In many ways, this has been a great 4-H year in Vernon County. This was especially apparent on Saturday night, during the 4-H recognition night held at the youth fair home economics building. A large number of awards were presented to high-achieving 4-H members who had major accomplishments.
It is amazing what these young people are doing. Not only were members recognized, but also leaders, who have contributed much to the program and to youth.
Among the awards presented was the Leonard Ernsbarger Community Service Award, sponsored by Ernsbarger Heating and Cooling, which I personally presented in behalf of the sponsor.
This award was originally established by Jeff Tweten. Since it was established, there have been three different sponsors.
The recipient of this year's award was Katherine Kerbs, daughter of Larry and Nancy Kerbs and a seven-year member of the Bronaugh 4-H Club. When looking over her application to see what she has done and accomplished in community service, the simple reaction was "wow."
There are a number of great things on the list and it is difficult to summarize her achievements.
This community service award is presented to a 4-H member, 10 years old or older, who best exemplifies the HANDS and HEART portion of the 4-H pledge. This young person is self-motivated and has given of themselves in volunteering to help others throughout the county. They have demonstrated leadership and citizenship and they contribute to the group effort of making a difference in the community.
The basis for selecting a winner of this award is 75 percent for community service and 25 percent on leadership. A $50 Savings Bond and a traveling plaque are awarded annually.
It is a special honor to me, as a retired 4-H youth specialist to have this special recognition awarded in my name.
As many of you are aware, I have a special personal interest in community service. In recent years, there has been more emphasis placed on community service in 4-H. High schools and colleges have also placed emphasize on community service, encouraging the students to get involved in service to the community. This helps to give young people a better background.
Katherine has been a member of the 4-H Relay for Life team for three years. She has been a participant of the Quilted Hugs project and helped to make quilts to send to our soldiers in Iraq.
As part of the fashion revue project, she made weighted blankets for autistic children.
Involvement in the 4-H club includes Christmas caroling, delivering plates of food to elderly people in the Bronaugh area, donating video tapes to the Children's Center, placing flags on veterans' graves for Memorial Day, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army and mowing the lawn at the Bronaugh Center.
Doing these many service projects gives her satisfaction. She said, "The thing all of these activities have in common for me is the warm feeling I get when I hear thank you or receive a smile."
Katherine also became involved in the recycling program. She gave leadership toward developing a large recycling program in the Bronaugh School. A speech was given by Katherine to the student body and the student body responded by coming up with additional recycled items. This spread through out the community.
Other projects for Katherine included volunteering at the Moss House and assisted with Practical Parenting Program.
Katherine also volunteered to be a counselor at the McGennis Youth Center. This was a favorite project of hers, where she had fun with all of the kids and worked to make it an enjoyable experience for the kids.
One of the fun projects she undertook was to organize a fifth and sixth grade cheerleading squad at her school.
This experience helped her practice leadership. There were eight girls taking part in the cheerleading. The new fifth graders are anxious to get started again.
As result of attending a Family, Career and Community Leaders of America she developed her skills of speaking. She used these skills and with Katlyn Douglas spooked to the third to sixth graders about the opportunities in 4-H. the Bronaugh 4-H membership was increased as result of their efforts.
One of the good experiences she had was to volunteer to help out with the voting machine in Moundville during the election. She received training on the new voting procedure and was there from 5 a.m. until noon. This proved to be a good experience for her. Her comment is, "I learned a lot about the voting system and was excited to have taken part in the election of government officials."
Her many accomplishments in citizenship, community service and leadership entitles her to be worthy of the special award. Congratulations are extended to Katherine on receiving the Leonard Ernsbarger 4-H Community Service Award.
Thanks goes to Brent for the sponsorship of this special recognition.