2017 Heart of 4-H Award Winners

Thank you for helping make a difference!

Congratulations Diane Ossenk - Not Pictured
January: Diane Ossenkop

Diane has volunteered for 4-H since she was a youth member in Colorado. She has been superintendent of the 4-H/FFA Dairy Cattle Show at the Lancaster County Super Fair for many years and has helped organize several dairy cattle clinics. Diane is also secretary of the Nebraska State Dairy Association.

“A dairy cattle project is a high maintenance project that promotes a work ethic,” Diane says. “The county and state fairs are a highlight for many of the 4-H youth. These fairs give the youth a place to excel in their areas of interest, to gain confidence and self-esteem, and to make new friends. It is rewarding to see a first year 4-H’er receive their first blue ribbon and beam with a big smile on their face, thinking that next year they are going for the trophy! With only a handful of dairies left in Lancaster County, we are keeping the dairy industry in the eyes of the public with our 4-H youth. I will continue to support our 4-H youth, especially those in dairy and agriculture. After all, they are the future.”

Amber Herrick
February: Amber Herrick

Amber began volunteering for 4-H five years ago as a parent helper with the All-American Kids 4-H club and became a co-leader three years ago. She helps with many of the club’s community service projects, including 4-H food booth at the Lancaster County Super Fair and Kiwanis Karnival. All-American Kids was a 2015 and 2016 Nebraska 4-H Club of Excellence. Amber also helps with the Go Go Goat Getters, Sew Green and Paws & Pals 4-H clubs. Last year, she volunteered at 4-H Clover College with the “Great Goats” workshop.

“ “Volunteering with the amazing 4-H program in Lancaster County makes me feel good and helps me focus on what is important in life,” says Amber. “Also, I believe in helping kids grow into their skills with a little nudging, a lot of support, and a bunch of holding my breath as they figure things out for themselves. I get excited when they learn how much they can do and when they gain confidence and pride in their abilities. It’s a joy to watch the kids grow and bloom. Helping a child find their path is a privilege and a joy. I am a better person because of my involvement with the 4-H program.””

Nickie Casburn
March: Nickie Casburn

Nickie has volunteered with 4-H for over 25 years, starting with being a teen tour guide for child care groups during Fair Fun Day. Since then, she has helped in the 4-H Food & Nutrition area at the Lancaster County Fair during static exhibit entry, judging and release days. In addition, Nickie is one of the superintendents of the 4-H Bicycle Safety Contest.

“I like being a 4-H volunteer because it is the heart of our youth,” says Nickie. “I can’t imagine not having 4-H in my youth! It provided my childhood with so many amazing opportunities and still continues, too. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is meeting with new 4-H members at their first fair and discussing their project and seeing the pride of accomplishment in their entry! It is so heartwarming to see their excitement.”

Shane Krause
April: Shane Krause

Shane has helped with the Lincoln Shooting Stars 4-H club for about four years and has helped at shooting events. He has taught and coached:

  • how to use shotgun, small bore rifle/pistol and muzzleloader,
  • gun safety,
  • sportsmanship,
  • gun fit, and
  • stance.

“I enjoy working with youth in shooting sports,” Shane says. “It is creating a foundation for the future of shooting sports. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is seeing the shooters progress through the stages and passing their personal best.”

Chas Skillet
May: Chas Skillet

Chas goes above and beyond as an operations manager and arena director at the Lancaster Event Center to help set up for 4-H events held at the facility. There are four full days of 4-H events at the Lancaster County Super Fair and 4-H events throughout the year, such as clinics and shows.

Extension Associate Cole Meador says, “Chas is always there to help with logistics and make the events run smoothly.”

Chas says, “My favorite experience helping with 4-H is watching the kids receive their awards. It just shows them that hard work pays off and it is cool to see their emotions when they walk out of the ring. I have seen kids burst into tears when they get congratulatory hugs from their parents.”

Mitch Sump
June: Mitch Sump

A volunteer for 10 years, Mitch is currently president of 4-H Council and ex officio member of the Extension Board. He has helped with 4-H Council’s food booth and chicken dinner fundraisers at the Lancaster County Super Fair. Mitch also helps with the Pick-a-Pig 4-H club and 4-H Swine Show at Super Fair. The past two years, he helped at Teen Council’s overnight Lock-In for 4th & 5th graders.

“I like being a 4-H volunteer because I spend time with my kids on projects and their club activities,” Mitch says. “I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with all the kids in the club. My favorite experience as a 4-H volunteer is watching kids show hogs at the fair who, a year before, had probably never seen a hog outside of a picture.”

Rachel Hanigan
July: Rachel Hanigan

She has been a club leader since she was a sophomore in high school 10 years ago. Rachel co-led the Heart to Heart 4-H club in Lincoln, then led the 4H Friends club in Omaha, and two years ago, started the Little Green Giants club in Lincoln.

“I love working with the kids in my club,” she says. “They are a lot of fun, but I love watching them problem solve and work together. They are very creative and an incredible group of young people. My favorite experiences are working with my clubs on community-service projects. It’s great to see the kids give back, and often it’s a chance for them to try something new.”

Megan Bauman
August: Megan Bauman

Four years ago, she started the JP2 Crew 4-H club and is the organizational leader. The club was named a Nebraska 4-H Club of Excellence in 2016, which means it met criteria such as choosing/electing youth officers and completing at least one community-service project together. Megan has also helped with the county Life Challenge contest and helped write comments for Clover Kids exhibits at the Lancaster County Super Fair.

“I enjoy seeing the kids’ enthusiasm to learn something new," she says. “I started the 4-H club because I had been in 4-H when I was younger and I wanted my children to have those same positive experiences.”

Analisa Peterson
September: Analisa Peterson

A volunteer for seven years, Analisa is co-leader for the Fusion 4-H’ers club which has been a Nebraska 4-H Club of Excellence for four years (which means it meets criteria outlined by the State 4-H Office) and an Outstanding 4-H Club for four years (which is based on member participation at the Lancaster County Super Fair). She has helped with all the club’s community service projects, including helping at Kiwanis Karnival. Analisa has also volunteered in various ways at the Super Fair, including working at the 4-H food stand.

“I like being a 4-H volunteer because it gives me the opportunity to pass on the great experiences and life learning opportunities I experienced as a 4-H’er,” she says. “I like seeing the kids take on a challenge, learning life skills or practical skills that will benefit them for years to come. My favorite part of being a 4-H volunteer is teaching sewing. There are so few in my generation that learned to sew and therefore there are even fewer of this generation that can have the satisfaction of creating a garment or quilt from the scratch. I love seeing them succeed every time we add a new skill, and how their creativity blossoms.”

Kate Rawlinson
October: Kate Rawlinson

Kate has volunteered with 4-H for more than five years, starting when she was still a member. She is co-leader of the Esprit de Corps 4-H horse club, helps the club superintendent the 4-H Dressage Show at the Lancaster County Super Fair and is a tester at horsemanship advancement level testings. She also coaches horse hippology and quiz bowl teams competing at the state 4-H Stampede. The hippology team she coached in 2016 earned first place at the 4-H/FFA Western National Roundup in Denver.

“I love being a part of 4-H’ers journeys and using my experience to help them create their own successes,” says Kate. “Many great 4-H volunteers helped me on my path to many successes and I love to be able to say I did the same for someone else. I love watching a difficult horse transform after a lot of hard work, but my favorite experience was taking my first hipppology team to Denver and bring home a national title!”

She is a senior at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln majoring in veterinary science, and just applied for vet school.

Bridget Bogle
November: Bridget Bogle

A volunteer for five years, Bridget is a parent volunteer for the Amazing Treasurers 4-H club, helping members with numerous static exhibit projects such as sewing, woodwork, posters and science experiments. She helped start the Egg Basket poultry club. At the Lancaster County Super Fair, Bridget helps with the 4-H poultry show, assists youth showing meat goats and volunteers at the 4-H food stand.

“I like being a 4-H volunteer because it reminds me of being a kid again and the many memories I shared with other 4-H members that turned into lifelong friends,” she says. “And, nothing will ever replace the look on a 4-H’ers face when they receive their ribbon. I would never have became the person I am today without the many 4-H volunteers I had. Just imagine how your hobby or passion can make such an influence in a young person’s life!”

Kaiya Green
December: Kaiya Green

Kaiya has volunteered for 4-H since she aged out as a youth member almost five years ago. She is a co-leader for the South Prairie 4-H rabbit club which is based in southern Lancaster County. She is also a member of the Rabbit Volunteers in Program Service (VIPS) committee, helps teach at the rabbit fall clinics, and helps set up for the rabbit spring shows and Lancaster County Super Fair rabbit shows.

She says, “As a 4-H volunteer, my favorite experience is county fair time. The hard work of preparing activities for each club meeting, and Rabbit VIPS committee fair planning and setup has payed off.”

South Prairie 4-H’er Rhianna Metcalf says, “Kaiya pushes us to do better and improve our skills, but she also makes it fun. She has made a rabbit Jeopardy game, flashcards, fact sheets and has given several demonstrations — all to help us excel.”

4-H volunteer Suzi Dearmont says, “I first met Kaiya the day she got her first rabbit from a garage sale. She soon joined our 4-H club, South Prairie Wranglers, led by Kendra Ronnau. Quiet by nature, Kaiya didn’t do a lot of talking during the meetings, but she was obviously doing a lot of rabbit reading/studying outside of the meetings. Once Kaiya had a solid base knowledge of rabbits, she was never too timid to help anyone out — whether or not the child was a member of her 4-H club. Eventually, Kaiya was a junior leader for our rabbit club and she gave it her all. Kaiya still demonstrates her caring heart by continuing to help after being aged out of 4-H for several years.”

See more Heart of 4-H Award Winners