Heart of 4-H Award Winners 2013
January: Kent Frobish. Five years ago, Kent started helping with his daughter's various horse clubs. He is in his fourth year on 4-H Council and has a crucial role on the food booth committee. The 4-H food booth at the Lancaster County Super Fair is Council's primary fundraiser. Kent is currently treasurer of 4-H Council.
"I like being a 4-H volunteer because it allows me to be involved in activities with my kids," says Kent. "I have had the pleasure meeting and working with so many parents who want to promote the 4-H values to their children and community. 4-H is a wonderful program that greatly benefits our community and state. The 4-H food booth is lots of hard work, but a thoroughly enjoyable time with Extension staff, adult volunteers, and 4-H kids. Making thousands of bags of cotton candy has a way of bring people together. It is a sweet way to give back to the community."
February: Laurie Bellinghausen. Laurie has volunteered with the South Prairie Wranglers 4-H Club rabbit project for five years, and recently became rabbit project club leader. Laurie has been on the Lancaster County 4-H Rabbit Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) Committee for three years and currently serves as vice president. She assists with the spring rabbit shows and fall rabbit clinics. Laurie also helps with the 4-H Rabbit Shows at the Lancaster County Super Fair and is a co-superintendent of the Rabbit Quiz and Rabbit Races.
Laurie was nominated by Shari Green and Cindy Zimmer. Shari says, "She is a dedicated 4-H leader, volunteering many tireless hours with the rabbit project area at the Lancaster County Fair. Laurie is always willing to take on volunteer duties others might not want to do, such as writing comments at fair, ordering food, etc." Cindy says, "Laurie is a great leader. She goes above and beyond to help kids learn about rabbits."
Laurie says, "I want to help our youth succeed with their projects and grow independently. Being a 4-H volunteer is very rewarding and fun. The friendships that have been made are priceless. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer has been watching the youth grow and mature into mentors themselves, helping the younger or new 4-H youth with projects, support, and friendship."
March: Rod Hollman. Rod Hollman is a longtime supporter of 4-H through a variety of roles, including: leader of the Lone Star 4-H livestock club 1974-89 | President of Lancaster County 4-H Council in the '80s and ex officio member on the Extension Board (he was involved when the current building at 444 Cherrycreek Road was built) | member of the Lancaster County Ag Society for more than 20 years -- 8 years as president (he was involved when the Lancaster Building at the old State Fairgrounds was built and when the Lancaster Event Center was built), | member of the Nebraska State Fair Board for nearly seven years in the '90s | has served as superintendent for 4-H and open class beef shows, and overall livestock superintendent at the Lancaster County Fair | has served as superintendent for open class beef show and overall livestock superintendent at the Nebraska State Fair.
He says, "I like being a 4-H volunteer because I always liked helping youth. I like the enthusiasm they have for their projects. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is watching how the youth develop. I continually see past members of my club who are now successful livestock producers and business owners, and I believe their experience in 4-H played a part in their success."
April: Anne Johnson. Anne has been co-leader of Joe's Clover Knights 4-H club for five years. A Nebraska 4-H Club of Excellence, Joe's Clover Knights currently has 55 4-H members. The club works on many projects together, including rockets, food & nutrition, clothing, and quilting. Club community service projects have included creating meal bags for low-income families (for which the club received a Governor's Agricultural Excellence Award to support), making quilts and blankets for donation, and school and church grounds clean-up.
"I like being a 4-H volunteer because it gives me the opportunity to share the gifts I've been given and skills that I learned as a young 4-H'er," says Anne. "4-H was a huge part of my life and taught me many life skills. You learn life lessons and skills about how to effectively communicate to others, how to plan and organize, how to work through frustration, and more. 4-H can build your self esteem in unimaginable ways. I have MANY favorite experiences in the 5 years of being a leader of our 4-H club. They are as small as the hugs that I get from the youngest members saying how much they love 4-H, and as big as seeing our amazing group plan, provide, and hand deliver 55 nutritious meals to the less fortunate with love pouring from the 4-H'ers big smiles. I loved creating our first club quilt and working through all the frustrations of patterns that don't match, seams that needed ripped out, and then to have the beautiful results and exuberant faces of success."
May: Brian & Shannon Vogler. Brian and Shannon Vogler began volunteering nine years ago when their oldest daughter started in 4-H by helping at the county fair. Six years ago, they started their own 4-H club, the Country Riders. Brian has served on 4-H Council and Shannon has served on the Horse Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) Committee – both roles helping strengthen and support the 4-H horse program in Lancaster County. The Voglers have volunteered as level testers, co-organized roping clinics and superintended various 4-H Horse Shows at the Lancaster County Super Fair.
"It's rewarding to support youth who are interested in horses, help them grow and learn new skills around horsemanship, and develop as young people," the Voglers say. "Our favorite experience as 4-H volunteers is having fun as a group with our horses. It's the impromptu moments of riding together or hanging out at a show or the fair which are the richest. We love seeing the youth as they leave the arena with a big ol' smile on their face no matter what ribbon they received. They had a good time and did their best. That's all that matters. 4-H is one of the least expensive ways to build character and develop new skills in young people which can last a lifetime. But in the bigger picture, it also can build relationships within a family. The reward is quality time and memories which we truly value and treasure."
June: Tony & Nicole Scott. Volunteers for five years, the Scotts help lead the Jolly Ranchers 4-H club and are co-superintendents of the 4-H/FFA Sheep Show at the Lancaster County Super Fair. They also contribute by helping with sheep weigh-ins, hosting practices for livestock judging teams and volunteering at the 4-H Food Booth at Super Fair. Last year, they helped with Lancaster County 4-H's community service project of painting trash cans for the Lancaster Event Center. The Scotts are active members of the Livestock Booster Club and also sponsor trophies for the Super Fair.
The Scotts say, "We believe in the opportunities that 4-H provides kids to gain confidence as they experience success. The lessons the kids learn in 4-H will help them for the remainder of their lives. Our favorite experience as 4-H volunteers are helping as sheep superintendents at the Super Fair. Helping around the ring is always a lot of fun. Plus, it's always fun to watch the kids continue to improve and gain confidence as they grow."
July: Holly Steinbach. Holly began volunteering with the All American Kids 4-H club seven years ago when her daughter started 4-H. Holly took over as club leader five years ago and continues to lead the club even after her daughter went to college. Holly has also volunteered with the Pick-a-Pig 4-H club and 4-H food booth at Lancaster County Super Fair.
"It is very rewarding seeing the excitement the kids have for their projects for fair, their ideas for service and their overall enthusiasm for the club," says Holly. "I enjoy watching them start with an idea, working together to accomplish the goal, taking the opportunity to be the leader, and the pride they have when a project is finished. I believe 4-H is not just a hobby, but a way of life. It teaches many life lessons, but the best is that if you work hard and strive to do your best, you will be rewarded."
August: Mike & Tracie Lloyd. The Lloyds have volunteered with 4-H for nine years. They are leaders of the Equi Riders 4-H club, members of the Horse Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) and superintendents of the 4-H Horse Trail Show at the Lancaster County Super Fair.
"We enjoy watching 4-H'ers learn new things and apply what they have learned," say the Lloyds. "We see 4-H'ers build the life skills of responsibility, communication, problem solving and determination. Attitude is a tremendous part of how we all deal with success and failure. Every 4-H'er has different goals and aspirations. Sometimes a white ribbon means as much as a trophy. Our favorite experience as 4-H volunteers is watching the kids grow in confidence through the years. We believe that involvement in 4-H teaches skills that 4-H'ers will use all their lives. We are examples as former 4-H'ers. That's why we are proud to be 4-H volunteers."
September: Ben Walbrecht. A 4-H volunteer for four years, Ben helps the Happy Go Lucky 4-H club with group projects and meetings. He assists with the Youth Livestock Premium Auction at the Lancaster County Super Fair and has helped organize 4-H/FFA Beef Weigh-In days.
"I like to help encourage youth as they get the 4-H experience," Ben says. "My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is watching the kids grow and change as they develop into adults, and seeing how they learn life skills."
October: Nicole Schmidt. 4-H volunteer for eight years, Nicole is the leader of The Green Explorers 4-H club, and previously led The Zookeepers club for 4-H'ers ages 5-7. She has also helped in 4-H Council's food booth at the Lancaster County Super Fair.
"I like being a 4-H volunteer because it's a fun and rewarding opportunity to work with kids and see them get excited about projects they work hard on throughout the year," Nicole says. "My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is meeting with kids in the club at our monthly meetings and learning about a new project for 4-H that the kids and I learn from. Then, seeing the excitement from the kids when they see those projects exhibited and rewarded at the fair."
November: Steward & Kris Spath. The Spaths have volunteered for Lancaster County 4-H for 12 years in a variety of ways: Both have helped with the Stevens Creek Stars 4-H club, helped with setup for the county fair, provided livestock for judging contest practice, provided sheep for young 4-H'ers to have an animal project, and donated to the Youth Livestock Premium Auction | Kris has been ringman at the county fair 4-H/FFA sheep show, tabulated results for the Livestock Judging Contest, was announcer for this year's county fair Elite Showmanship Contest and provided transportation for youth to attend livestock judging contests in Kearney | Steward has assisted with moving livestock animals to the arena for the Livestock Judging Contest.
"We like to provide an educational opportunity for young people who are not around animals on a daily basis," say the Spaths. "It is important for youth to understand where their food comes from. Our favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is watching youth get excited about doing well with their projects at the county fair."
December: Maralee Sobotka. Leader of the Salt Valley 4-H horse club, Maralee has volunteered for eight years. Prior to being a leader, she helped with the EquiRiders club. At the Lancaster County Super Fair, Maralee and the Salt Valley club are superintendents of the 4-H Western Horse Show-2 and have helped at the 4-H food booth. Maralee is also a member of the Horse Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) Committee. She also helped with fundraising for the Lancaster County judging team to attend the 4-H & FFA Western Nationals in Denver last January.
Maralee says, "There have been so many great experiences as a volunteer. The faces on the kids when we won the state horse judging competition and got to participate at nationals was amazing, but so was the experience of sportsmanship one member showed when winning a competition and realizing she broke pattern and giving up her trophy. Watching the kids grow reflecting the values of 4-H is so rewarding."