Four- H recognition night was held Saturday at the Home Economics building at the Vernon County Youth Fairgrounds. This is a special time when 4-H members are recognized for their accomplishments and achievements. One of those receiving special recognition was Josie Foley, daughter of Dwight and Jana Foley.
Josie was presented the Leonard Ernsbarger Community Service Award, as well as the I Dare You Award and the Carol Parmenter Character Award. This is the first year for the Parmenter award, given in honor of Carol, who retired as 4-youth specialist this year. In many respects 4-H recognition was a grand slam for Josie. She is an example of the many 4-H members who have great accomplishments.
One of the greatest honors I have received is to have a special 4-H award presented in my name. This year it was sponsored by Ernsbarger Heating and Cooling, owned by Brent Ernsbarger. The winner of the award is presented with a $50 Savings Bond and the recipient's name is added to the Ernsbarger traveling plaque. This year the individual also received a personal plaque. The personal plaque makes the honor even more special. I was out of town, this past weekend and was not available to present the special award. so Brent made the presentation for me.
As many of you are aware community service is important to me. Emphasis on community service has been added to 4-H in recent years and a lot of community service projects are being done by 4- H members.
Josie is a member of the Milo-Oakdale 4-H club. She has completed eight years of 4-H and is now starting her ninth year. She is currently 18 years of age and as result, this will be her final year as a 4-H member. She is the immediate past president of her club and is now starting to serve as an assistant club leader. She has served on the 4-H Council for two years; the first year she served as reporter, and last year she served as the assistant secretary. She is now stepping up to serve as secretary.
She is a senior at Nevada High School. Among her leadership experiences is to have been a participant in the Cottey Presidential Leadership Program. She has received scholarships to Cottey College and will be among the local students attending Cottey next year. Her experiences in 4-H have helped her to develop as an individual and to relate to others.
It is an honor for me to have the award presented in my name for the accomplishments of the recipients. As it has been with the previous recipients, Josie has done a lot for the community and for others. It is amazing what these young 4-H members achieve and the examples and challenges they give to others.
Included among Josie many community service activities are helping with coat drives, toy drives and food drives. Currently she is collecting coffee for the servicemen and women overseas. She works with her club to maintain the Bickett Cemetery year-round and she has assembled Christmas boxes for children in third world countries.
"I feel that all the experiences I have had throughout my time in 4-H, have really helped me to grow into a confident, self-assured leader. I look forward to my continued growth and the opportunities that await me in the future," Josie said.
She has been a junior leader in the cat project. She has discovered new insights about herself through her leadership experiences.
"I discovered through my 4-H experiences that I have skills that I didn't know I had before. As a junior leader in the cat project, I helped plan project meetings and a county wide fun cat show. For the past couple of years, I also was the primary speaker at the fair cat show, announcing the classes, as well as the winners. The experience helped hone my skills as a leader and developed my confidence in being in front of a group," she said.
The motto of 4-H is "Learning by doing" and Josie is an example of this.
"A key aspect of learning is by doing things, if you jump in and do new things new skills will just naturally develop," Josie said.
"I also can learn by listening more carefully to my leaders and advisors. I can draw on their many years of experience and jump-start my own future growth even more. Observing others in action is also a great way to learn to develop leadership skills. Watching others in positions of leadership shows me what works and what does no,t" she said
"As I grow, I learn on deeper levels. A young child is limited in what they can understand, but as he or she grows, so does the level of learning they acquire. Personally, I have found that I learn better in a group situation, even if that group consists of just me and one other person," she said.
These are only a few of the highlights of her community service activities. She has accomplished many things and continues to be of service to her club, her community and to the county. For her young age, she has demonstrated a great amount of wisdom.
Josie, you are to be congratulated on receiving the 4-H Community Service Award and the other prestigious 4-H awards. Special thanks go to Brent for sponsoring the Leonard Ernsbarger Community Service Award.