This time around, Hugh Oâ€™Neill stepped up to the 4-H podium and stood before peers as a medical doctor, not a camp counselor on Kelleys Island. A family physician at Akron City Hospital and former 4-H member, Oâ€™Neill recently awarded the Stephen F. Joseph Memorial Scholarship to two youths at a 4-H banquet at the Medina Community Center.
A recipient of the scholarship 10 years ago, Oâ€™Neill recognized Michelle Kerschner of Litchfield Township and Katie Schuerger of Medina for their outstanding 4-H involvement and academic achievements.
Oâ€™Neill joined the Ohio State University Extension, which coordinates the countyâ€™s 4-H program for more than 1,400 youths, in honoring its adult leaders, sponsors and scholarship recipients at the event, sponsored by the Medina County Agricultural Society. Other contributors included the countyâ€™s 4-H Endowment Fund and Junior Leadership Club, as well as Pepsi-Cola Co. of Wads-worth.
The countyâ€™s group, made up of 600 4-H volunteers and sponsors, dedicate more than 100,000 hours and $40,000 each year to helping children and teens reach their fullest potential in 60 clubs.
A 4-H member who led activities for young campers and toured Toronto with the Junior Leadership Club, Oâ€™Neill credited 4-H for helping him meet goals and build leadership skills. He leaned on those life skills through college and later as a leader in family medicine.
â€œThese are the things we learned in 4-H,â€ Oâ€™Neill said. â€œWe didnâ€™t know we were being taught. You did it because it was fun. It certainly worked out well for me.
â€œ4-H also gave me memories. We look back at 4-H, the friends we met and the people in our community.â€
Kerschner and Schuerger each received $750 for the memorial scholarship. In honor of the late Steve Joseph, the countyâ€™s Exten-sion educator of 4-H youth development of 18 years, a scholarship is given to youths, based on their 4-H involvement. Academic achievements, leadership roles and financial need also are considered.
Kerschner led a 30-member group as president of the countyâ€™s 4-H Junior Fair Board. She also was a 12-year member of the Garfield Bees 4-H Club, a camp counselor and Outstanding Court member. She also belonged to the countyâ€™s 4-H Junior Leadership Club and group, Cautious and Responsible Teens.
Kerschner attended state 4-H camps, including Conversation Camp, Ohio 4-H Youth Expo and Leadership Camp. Her projects included swine and chickens.
A Buckeye High School graduate, Kerschner also participated in Girl Scouts and Future Farmers of America. She is studying agricultural education at Wilmington College, with future plans to lead a county 4-H program.
Schuerger belonged to the Homespun Heroes, Guilford Country Kids and Mallet Creek 4-H clubs. She led group activities as a counselor for young Cloverbud 4-H campers and belonged to the countyâ€™s 4-H Fashion and Nutrition Board and Junior Leadership Club. She also advanced to state judgings for outstanding project work. Her 4-H projects included food and nutrition, photography and clothing.
A St. Vincent-St. Mary High School graduate, Schuerger joined the marching band and musicals. She also participated in her churchâ€™s Life Team group.
Schuerger is studying theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, with goals to work with youth ministries.
Volunteers play significant roles in young peopleâ€™s lives over several years, said Lisa Witten-auer, the county Extension educator of 4-H youth development. The leaders strive to develop each youthâ€™s abilities, career interests and life skills. In turn, the 4-H members, ages 5 to 18, participate in monthly club meetings, social outings, hands-on project work, leadership opportunities and community service activities.
â€œItâ€™s nice for volunteers to hear that little details matter and make an impact on young people,â€ Wittenauer said. â€œIt might have been a small decision to sell candy for a fundraiser at the bank, but it has impact.â€
Extension staff honored 4-H leaders for their exceptional work and dedication. County and state officials also recognized the volunteers.
to 4-H Award
Anita Love was a 26-year volunteer with the Wadsworth Jolly Workers. She also helped coordinate the countyâ€™s 4-H quilting project and belonged to the Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Committee.
Coy Smith is a 16-year volunteer, serving as an adviser of the York Junior Farmers 4-H Club and countyâ€™s tractor certification program. He also participated on the countyâ€™s Dairy Beef and Livestock Sale committees.
Robin Smith is a 15-year volunteer of the Guilford Go-fers and York Junior Farmers 4-H clubs. She also helped lead hands-on activities in a 4-H school enrichment program on science for three years.
Friend of 4-H Award
Bill Batchelder has supported the countyâ€™s 4-H program since his political career began. He attends events and upholds 4-H, which promotes responsibility and leadership among youth. He also earned the stateâ€™s Friend of 4-H Award in 1999.
Albrecht Trucking has donated sand to the Medina County Fairgrounds for several years. Mark Albrecht has overseen the delivery, spreading and grading of the sand for the horse arena and show barn. He also has graded the roads and driveways on the fairgrounds.
Volunteers celebrating five-year milestones in 4-H received a certificate and award for their contributions.
These leaders have achieved 15 or more years as 4-H volunteers:
Arlene Grim and Joyce Siman, 41 years each;
Paul Kovalik and John Wanko, 39 years each; Doris Morlock and Carol Slayton, 36 years each; Kathleen Garrison, 34 years; Dorothy Bunyak and Judy Siman, 33 years each; Susan Wright, 32 years; Ruth Billman, 31 years; Nyla Kovalik, 30 years;
Diane Lanz, Charles Siman and Gary Vaughn, 29 years each; Linda Beardsley, John Lowe, Diana Novotny and Kristen Robinson, 28 years each; Don Berry, Leonard Bunyak, Vickie Columbus and Marlene Lavan, 27 years each;
Barbara Potts and Pete Stroth, 26 years each; Pat Cornell and Ann Stroth, 25 years each; Loretta Engelhaupt, Dorothy Keck, Judy Smith, Sandra Turner, Janice Valach and Robert Zakrajsek, 24 years each;
Kenneth Engelhaupt, Linda Keiper, Elaine Stewart and Ray Stewart, 23 years each; Bill Indoe, Barbara Nixon, Jamesina Piechuta and Lester Valach, 22 years each; Cynthia Berry, Connie Crane-Kereky, Deneeâ€™ Gordon, Lois Novak and Ronald Novak, 21 years each; Carl Bilski, June Hamilton and Dorothy Hamlett, 20 years each;
Beth Baker, Christine Barnes, Sarah Bistline, Laura Dash, Linda Easton, Denise Gerspacher, Gary Hamlett, Butch Keiper, Dan Marrone, June Prebis and Betty Steyer, 19 years each; Lee English, Robert Keck, Berni Kosman, Tina McKeen, and Steve Tozser, 18 years each;
Teri Berry and Mary Pawlow-ski, 17 years each; Denise Bur-meister, Tim Dull, Joanne Maloney, Martha Moss, Coy Smith and Joan Zacharias, 16 years each; and Linda Bertram, Louise Gittinger, Beth Riegelmayer, Rick Rule, Robin Smith and Donna Valentine; 15 years each.
The Litchfield Friendly Work-ers won the Outstanding Com-munity Service Project award for assembling more than 40 fleece blankets for patients at Akron Childrenâ€™s Hospital. The 20-member group also hosted a luncheon for seniors.
Several 4-H clubs earned certificates for meeting special criteria of excellence. Groups were named Gold Seal Standards of Excellence Clubs for meeting all 12 qualifications. Other clubs fulfilling all but one requirement were selected as Honor Seal Standards of Excellence Clubs.
Some qualifications are submitting a club charter, electing officers, involving club members in eight events, sponsoring an educational program, completing 75 percent of enrolled projects, participating in community service activities and coordinating a recognition event.
These groups received recognition as Gold Seal Standards of Excellence Clubs: Achinâ€™ Saddle Cinchers, Blazing Saddles & Rough Riders, Buckeye Buck-aroos, Chatham Farmers, Garfield Bees, Goat Gang, Guilford Country Kids, Guilford Go-fers, Harrisville Topnotchers, Homer Highlighters, Just Horsinâ€™ Around, Litchfield Friendly Workers, Litchfield Lep-rechauns, Lodi Loyal Lads & Lassies, Medina County Sharp Shooters, Medynamites, Model Railroad 4-H Club, Phoenix 4-H Club, Sharon Flying Horse & Pony, Sharon Livewires, Spunky Spurs, Valley City Vikings, Wadsworth Jolly Workers and Westfield Trailblazers.
These groups are Honor Club Seal Stand-ards of Excellence Clubs: 4-H Country Club, Bruns-wick Saddliers, Granger 4-H Club, Liverpool Tad-poles and Super Out-standing Sevillians.
Caniglia is the program assistant in communications of Ohio State University Extension, Medina County.