a joy to have a hand in helping children develop life skills through the many project areas 4-H offers," they said. "It is a gift to see these youth succeed and their confidence grow. Our entire family often participates together in 4-H events which has become one of our outlets for quality family time."

Janet Anderson

August. Janet Anderson. Janet has volunteered for 4-H for nearly 15 years. She was leader of the Lucky Charms 4-H Club and helps with the Friends 4 Ever club. Janet has taught and helped with several Clover College workshops and volunteered at the 4-H food booth at county fair. She has also served on 4-H Council.

"I like being a 4-H volunteer because it gives me the opportunity to work with children of all ages," Janet says. "I get excited when I see them create something they are proud of and want to show it off. My favorite experience is teaching classes at Clover College. The energy and excitement of the kids is wonderful. The variety of experiences gives kids a chance to try new things."

Shari Becker

September. Shari Becker. Shari has volunteered with 4-H for three years and been leader of the Rock Creek Ranchers 4-H Club for two years. The club is very active, currently with 26 members including three Clover Kids ages 5–7. The club holds regular meetings, members work on projects together (including beef, photography, and public service announcements), does community service activities (such as playing bingo at the Waverly Care Center), and helps at the 4-H food booth during the Lancaster County Super Fair. This year, members had 224 total entries at the Lancaster County Super Fair.

"I enjoy watching the kids grow and take on more challenging projects," Shari says. "My husband was in 4-H growing up, but I was not, so I like learning about the opportunities available through 4-H and encouraging the kids to try new things. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is going to the fair to see the kids' completed projects they have worked so hard on."

Shari Green

October. Shari Green. Shari has volunteered for 4-H for six years, five years as rabbit project leader of the South Prairie Wranglers 4-H club. She is a member of the Rabbits Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) Committee and helps with the spring Rabbit Shows and fall Rabbit Clinics. At the Lancaster County Super Fair, Shari is a superintendent of the Rabbit Quiz, Rabbit Judging Contest, and Rabbit Races. She also helps with the annual 4-H Kick Off.

Laurie Bellinghausen nominated Shari for the Heart of 4-H Award, saying, " She is always going the extra mile to make sure our kids have the knowledge and tools to exceed in their 4-H projects. Shari is always so caring, energetic, and cheerful."

Shari says, "The kids are awesome, enthusiastic, and helpful, and try their best on the contests. It is rewarding to see the kids smile and be proud of their accomplishments. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is watching kids gain confidence in a project and achieve their goals. It is great.

Jhoni Kucera

November. Jhoni Kucera. Jhoni has volunteered with Lancaster County 4-H for 15 years in many ways: helped with the Steven's Creek Stars 4-H club | volunteered at Lancaster County Fair and 4-H food booth | helped with face painting fundraisers for the Citizenship Washington Focus group | a longtime instructor at 4-H Clover College.

She says, "I love working with kids. They're so amazing. My favorite experience is the interest shown by the 4-H youth when you're showing them how to do something."

Ted and Alice Doan

December. Ted and Alice Doane. Alice has volunteered for 4-H since 1942 in Jackson County, Mo., Dawson County, Neb., and Lancaster County. Alice's mother, Julia Watt, was one of the first 4-H leaders in Jackson County, starting a chicken project in 1918. Alice still volunteers with the Lancaster County Super Fair sheep show and State Fair clothing exhibits.

Ted has volunteered for Lancaster County 4-H since 1955 and served as a State Fair sheep superintendent and Ak-Sar-Ben 4-H Livestock Show sheep superintendent for 35 years. He still interview judges livestock premier exhibitors at State Fair and Ak-Sar-Ben, and judges at numerous county and state fairs. The Doanes co-led the Progressive Herdsman livestock 4-H club for many years. Alice also led the Pinafore Lassies clothing club. Both are long time supporters of the 4-H Speech Contest. They encouraged everyone in the Progressive Herdsman to give a speech at county fair or a club meeting. They still sponsor numerous speech, sheep, swine, and clothing trophies at county and state fair.

Alice says her favorite 4-H experience is having three 4-H members become national winners at the Make it With Wool Contest. Ted says his favorite experience is watching bashful youth become professional adults such as dentists, professors, and lawyers.