Mikayla Ockels earns Delaware 4-H Diamond Clover Award

October 30, 2014 in Diamond Clover Award, mainfeature

L to R: Mark Isaacs, Rep. Steve Smyk, Rich Ockels, Mikayla Ockels, Cindy Ockels, Rep. Harvey Kenton, Ernie Lopez

L to R: Mark Isaacs, Rep. Steve Smyk, Rich Ockels, Mikayla Ockels, Cindy Ockels, Rep. Harvey Kenton, and Ernie Lopez. Photo by Michele Walfred

On September 27, 2014 during a gathering at the 2014 Sussex County 4-H Achievement Banquet, Sussex County 4-H member Mikayla Ockels, 16, is the third statewide recipient of the Delaware 4-H Diamond Clover Award, the highest honor a 4-H member can earn. The 4-H Diamond Clover Award is Delaware 4-H’s formal acknowledgment of Ockels’ achievement to make a significant difference in her community and state.

Ockels is a member of the Harbor Lights 4-H  Club and resides in Milton, Del. with her parents Rich and Cindy Ockels.

Delaware 4-H has long acknowledged excellence with blue ribbons, trophies, project pins and has awarded many scholarships to its 4-H members. The Diamond 4-H Clover Award is the capstone recognition to honor members who demonstrate extraordinary, sustained and focused service learning in their community. Ockels project implemented a goat herd management plan, part of what she envisions as a larger plan for Sussex Central High School’s teaching farm located in Georgetown.

The 4-H Diamond Clover Award is considered the equivalent of the Boy Scout Eagle or Girl Scout Gold Award.

“As with the Eagle, a very small number of members achieve this ultimate level of recognition,” said Dan Tabler a 4-H educator who conceived the award. The Delaware 4-H Foundation sponsored the award for the First State.

To attain the Diamond Clover Award, a 4-H member must first progress through five stages. Upon completion, each stage is marked with a gemstone award designation – amethyst, aquamarine, ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond. “The sixth level requires the 4-H member to propose a major community service project that must be approved by a local Diamond Clover Committee and the state 4-H project leader,” said Tabler. Completing the final level typically takes one to two years, Tabler said. Tabler worked closely with Delaware 4-H Project Leader Mark Manno to bring the award to the First State.

Ockels’ project – shepherding a team for long-term goat care

Ockels reviewed her plan with several advisors at Sussex Central High School

Ockels reviewed her plan with several advisors, here shown with Karen Oliphant who worked with Mikayla to formulate plans, collect data at Sussex Central High School. Submitted photo.

Ockels, currently a junior at Sussex Central High School, designed and facilitated a plan to care and manage goat herds housed at the school’s teaching farm. Caring for goats, as it turns out, came naturally to Ockels. Goats are part of the family’s 8-acre homestead, which also includes horses and beehives and other animals and crops the family has developed to create a self-sustaining environment.

Ever since her freshman year, Ockels arrived at school a little earlier than most students – riding with her mother Cindy  who serves as a school nurse.  During the extra time before the school bell rang, Ockels could often be found at the farm, checking in on the animals.

“The farm was a great resource for students, but I saw some areas that could be improved,” Ockels shared. The challenge, Ockels found, was clearing a plan with school administrators,teachers and students, all with different opinions, and implement the plan in such a way so that it would be sustainable for students in the future. Ockels met with school administration and worked closely to formulate plans, collect data and create communication with the Ag Science department at Sussex Central High School.

Ockels, with procedures in hand, checks on the goats at Sussex Central's teaching farm

Ockels, with procedures in hand, checks on the goats at Sussex Central’s teaching farm

Ockels developed an application process from which she selected five students to help implement her goat herd management plan, and her team quickly grew to a staff of 15 student volunteers. “This team shared responsibilities such as feeding, hoof care, medication and cleaning,” Ockels said. She taught them how to communicate and keep on track with a schedule of needed duties.

“My project taught me so many life lessons, lessons such as communication skills, time management, determination and problem solving, ” she added.

In crediting her team, Ockels also acknowledged the leadership of her 4-H advisors, and one in particular Mark Manno, Delaware 4-H project leader who died on Sept. 13.

“Mr. Mark Manno was an inspiration, a great leader, and a brilliant advisor to me as I was forming ideas from my project,” Ockels told the audience.  “His ideas helped make my project the success that it is.”

Looking ahead, Ockels sees her project expanding and continuing to impact the Sussex Central High School community and beyond. In “creating a place where students can learn about responsibility and explore career options,” Ockels is excited by the legacy her 4-H Diamond Clover project will serve for others to continue and build upon. “The power of a service project is the ability to move a body of people into action, and watch the benefits in the community,” Ockels said. “The Diamond Clover project is no longer mine alone. It belongs to the people that will help carry the project on.”

Article by Michele Walfred

 

 

Delaware 4-H celebrates 2014 Hall of Fame laureates

October 14, 2014 in Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame, mainfeature

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons told the audience that  those who served through 4-H contribute an essential part in the lives of tens of thousands of youth in Delaware

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons told the audience that those who served through 4-H contribute an essential part in the lives of tens of thousands of youth in Delaware

On Friday, October 3, 2014, Delaware 4-H celebrated the induction of 21 individuals whose time, dedication and volunteer service have left lasting legacies that will inspire future leadership through involvement with the nation’s largest youth program. The event was held at the Dover Downs Hotel.

 

U.S. Rep. John Carney with Laureates Ruth Ann Messick and Jay Hukill

U.S. Rep. John Carney with Laureates Ruth Ann Messick and Jay Hukill

U.S. Representative John Carney and U.S. Senator Chris Coons paid tribute to the Delaware 4-H Laureates. Additional members of the Delaware Legislature and representatives from the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension and the Delaware 4-H Foundation also applauded the significance the Laureates’ service on behalf of the Delaware 4-H program and the entire state.

“I hope all of us will remember tonight so many different ways the great leaders of 4-H, Bobby [Messick] and Mark [Manno] and many, many others have made a vital difference in the lives of young people that has changed them, lifted them up and given them the skills to will help them be an important part of our state, our community and our country,” Coons said.

The inaugural Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame Ceremony was held in 2012 and is modeled after the national ceremony. In 2012,  the event included a Pioneer class of inductees as well as the first class of 4-H Laureates.

The evening of celebration, shared with family and friends, remembered and honored the memory of the Laureates who could not be present at the ceremony. Their presence, in photographs shown throughout the evening, and through remarks made by family members who accepted on their behalf, was keenly felt by all who attended.

Members of the Delaware 4-H State Teen Council served as Laureate escorts for the evening.

The Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame is sponsored and supported by the Delaware 4-H Foundation and Delaware Cooperative Extension.  Delaware 4-H is the largest youth development program in the state with 41,000 members yearly and also the most effective, based on data from the Tufts Study of Positive Youth Development. Volunteer adults, known as leaders, are the life force behind the success of the 4-H program. Once a leader, the majority of volunteers continue to serve the organization for decades – a lifetime commitment to “making the best better” for Delaware children.

The 2014 Laureates in alphabetical order by county inducted in the ceremony (deceased in italics) are:

New Castle County: H. Wallace Cook, Jr. (Hap), H. Wallace Cook, Sr. (Wallace), Patricia Shaffer

Kent County: Frances Clinton and Earl Clinton, Susan Benson Cox, Jane EverlineLola GibbsBetty Lou Gooden, Ruth Ann Messick and Robert Messick, Sally Moller, Grace V. Tinley, Betty Jo (BJ) Van Kavelaar

Sussex County: Jay Hukill, Carlene Jones, Frances Millman, Barbara Taylor, William (Bill) and Ellen Vanderwende, Carole Vincent.

 

Images of the 2014 Delaware 4-H Hall of Fame are available for download on the Delaware 4-H Flickr site and may be seen below:

4-H Palindrome Robotics wins 26-hour competition in West Virginia

August 7, 2014 in mainfeature

4-H Palindrome members join alliance members as overall winners of the First Robotics Competition in West Virginia

4-H Palindrome members join alliance members as overall winners of the First Robotics Competition in West Virginia

University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension 4-H Palindrome Robotics team emerged victorious in the first ever 26-hour, 14-minute First Robotics Competition (FRC) event that ran from Friday, August 1 to Saturday, August 2 in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The event was put together by Mountaineer Area Robotics (MARS) and it was the first for the state—as well as the first event to go 26 hours.

Aibohphobia, 4-H Palindrome's award winning robot

Aibohphobia, 4-H Palindrome’s award-winning robot

The FRC Competition found Palindrome using their robot, Aibohphobia — meaning the fear of palindrome—to once again play in the aerial assist game.

The team ranked third out of 24 teams and found themselves as the second-seeded Alliance Captain, meaning they were able to pick two other teams to their alliance. They chose to team up with the Inverse Paradox team from Mississauga, Ontario, and the McDonogh Eagles from Owings Mills, Maryland.

Together with these teams, the alliance ended up winning the whole event.

Delaware's 4-H Palindrome robotic team poses with Aibohphobia

Delaware’s 4-H Palindrome robotic team poses with Aibohphobia

Santesh Shah, the mentor for the club, explained that in addition to winning, “one of our team members gets a full ride scholarship to West Virginia University. Coming out to about $13,000 a year for tuition.”

To read more about Palindrome Robotics and how they’ve fared in their inaugural year, check out their story on UDaily.

Delaware 4-H at the State Fair

July 14, 2014 in Kent County 4-H, mainfeature, New Castle County 4-H

Click the image below to view updates added by Extension 4-H staff, 4-H youth members and leaders & proud family and friends. Use the hashtag #DE4H for consideration as part of our Storify page!
[View the story "Delaware 4-H at the Delaware State Fair 2014" on Storify]

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Delaware 4-H hosts Sicilian students as part of Youth Ambassadors Program

July 11, 2014 in mainfeature

The UD Cooperative Extension 4-H Program recently hosted students from Sicily as part of the 2014 Youth Ambassadors Program. They visited the Peninsula Composting Group facility to learn more about environmental issues.

The UD Cooperative Extension 4-H Program recently hosted students from Sicily as part of the 2014 Youth Ambassadors Program. They visited the Peninsula Composting Group facility to learn more about environmental issues.

The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension 4-H Program recently hosted 14 students from Sicily, the largest of the Italian islands, as part of the 2014 Youth Ambassadors Program.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

The participants spent time in the United States from May 17 through June 7 and did everything from exploring Washington, D.C., to spending a night in New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

They also learned how to solve problems facing their communities, important information that they can take with them as they return home.

“They’ve had a pretty broad experience with the idea that they go back to Sicily and maybe do some projects in their community that engage people,” said Mark Manno, Delaware 4-H program leader. “We’ve been trying to teach them how to identify who the stakeholders are in their community and then how to proceed with a project, looking at what steps they need to take so that it’s successful. I think learning those skills will really help them in the end because you could have a great idea for a project but if you don’t know how to implement it, it won’t get off the ground.”

Many of the students identified pollution as a major problem in their community and so they spent time at the Peninsula Composting Group facility learning about commercial composting. They also took an ecological kayak tour at Sedge Island in New Jersey and helped plant beach grass to replenish the dunes.

In addition, the students learned about working in groups, doing team-building exercises to learn about each other’s personalities and how they meshed when trying to solve a problem.

“They’ve gone through what we call the True Colors personality IQ so they all understand their particular styles,” said Manno. “We always do that with kids and it’s really an exercise in diversity. They learn ‘why is this person this way and why am I that way,’ and it helps them understand that some people are very organized and some are just completely different. So they’ve done a lot of skill building and team building exercises.”

Chiara Maggiore, one of the students participating in the program, said that the program “is really teaching us something about ourselves in particular; about our capacities and how we can do something better for our community. I like the fact that we are having so much fun. We are enjoying the trip and we are experiencing things for the first time. At the same time, we came from different parts of the same region and we have such different personalities but we’ve come together and created a great group.”

Gaetano Pardo, another student on the trip, said that he had visited Australia before and was expecting America to be similar to that country. “I was expecting it to be like Australia but it’s not,” said Pardo. “There are a lot of trees and the houses are very different.”

Extending across states

The students spent a large portion of their time in the United States in New Jersey, staying with 4-H host families in the state and being led by Rutgers University Cooperative Extension. Manno pointed out that Alayne Torretta, a New Jersey 4-H agent, was great to work with and that this program — as well as the last program that had students from Colombia and Ecuador — shows the possibilities of Extension partnerships among different states.

“Last fall Delaware 4-H teamed with Maryland’s Cecil County 4-H. This is a great example of cross-state partnerships in Extension. When I first got this grant, I knew we couldn’t do two cycles a year, so I put out a call to my colleagues in the northeast region and I got a lot of interest from that. And I’ve known Alayne Toretta a long time and it’s worked out very well so far,” said Manno.

Manno added that Delaware 4-H is waiting to hear from the State Department about round two of the program. “Teens from almost anywhere in the world may be coming to Delaware and Maryland soon,” he said. “Wherever they come from, they’re guaranteed a great experience in learning about democracy and problem solving.”

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Danielle Quigley

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.

Fitness course earns Ashley Conroe the 4-H Diamond Clover Award

May 16, 2014 in mainfeature

Ashley poses with awards

Ashley Conroe, center, Delaware 4-H’s second Diamond Clover Award winner. With Ashley L-R: Michelle Rodgers, Sen. Gary Simpson, Sen. Ernie Lopez and Rep. Ronald Gray. Photo by Michele Walfred.

On Wednesday, May 14, during a gathering at the 2014 Delaware 4-H Legislative Day, Sussex County 4-H member Ashley Conroe was named as the second recipient of the Delaware 4-H Diamond Clover Award, the highest honor a 4-H member can earn. The 4-H Diamond Clover Award is Delaware 4-H’s formal acknowledgment of Conroe’s achievement to make a significant difference in her community and state.

Conroe is  a member of the Lord Baltimore 4-H Helping Hands Club and resides in Ocean View, Del. with her parents Annmarie and Greg Conroe.

Delaware 4-H has long acknowledged excellence with blue ribbons, trophies, project pins and has awarded many scholarships to its 4-H members. The Diamond 4-H Clover Award is the capstone recognition to honor members who demonstrate extraordinary, sustained and focused service learning in their community.

The 4-H Diamond Clover Award is considered the equivalent of the Boy Scout Eagle or Girl Scout Gold Award.

“As with the Eagle, a very small number of members achieve this ultimate level of recognition,” said Dan Tabler a 4-H educator who conceived the award. The Diamond Clover Award also been adopted in Maryland and Nebraska. The Delaware 4-H Foundation sponsored the award for the First State.

To attain the Diamond Clover Award, a 4-H member must first progress through five stages. Upon completion, each stage is marked with a gemstone award designation – amethyst, aquamarine, ruby, sapphire, emerald and diamond. “The sixth level requires the 4-H member to propose a major community service project that must be approved by a local Diamond Clover Committee and the State 4-H project leader,” said Tabler.

Delaware 4-H’s Project Leader Mark Manno supervised Conroe’s process which took nearly two years to complete. At the award ceremony, Manno described the 4-H Diamond Clover Award process as intense, “It is not a race, it is a journey,” Manno said. ” It takes a lot of work and it impacts a lot of people. It is not for everybody. You really have to be passionate, committed and be willing to shed a few tears,” Manno said.

Conroe’s project – some tears, a lot of rain and a feeling of accomplishment

In her years with 4-H, Conroe’s interests gravitated toward the sciences and was active in computer arts, graphic arts, aerospace and robotic projects. As a cross country team member at Indian River High School, Conroe first thought of the idea to develop a fitness course in the untended land she saw near her school’s cross country course.

“In our community, there are not many places or trails to use for people to exercise whenever they would like to, and membership in a gym can be expensive,” Conroe told the 4-H rally audience. “Having an exercise course like this would improve everyone’s health.”

Wood Science was never a chosen 4-H project for Conroe. All that was about to change.

Conroe approached her coach, Major Ryman about her idea and he approved. With his help, Conroe navigated through the approval process which meant several meetings with school board members and the school’s building and regulation committee.

Conroe used the Internet to research the different types of outdoor exercise courses available. One of stipulations of her meetings was that the material had to be natural to fit into the wooded setting where the course would be located. Conroe began to think what she might be able to construct. She had a natural resource built into her 4-H network.

girl spreading mulch around a bench

Ashley puts the the finishing touches on one of her three exercise fitness stations. Photo courtesy of Conroe family

Although wood science is a popular 4-H project, it was an area in which Conroe had no experience. “Since I didn’t have much wood working skills, I talked to several people to see who could help.”

Conroe talked with 4-H wood science leader Bo Waller, who gave her some workable ideas. “Luckily, my father has a lot of tools and saws I was able to use,” Conroe said.

Another stipulation was that the course have 10 stations, each spaced a tenth of a mile apart. Ambitious, but practical, Conroe knew creating 10 stations would prove difficult for one person to undertake.  She decided to focus on three, and set about soliciting help to create the remaining seven. Her three stations are designed to allow runners to stretch and develop core muscle strength.

Conroe knew first hand the importance of muscle tone and injury prevention. During the project, Conroe tore her ACL during a soccer game. The injury delayed her ability to work on the project. “It was hard to move around and carry wood when you have two crutches in your hand,” Conroe admitted.  Her injury required knee surgery and physical therapy. “I did learn a lot a from the physical therapy about correct exercises.”

Besides the challenges of her injury, Conroe fought an enduring rainy season, which slowed her progress. “It was hard to stabilize the wood because it was always muddy,” Conroe remembered. Each area of her station had to be cleared of grass, and soil had to be turned over and leveled. “One station was really woody and needed trees cut and weeds pulled. This took quite a long time,” Conroe said.  Each station is finished off with mulch and outlined.

Conroe also networked with her IRHS graphics instructor Mr. Hoffman and his students to construct signs that explain each station’s purpose. “He is gong to make a big map where all the stations are, ” Conroe continued. Conroe wanted a uniform look for the entire fitness trail even though many people are contributing to the overall course. “I built a sign holder at each station and each one has the 4-H logo on it,” Conroe said.

Conroe focused her attention on her three stations – a sit-up bench, a set of three balance beams and a set of steps that runners can use to stretch or practice agility. “Each of the three exercise pieces was built at my house and transported to a field, ” Conroe said.

Ashley working in the garage building station

Build it and they will come! Photo courtesy of the Conroe family

As her project began to take shape, others grew interested in the project. Conroe was able to get a teak bench donated. Conroe placed the bench near the center of the course as a place for people to rest.

Conroe, who is also a Girl Scout, worked with area scouts who donated materials to install bird houses placed in different areas throughout the course. Conroe also received donations from area lumber yards such as 84 Lumber and Lowes. A local Boy Scout is now working on one or more stations and Conroe consulted with her school’s construction teacher to have his students, who often make things for the community, to consider taking on any remaining stations to reach the goal of 10.

The journey to see her goal through taught Conroe how to ask for funds and receive donations and discounts from area vendors. “I learned how to stay organized and keep everything in line.”  Injuries, weather delays and personal loss of her grandfather were all setbacks to achieve closure for her project, but Conroe persevered and believes she is stronger for the hardships she faced. “I learned things will always work out in the end,” Conroe reflected.

Conroe can now add 4-H wood working skills to her long 4-H resume.

“It feels really good to have the accomplishment and to actually do something for the community,” she said. “The cross country and football team are using it now. I think the soccer team is going to start using it soon.” Conroe hopes that the entire community, not just the school athletes, will enjoy the course. Conroe is looking to spread the word to her community.

Conroe is currently completing her first year of college at Delaware Technical and Community College and plans to attend Salisbury State University and plans to study physical therapy.

Article by Michele Walfred

 

 

Unique Overnight Harness Racing Camp Experience Offered at Harrington Raceway In June

May 5, 2014 in mainfeature, State Events

DSC_0996Did you ever wonder what it would be like to drive a race horse? Have you ever thought about what it takes to care for a horse or prepare a horse to race? Harrington Raceway is hosting an overnight summer harness racing camp June 21-25, 2014 for youth ages 12-14. The camp is offered through a 3 way partnership formed between the Harness Horse Youth Foundation (HHYF), Harrington Raceway and the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. Campers will stay overnight at Harrington Raceway and spend a significant amount of time each day working hands on with the HHYF stable of Trottingbred racing ponies. Campers will participate in and learn about the daily care of race horses, racing equipment and harnessing, safety around horses and how to drive their equine athletes on the track.

In addition to HHYF and extension staff, local, professional drivers and trainers will be present at camp on a daily basis to help guide and instruct campers. The 5 day engaging camp experience culminates with campers partnering with professional drivers to race their ponies on the front track at Harrington Raceway, Wednesday evening June 25 in between the betting races. Registration for the camp is $150 and covers all accommodations, meals and field trips.

Campers should wear long pants, solid toed work shoes or heavy sneakers, and t-shirts. No tank tops or shorts will be permitted while working in the barn. No previous horse experience is required.

DSC_0986Registration forms are available on the State 4-H Animal Science webpage at https://extension.udel.edu/4h/files/2012/02/2014-Harness-Horse-Youth-Foundation-Harness-Racing-Camp-Application.pdf and will be accepted through May 15th. For questions, please contact Susan Garey at truehart@udel.edu or (302)730-4000 or Ellen Taylor at the Harness Horse Youth Foundation at (317)908-0029 or at ellen@hhyf.org

The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people’s lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials. For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org.

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Delaware 4-H’ers Compete at State 4-H Horse Bowl Competition

March 14, 2014 in Kent County 4-H, mainfeature

85 Delaware 4-H members representing 26 teams competed recently in the State 4-H Horse Bowl Competition held at Lake Forest North Elementary in Felton, Delaware. The Horse Bowl event is a knowledge- based, quiz bowl competition. The Delaware 4-H Horse Advisory Committee, a group composed of 4-H volunteers from all three Delaware counties that are dedicated to providing quality 4-H horse programs to members, sponsors this annual event. Members compete on teams of up to four individuals and teams are divided into brackets based on age. 4-H volunteer adult leaders coach young people to prepare them in the months leading up to the competition. 41 Delaware 4-H volunteers assisted with the Horse Bowl event.

The top three teams in each age division were:

Beginner (8-10 year olds)

1st Place- Mini Stars- Sussex County

Team Members: Ruby Phillips, Layne Smith

Coaches: Jodie Gravenor, Heather Smith

Beginner Team-Palomino Ponies- competing L to R- Alexia Carroll, Cheyenne Bowman, Donne Mullins, Paige Taylor

Beginner Team-Palomino Ponies- competing L to R- Alexia Carroll, Cheyenne Bowman, Donne Mullins, Paige Taylor

2nd Place- Palomino Ponies, Sussex County

Team Members: Cheyenne Bowman, Alexia Carroll, Donna Mullins, Paige Taylor

Coach: Heather Taylor

3rd Place- Stable Minds- Kent County

Team Members: Bethany Butler, Alex Docherty, Ally Smith, Ashton Stafford

Coaches: Heather Crouse, Stacy Stafford

New Horizons 4-H club senior team competing L to R- Chad Dempsey, Peyton Ridgely, Ashley Hurd

New Horizons 4-H club senior team competing L to R- Chad Dempsey, Peyton Ridgely, Ashley Hurd


Junior (11-13 year olds)

1st Place- Boots “N” Spurs- Sussex County

Team Members: Katelyn Records, Garrett Smith

Coach: Heather Records

2nd Place- Westville Wicked Riders- Kent County

Team Members: McKenna Corbeil, Maggie Kling

Coach: Brittany Blacksten, Laura Pomatto

1st Place Senior Team- Buckin Beauties-  L to R Rebecca Arpie, Jackie Arpie, Whitney Records, Mikayla Ockels

1st Place Senior Team- Buckin Beauties- L to R Rebecca Arpie, Jackie Arpie, Whitney Records, Mikayla Ockels

3rd Place- Hearts-4-Horses- Kent County

Team Members: Rebekah Baughman, Nicole Cannavo, Ashlyn North, Donna Urian

Coach: Betsy Cannavo, Lee Halloran

Senior (14-19 year olds)

1st Place- Buckin’ Beauties- Sussex County

Team Members: Jackie Arpie, Rebecca Arpie, Mikayla Ockels, Whitney Records

Coach: Cindy Ockels

2nd Place- Hearts-4-Horses-Kent County

Team Members: Lexi Bloxom, Haley Reynolds, Hannah Ziccarelli

Coach: Rosemary Baughman, Connie Edwards

2nd Place Senior Team- Hearts-4-Horses- L to R Hannah Ziccarelli, Lexi Blocksom, Haley Reynolds

2nd Place Senior Team- Hearts-4-Horses- L to R Hannah Ziccarelli, Lexi Blocksom, Haley Reynolds

3rd Place- Holler-N-Hooves 4-H Club- Kent County

Team Members: Sara Deason, Katie Messick

Coaches: Sharon Little

4-H is a community of young people across Delaware learning leadership, citizenship and lifeskills. Join the Revolution of Responsibility! For more information on becoming a 4-H member or volunteer in Delaware please contact your county extension office:

New Castle County: (302)831-8965

Kent County: (302)730-4000

Sussex County: (302)856-7303

Wood Science 4-H leader builds respect – saluted for excellence by National 4-H

March 11, 2014 in mainfeature

Ernie Lopez, UD Extension specialist presents Clyde Mellin with the Salute to Excellence Award. As of March, Mellin is a county, state and Northeast regional winner

Ernie Lopez, UD Extension specialist presents Clyde Mellin with the 4-H Salute to Excellence Award. As of March, Mellin is a county, state and Northeast regional winner

With the right lumber and tools, Clyde Mellin can show just about anyone how to build a birdhouse. But the bigger take away is what is built within – the patience, character and confidence that develops when a 4-H’er participates in an experiential 4-H activity project taught by caring and dedicated adult volunteers.

On March 4, 2014, Delaware 4-H learned that Sussex County 4-H leader Clyde Mellin, Seaford, was named a 2014 Northeast Region recipient of the 4-H Salute to Excellence Award (STE) a national volunteer recognition program. Mellin, recognized as a state winner at February’s Delaware 4-H Leader Forum, is now is one of four individuals in consideration for national honors as the 4-H Volunteer of the Year. The national award winners will be announced during National Volunteer Week, April 6-12.

Clyde Mellin wears a fake ponytail to show how easily hair can get trapped in tools

Clyde Mellin wears a fake ponytail to show how easily hair can get trapped in power tools. A kitchen blender serves as a less threatening example in this safety lesson

Mellin, a professional carpenter, began volunteering for Sussex County 4-H in 2011. Mellin invigorated interest in 4-H’s wood science area by offering a wide assortment of wood science projects and activities. Under his guidance, 4-H members constructed bat houses, robin nesting lodges, and giraffe recipe holders. But Mellin’s goals go far beyond showing someone how to build an object. With his workshops always at peak attendance, having a captive audience for a few hours means, for Mellin, an opportunity to reinforce skills such as tree identification, botany, suitability of wood for carpentry, wildlife and ecology (another 4-H project), math and measuring skills, safety best practices and following directions. Mellin serves as a judge for county 4-H project books and helps develop 4-H youth critical thinking skills through wood science judging contests at the county and state level. Mellin offers trainings throughout the 4-H year (see a 4-H YouTube of Mellin in action) and in 2013 serves as the project chair for the state. He has been a fixture at the Delaware State Fair organizing wood science trainings and a visible booster for 4-H overall. A regular at county meetings and wherever help is needed. Mellin does not always need lumber or power tools to build enthusiasm for 4-H.

“Clyde is very meticulous and organized,” said Jill Jackson, Sussex County 4-H Educator. “He has a wonderful connection with the 4-H members and they listen intently to what he teaches them in workshops and trainings.”

Beginning at the county level, The Salute to Excellence Award acknowledges outstanding volunteer service within two service divisions – Volunteer of the Year (VOY) for service 10 years or less and Outstanding Lifetime  Volunteer (OLV) for service greater than 10 years. From the county level, candidates are considered for the state – regional and possible national levels of recognition. In Delaware, the Salute to Excellence Award is sponsored by the DuPont Company and the Delaware 4-H Foundation.

Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of National 4-H Council stated in the announcement that each nominee was evaluated and scored “through a rigorous selection process.” Regional recipients will “receive $200 to be donated to the 4-H program of their choice and a $400 travel scholarship to attend their respective STE Regional 4-H Volunteer Forum,” Sirangelo wrote.

Delaware 4-H leaders celebrate, learn and receive recognition

In Delaware, more than 60,000 youth are impacted by 4-H programs and curriculum delivered through traditional clubs, afterschool programs, day and overnight camping and other events. Michelle Rodgers, associate dean at UD’s College of Agriculture & Natural Resources and director of Cooperative Extension addressed the group. Growing up on her family’s dairy farm in Pa., Rodgers was an active 4-H’er and continued in collegiate 4-H while obtaining her undergraduate degree.

Rodgers said the success of the program in Delaware could not be realized without the contribution of the 4-H volunteer. “Our entire Extension program really runs with volunteers. You extend the work we can do in ways we can count that are very tangible in terms of the outreach and education and the impact we have realized in Delaware.  My personal thanks to you for your role and leadership.”

At February’s forum UD Cooperative Extension specialist Ernie Lopez welcomed the large gathering of volunteer leaders who meet once a year to train in several 4-H curriculum areas, exchange ideas and are the focus of the special day of honoring their service. “The Salute to Excellence Awards are the pinnacle of recognition for our 4-H volunteers, not just here in Delaware but across the country, Lopez said. “We are all blessed for all of our wonderful volunteers.”

Delaware 4-H Salute to Excellence winners, from left to right: Michelle Rodgers, UD Extension, Joanne Carter, Kim Klair, Patricia Leach, Clyde Mellin. Not available for photo: Sharon Anderson, Elaine Webb

Delaware 4-H Salute to Excellence winners, from left to right: Michelle Rodgers, UD Extension, Joanne Carter, Kim Klair, Patricia Leach, Clyde Mellin. Not available for photo: Sharon Anderson, Elaine Webb

The list of First State 4-H volunteer winners for 2014 are:
• New Castle: Volunteer of the Year : Patricia Leach, Lifetime Volunteer: Kimberly Klair
Kent County: Volunteer of the Year: Elaine Webb, Lifetime Volunteer: Joanne Carter
Sussex County: Volunteer of the Year: Clyde Mellin, Lifetime Volunteer: Sharon Anderson

Click here to learn more about the other Delaware 4-H Salute to Excellence winners.

From these outstanding county winners, Delaware 4-H announced that Clyde Mellin and Sharon Anderson were selected to represent Delaware.

To become a Delaware 4-H leader, adults go through an extensive application process which includes a criminal background check. In addition to training opportunities at the annual forum, 4-H volunteers receive curriculum training and support at the county level, and many participate in regional and national 4-H leader forums and 4-H sponsored events.

For more information on Delaware’s 4-H programs visit the Delaware 4-H website.

Article by Michele Walfred, photos by William Campbell

Delaware 4-H 2014 Salute to Excellence winners

March 11, 2014 in mainfeature, Uncategorized

2014 Delaware 4-h Salute to Excellence winners were announced on Feb. 1, 2014 at the Delaware 4-H annual leader forum. The recipients are:

Please view picture gallery here

New Castle County

Patricia Leach – Volunteer of the Year

Patricia grew up in Delaware 4-H and has been organizational leader for the Delaware Diamonds 4-H Club for two years. Patricia organizes many community events, is a race day volunteer for the Quest for Clover 4K, assists NCC Leader Association with the food booth and helps set up the county 4-H Achievement Banquet. She gathered youth to participage in National 4-H Council’s new marketing initiative.

Kimberly Klair – Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer

Kim has served as the Porter Club 4-H organizational leader for 13 years, which was also her club growing up. Kim serves as NCC Leader Association president. She volunteers to cook at UD’s Ag Day and serve food for the leaders. Kim has assisted with Delaware State Fair clean up for m any years and has served as a judge’s assistant. She participates in the 4-H fundraisers at the Delaware Blue Rocks, and several Friendly’s restaurant events.

Kent County

Elaine Webb – Volunteer of the Year

Elaine Webb is one of the most organized 4-H Organizational Leaders that I have had the pleasure to work with.  She is an outstanding leader who has created a strong base of project leaders who are working with 4-H youth in a wide range of project areas.   Her club program continues to provide outstanding opportunities and learning experiences for all her 4-H club members.

Joanne Carter – Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer

Joanne Carter has been an outstanding volunteer in Kent County for over 16 years.  She has provided strong leadership to her local club, but also just as importantly, to our County Leader Association in her role of President for several years for this group.  She is definitely a person who can be counted on to help in any way she can, and continues to be a strong volunteer in assisting at most all county 4-H events throughout the year.

Sussex County  *Denotes State Winner  **Denotes Regional Winner

Clyde Mellin – Volunteer of the Year   **
Click here to read more about Clyde’s service to Delaware 4-H here.

Sharon Anderson – Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer *

Sharon has been the organizational leader of the Hollymount 4-H Club since 2006. Despite not coming from a 4-H background herself, she has fully immersed herself in all things 4-H. Sharon had previously won Sussex County STE Volunteer of the Year and she has been inducted into the Sussex County 4-H Order of the Link. Sharon’s club is very active in community service projects in the Lewes-Milton area including Adopt-A Beach, Meals on Wheels, donations to SPCA and various parades. Sharon and club members are regular volunteers at the successful 4-H Farm Tour hosted by the Hopkins Family at Green Acres Farm. Sharon also has served as an onsite nurse at many 4-H events.