2018 Heart of 4-H Award Winners

Thank you for helping make a difference!

Troy Bernadt Heart of 4-H
January: Troy Bernadt

A 4-H volunteer for five years, Troy coaches the North Star Trap Club.

“I enjoy working with kids and watching them mature and get better at shooting trap,”

Troy says. “My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was coaching a shooter that hit one target her first practice and at the end of the season she was hitting 18 to 20 targets out of 25.”

Amber HerrickJenny Schnase
February: Jenny Schnase

A 4-H volunteer for six years, she has helped as parent volunteer with several clubs: 4-H Explorers, Prairie Star and Bourne Equestrian (the later two are horse clubs). Jenny just finished serving three years on 4-H Council, two years as treasurer. She helped with 4-H Council fundraisers such as the 4-H food stand and Chicken Dinner at the Lancaster County Super Fair, as well as helping setup for static exhibits at fair.

“I enjoy watching youth grow/develop via learning and experiencing new things, and seeing the excitement and pride they feel in their accomplishments,” Jenny says. “My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is county fair time — seeing youth get their game on (i.e., getting prepared, organized and disciplined/focused. I would like to see 4-H participation be a requirement in every youth’s life. 4-H offers something for everyone!”

March: Northeast Kiwanis
Northeast Kiwanis

Lincoln Northeast Kiwanis member and Nebraska Extension Poultry Specialist Dick Earl started hatching baby chicks in a Lincoln classroom in 1975. Embryology became a Lancaster County 4-H school enrichment program the following year.

In 1991, when there were more classrooms than fertile chick eggs, Dick partnered with Northeast Kiwanis and Nebraska Poultry Industries to secure funding, order and deliver the fertile eggs to the Extension office. Currently, Kiwanis members drive 430 miles round-trip to a hatchery in Iowa three times a year to deliver a total 210 dozen eggs! Last school year, nearly 4,000 Lancaster County third graders in 186 classrooms at 57 schools participated in Embryology, thanks to the support of Northeast Kiwanis. In 2002, when Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County started EGG Cam to hatch chicks live on the internet, Northeast Kiwanis donated $400 for video equipment. Since then, EGG Cam at http://go.unl.edu/eggcam has had countless viewers and gained recognition and requests from around the world.

Kiwanis member Rick Waldren says, “We are proud to be involved in this fantastic program that benefits so many children in the Lincoln area. #KidsNeedKiwanis.”

Shelly Schedlock
April: Sally Schedlock

A volunteer for more than six years, Sally is organizational leader of the Prairie Star 4-H club and assists with Boots ‘N’ Hooves and Hunter’s Pride clubs. All three clubs focus on the 4-H horse project.

From April through October, Sally coaches youth at horse events, pre-districts, districts and Super Fair. The rest of the year, she organizes 4-H horse clinics, holiday horseback caroling, trail rides and other equine events focused on growing leaders, community and knowledge.

“I love helping and watching the youth I work with reach their goals,” says Sally. “The activities and adventures we’ve had started with their ideas, then we made it happen. Horses have alway been a way to connect people — and they have brought so many fantastic people into my life. With our 4-H community, I continue to find more fantastic parents, youth and volunteers. I love that I learn from each 4-H member in my group and through them, I grow as a leader and as an equestrian.”

Mary Brooks
May: Mary Brooks

Mary has been one of the superintendents of the 4-H general areas at the Lancaster County Super Fair for six years. General areas includes posters, entrepreneurship, citizenship, Quilt Quest and animal static exhibits. She has also volunteered at the 4-H food stand at Super Fair.

“I like to give back to an organization that meant so much to me in my youth,” Mary says. “My leadership skills, which I have used in various organizations over the years, come from lessons learned in my 4-H club. I enjoy all aspects of what I do at the county fair. I think the day the kids turn in their projects is my favorite time. I like meeting them and getting the opportunity to praise them on the work they have done. Of course, I must mention the 4-H members who help with all the paperwork and the ribbons after our judges are finished — they are some of the best examples of what 4-H does for the youth of our county.”

Chris Hansen
June: Chris Hansen

A Lancaster County 4-H volunteer for six years, Chris is co-leader of the Clever Clovers 4-H club. The club has been recognized as a Nebraska Club of Excellence for the past three years. He is also a parent volunteer for the Helping Hearts Clover Kids 4-H club. Previously, Chris helped enter horticulture projects at the Howard County Fair and Nebraska State Fair when it was in Lincoln. When he was in college, Chris was active in the UNL collegiate 4-H club and helped organize ExpoVisions for 4-H youth and leaders statewide.

He says, “I like working with our youth, teaching them different projects that someday may lead them to what they may want to do when they become an adult, like 4-H has done for me. I took horticulture in 4-H when I was a kid, and now I am a Nebraska Certified Nurseryman. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is watching the kids doing a project that I taught them and watching them see what ribbons they got at fair. Bringing a smile to a kid’s face after they see they got a purple ribbon makes me feel proud as a 4-H leader.”

Tabetha Burnham
July: Tabetha Burnham

She is a project leader for the Fusion 4-H’ers club, which has been recognized as Nebraska Club of Excellence the past three years. She helps with the monthly meetings and club’s many community service projects, including Kiwanis Karnival. In addition, Tabetha has helped at the Lancaster County Super Fair during 4-H static exhibit judging and in the 4-H food stand.

“I have a passion for serving our community and growing our youth,” she says. “My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer was learning to sew with my daughter and adding another hobby to my list. Thanks to our wonderful leaders with amazing sewing skills, we have both learned so much. I wanted to learn so I could be another pair of hands to help our club and my daughter with sewing. We now have a sewing room in our house and enjoy making several items.”

Kylee Plager
August: Kylee Plager

Kylee has volunteered for 4-H since aging out as a member two years ago. She is the superintendent of the 4-H/FFA Meat Goat show at the Lancaster County Super Fair, been an instructor at Clover College workshops and helped at pillow sewing workshops.

“I get to give back to an organization that did so much for me in helping me learn, grow and deciding on a career path to pursue through college,” Kylee says. “I would like to help a young 4-H’er be able to do the same. I really enjoy being able to work with the 4-H’ers and their goats. But I also really like sharing my skills with 4-H’ers with sewing!”

Nichole Jelinek
September: Nichole Jelinek

A volunteer for two years, Nichole is co-organizational leader of the Amazing Treasures 4-H club. The club meets monthly and works on activities voted on by the group at the beginning of the year. Members also do many community service projects such as activities with Waverly Care Center residents. The Amazing Treasures was a 2017 Outstanding 4-H Club based on members’ participation at the Lancaster County Super Fair.

“I love the life lessons that are being taught through the 4-H organization and seeing the ideas these kids bring to life,” says Nichole. “The skills that are being taught are things they aren’t necessarily learning in a text book, but things that can build upon what they are learning and give them an advantage in their future endeavors. I also love seeing things like quilting, canning, woodworking, etc. that seem to be becoming lost arts carried on by these future generations.”

Brandy Wollen
October: Brandy Wollen

Brandy has been a superintendent of the 4-H Home Environment project areas at the Lancaster County Super Fair for eight years, ever since she aged out of being a 4-H member. Brandy also helps teach furniture painting workshops each spring.

“I like being a volunteer, because it is neat to see all the exhibits the kids have created,” she says. “Each year at the fair, I enjoy talking to the kids and learning how the exhibit was made. My favorite part about being a volunteer is helping out at the furniture painting workshop. It is amazing to see the kids work on a project from start to finish, and being able to teach them some techniques.”
Erica Peterson
November: Erica Peterson

Erica has volunteered with 4-H since aging out as a member six years ago. Erica has helped in a variety of ways:

  • Presenter at the Ag Literacy Festival in Lincoln for fourth graders. She also has helped bring livestock to the festival.
  • Classroom presenter for the 4-H Embryology school enrichment program for third graders.
  • Presenter at a Youth Science Day for Homeschooled Youth.
  • Volunteer at the State 4-H Horse Exposition.

Erica has helped her niece and nephew prepare 4-H projects for Super Fair. In addition, she has also helped at the Lancaster County Super Fair’s Fun at the Farm Kid Zone ag discovery and play area. “I like being a 4-H volunteer because it allows me the opportunity to interact with kids and show them ways they can use leadership in their everyday lives,” says Erica. “My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is seeing the kids’ reactions after they discover a new project they can do at home or in the community.”

Kristyn Jones
December: Kristyn Jones

A Norris FFA Advisor for 18 years, Kristyn has volunteered at 4-H/FFA livestock shows at the Lancaster County Fair. Most recently, she has helped with the beef show. Growing up, she was a 4-H member in Colfax County.

“I like being a 4-H volunteer because I am able to work with my Norris students outside of the classroom and really see what they are passionate about — agriculture!,” says Kristyn. “I enjoy seeing students learn and progress throughout the years! They gain so much confidence and knowledge as a result of youth programming like 4-H and FFA.”

See more Heart of 4-H Award Winners