August 28, 2014

Medina
Partly cloudy
61°F

Fairest of the Fair: 4-H Outstanding Court recognized today

By KORINNE CANIGLIA
OSU Extension, Medina County
Michelle Kerschner’s goals were simple at first.
The young 4-H’er wanted to complete her first project and make it to county judging on time.
Now, the 18-year-old coordinates hundreds of 4-H exhibits and leads a 50-member group as president of the Medina County Junior Fair Board.
She joins the county’s top 4-H members who have met their goals and beyond.
This year’s Outstanding Court members are: Joanne Brietkrenz, Andy Kall, Michelle Kerschner, Caci-Lane Ostmann, Lynn Plummer, Valerie Potts, Heidi Santelmann, Erin Smith, Adam Sniff, Jacob Sniff, Rachel Sniff, Kelsey Stoll, Jessie Witschey and Michael Woolsteen.
Youths 16 and older with at least four years of 4-H experience are nominated for the court by a club adviser or peer. Nominees then complete applications outlining their involvement. A 20-member Extension committee that helps guide the county’s programs selects court members based on their participation, dedication and service to 4-H at the local and county levels.
The 14 youths, selected for this year’s Outstanding Court, will be recognized today for their excellence in 4-H project work, leadership and community service. They will be honored at an awards breakfast at the Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Pavilion on the fairgrounds. The event’s sponsors are: Armstrong Cable Service Inc., Ed and Beth Baker, Blue Ribbon Restaurant, Nancy Hudson family, Medina County Auditor Mike Kovack, Lodi Ruritan Club, Lorain-Medina Rural Electric Co-op Inc., Medina Kennel Club, Ed Peacock of State Farm Insurance, Steve and Cheryl Tannehill and Western Reserve Bank.
Ohio State University Extension coordinates the county’s 4-H youth development program for more than 1,400 youths ages 5 to 18. The national organization promotes hands-on learning and life skills. It enables youths to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and goals needed for success in the 21st century.
County 4-H members are urged to set and evaluate their goals each year.
“The purpose of 4-H is to teach life skills, so we try to teach the kids how to set and achieve goals so it will help them later in life,” said Lisa Wittenauer, the county Extension educator of 4-H youth development. “It’s another tool in their toolbox of life.”
For instance, goal-setting is part of each 4-Her’s project work. Members reach goals as they learn about different subjects, from bicycling to interior design, in their projects through educational activities. Some 4-H’ers might train horses to jump, while others refinish furniture or design rockets to blast off.
It’s about the process, too, Wittenauer said.
“They have to figure out how to get there by gathering resources or talking to other people,” she said. “The judging process also gives feedback.”
4-H provides opportunities to meet new goals as club members mature.
For instance, first-year members might try to learn the 4-H Pledge, enter a project at the fair or go to camp. School children can work to attend 80 percent of their club’s meetings, give a health or safety speech, fulfill duties as an officer or host an exchange student.
Teens might participate in a demonstration contest, mentor younger 4-H’ers, plan activities for campers, attend state camps or join county activities, from Junior Leaders to the Fashion and Nutrition Board.
“We also ask them to help teach the younger ones,” Wittenauer said. “The kids always learn more when they’re teaching someone else.”
Different goals keep 4-H’ers involved in their communities, as well as local and county clubs, said Kerschner, who lives in Litchfield Township. She strived to become the junior fair board’s president after watching her older sister fulfill the position.
“I wanted a big leadership role and felt I could handle it,” Kerschner said. “I thought it was a good way to have a big responsibility in the club.
“I have to make sure everything runs smoothly for the activities and shows, set schedules, meet deadlines and run the meetings. 4-H helps me reach my goals because I know how to stick to it.”
Lynn Plummer also recalled early jitters as a first-year member among new faces in the Flying Horse & Pony 4-H Club. However, those fears have vanished as the 16-year-old addresses peers on traffic safety as a member of the group Cautious And Responsible Teens (CARTEENS). She helps teach classes to first-time juvenile offenders. In exchange for passing a class exam, the youth offenders may qualify for a waiver of a two-point penalty on their licenses.
Plummer of Medina signed up for the group even before she could drive.
“I joined to learn the tips and to speak out in front of peers,” she said. “Everyone said I was shy. Now, I talk away. I’m moving forward to being a leader, not a follower.”
Medina County 4-H recognizes this year’s Outstanding Court:

Joanne Brietkrenz
Brietkrenz, 19, is the daughter of Jerry and Diane Brietkrenz of Wellington.
4-H membership: 14 years, Homer Highlighters.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board, 2006 Outstanding Court member and Day Camp counselor.
Activities: Helped with Junior Fair activities, assisted a first-time swine exhibitor and joined community service projects, such as helping the disabled ride horses.
Projects: Swine, dairy beef steers, ducks and cats.
Future plans: To graduate from Bradford School as a veterinary technician.
Comments: “Through 4-H, I have increased my love and care for animals, which has led to my career choice as a large animal veterinary technician. Along with my main career choice, I have decided to continue to be involved in 4-H by becoming an adviser after I have completed my education.”

Andy Kall
Kall, 16, is the son of Bob and Julie Kall of Medina.
4-H membership: Nine years, Garfield Bees.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board member, Junior Leaders treasurer and local club president.
Activities: Helped establish the Junior Fair’s safari program, presented demonstrations, participated in community service projects, from planting flowers and playing bingo with residents at the Medina County Home to collecting donations for the Battered Women’s Shelter.
Projects: Beekeeping, swine, turkeys, ducks and chickens.
Future plans: To study plant genetics or criminal justice at college.
Comments: “Being in 4-H has shown me how to be responsible through the projects I have taken and the leadership positions I have held. I have learned through 4-H that it is essential to give back to the community that has given you many opportunities.”

Michelle Kerschner
Kerschner, 18, is the daughter of Michael and Mary Kerschner of Litchfield Township.
4-H membership: 12 years, Garfield Bees.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board president, Junior Leaders member, Kelleys Island Camp and Day Camp counselor, 4-H camper and local club offices.
Activities: Attended 4-H Leadership Camp, Ohio 4-H Youth Expo and 4-H Conservation Camp, presented demonstrations and coordinate 4-H camp activities.
Projects: Swine and chickens.
Future plans: To study animal science at Wilmington College.
Comments: “I feel 4-H has given me a good work ethic to make sure all my projects are completed and ready to be judged on time. I have learned many leadership experiences through 4-H by going to state camps and expos, where I had to meet new people, be outgoing and have fun in an environment that I was not used to.”

Caci-Lane Ostmann
Ostmann, 17, is the daughter of Lorinda Lewandowski of Wadsworth.
4-H membership: Eight years, Goat Gang.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board treasurer, Junior Leaders member and local club president.
Activities: Advanced to state project judgings, gave goat demonstrations, taught goat showmanship, joined petting zoos and goat clinics and recruited new members.
Projects: Dairy goats, pygmy goats, and grooming and handling of dogs.
Future plans: To attend the University of Akron and become a high-school math teacher.
Comments: “Working together, making friends, teaching first-year youth, helping others, sportsmanship and being part of an organization all have formed my 4-H experiences. I have learned to be proud of my efforts. Whether I win or lose, competition is challenging and hard work pays off.”

Lynn Plummer
Plummer, 16, is the daughter of Larry and Becky Plummer of Medina.
4-H membership: Seven years, Sharon Flying Horse & Pony.
Clubs and roles: Junior Leaders and CARTEENS member, Kelleys Island Camp and Day Camp counselor, 4-H camper and local club offices.
Activities: Assisted Junior Leaders milkshake and promotion committees, mentored campers, helped construct club’s fair booth and gave a horse and riding demonstration.
Projects: Horses, dogs, nutrition and laundry.
Future plans: To major in animal studies at college.
Comments: “4-H is helping me prepare for my future by becoming a more confident speaker, being around many different people and gaining animal and equine knowledge. I have learned to take responsibility for my actions. I have also learned patience. Plus, I have made mistakes, and I learn from those mistakes.”

Valerie Potts
Potts, 17, is the daughter of Jeri and Barb Potts of Seville.
4-H membership: 11 years, Lodi Loyal Lads & Lassies.
Clubs and roles: Junior Leaders and Fashion Nutrition Board member, Kelleys Island Camp and Day Camp counselor, 4-H camper and local club vice president.
Activities: Advanced to state project judging, organized training clinic on guinea pigs for new members, assisted with county judgings, helped coordinate club’s bake sale and lemonade stand and mentored new members.
Projects: Pies, flower arranging, nutrition, cake decorating, guinea pigs, clothing and designing interiors.
Comments: “The learning experiences like demonstrations and safety speeches to being the president of our club have taught me to come out of my shell and be a leader. My goal is to continue to encourage many more kids to experience 4-H adventures.”

Heidi Santelmann
Santelmann, 17, is the daughter of Ken and Margaret Santelmann of Seville.
4-H membership: 11 years, Guilford Country Kids.
Clubs and roles: 2006 Outstanding Court, Fashion Nutrition Board, Extension 4-H Committee and Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Committee member.
Activities: Advanced to state project judgings, won state awards, attended Ohio 4-H Teen Conference, participated in Sister-to-Sister Summit, taught sewing clinic, assisted at clothing judging and officer training and sewed teddy bears for hospitals.
Projects: Fitness and clothing.
Future plans: To study business at college.
Comments: “By taking workshops and clinics, interacting with other teens at the state level and being involved in county programs, I have learned more about the world around me. I have experienced college planning, time and financial management, interviewing and public speaking skills.”

Erin Smith
Smith, 19, is the daughter of Coy and Robin Smith of Medina.
4-H membership: 14 years, Guilford Go-fers.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board, 2005 and 2006 Outstanding Court and Junior Leaders member, Kelleys Island Camp counselor and local club offices.
Activities: Assisted with junior fair livestock shows and activities, led meetings as club president and joined community service projects, such as planting flowers.
Projects: Swine, steers and sheep.
Future plans: To graduate from the University of Findlay and attend veterinary school.
Comments: “4-H has taught me respect, leadership and so much more. I have to be a leader at camp, or the kids will have no one to look up to or take after. This year at school I joined some clubs, and my friends and I chaired a committee and had to be leaders. From being in 4-H, I was able to handle that.”

Adam Sniff
Sniff, 17, is the son of Tom and Alyce Sniff of Sharon Center.
4-H membership: 11 years, Granger Busy Bees.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board and Junior Leaders member and local club offices.
Activities: Advanced to state project judging, qualified for state contest with fishing demonstration, participated in nutrition skill-a-thons and served on club’s parade, fair booth and promotion committees.
Projects: Pygmy goats, nutrition, creative arts, small engines, woodworking and rope.
Future plans: To study mechanical engineering at college.
Comments: “By taking projects to the fair, I have been introduced to a multitude of different skills and activities. All of these projects have made me a well-rounded person who has learned important lessons on how to complete things on time, be courteous and respectful to others and to always strive to succeed.”

Jacob Sniff
Sniff, 17, is the son of Tom and Alyce Sniff of Sharon Township.
4-H membership: 11 years, Granger Busy Bees.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board and Junior Leaders member and local club offices.
Activities: Advanced to state project judgings, qualified for state contest with demonstration on insects, participated in nutrition skill-a-thons, joined community service projects and assisted with junior fair’s livestock judgings and safari program.
Projects: Nutrition, insects, fishing, bicycling and gardening.
Future plans: To attend college.
Comments: “What began as just something to do socially turned out to be something that changed my entire character. 4-H has changed my leadership abilities and social skills for the better. I used to be a shy person who didn’t interact well with others. I am now not nearly as afraid to take charge or voice my opinion.”

Rachel Sniff
Sniff, 17, is the daughter of Tom and Alyce Sniff of Sharon Township.
4-H membership: 11 years, Granger Busy Bees.
Clubs and roles: Junior Fair Board and Fashion Nutrition Board member, Junior Leaders secretary and Day Camp counselor.
Activities: Advanced to state project judging, qualified for state contest with demonstration on flower pressing, participated in nutrition skill-a-thons and coordinated junior fair’s safari program.
Projects: Nutrition, cake decorating, creative arts, quilting and wildflowers.
Future plans: To major in clinical laboratory science at college.
Comments: “4-H has ultimately changed my leadership abilities, my social skills and my outlook on life. This organization teaches valuable life and leadership skills that influence anyone who takes part in it.”

Kelsey Stoll
Stoll, 17, is the daughter of Jack and Diane Stoll of Medina.
4-H membership: 11 years, Medynamites.
Clubs and roles: Junior Leaders member, Kelleys Island Camp and Day Camp counselor, 4-H camper and local club offices.
Activities: Won award at state demonstration contest, advanced to state project judgings, taught nutrition session to campers and visited nursing homes with dog for pet therapy.
Projects: Self-determined, grooming and handling of dogs, archery and nutrition.
Future plans: To study pharmacy at The Ohio State University.
Comments: “I have experienced many aspects of life through 4-H including winning, losing, cooperation with others, responsibility, patience and friendships. 4-H has added things to my life and in return made me more organized and responsible. It has also helped me create relationships with other people I would not have met otherwise.”

Jessie Witschey
Witschey, 17, is the daughter of Robert and Patricia Witschey of Wadsworth.
4-H membership: 11 years, Medina County Sharp Shooters.
Clubs and roles: Teen Institute youth staff member, Junior Fair Board, Junior Leaders, Fashion Nutrition Board and Extension 4-H Committee member, Kelleys Island Camp and Day Camp counselor and 4-H camper.
Activities: Attended State Teen Institute, Ohio 4-H Teen Conference, 4-H Conservation Camp and Ohio 4-H Youth Expo, advanced to state project judgings, assisted with junior fair livestock shows and helped with county’s fashion and nutrition judgings.
Projects: Clothing, creative arts, shooting sports, nutrition and rabbits.
Comments: “Participating as a camp counselor has helped me develop as a team leader. Through state participation, I have challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone and interact in different environments.”

Michael Woolsteen
Woolsteen, 18, is the son of Robert and Sheri Woolsteen of Medina.
4-H membership: 12 years, Just Horsin’ Around.
Clubs and roles: Junior Leaders, 2006 Outstanding Court and Medina County Horse Council member and Horse Council King.
Activities: Advanced to state project judging, served on Junior Leaders scholarship committee, assisted with local horse shows and alumni show and joined community service projects.
Projects: Ponies.
Future plans: To major in computers at college and become a horse judge.
Comments: “4-H has taught me to be more independent and not just sit back and watch. 4-H also has taught me that sometimes you need to ask for help. From not being able to get on a horse to being able to win most of my classes, I feel I have come a long way. I also feel there is much more for me to learn.”