The 2022 annual 4H Awards Banquet was a night of friends, fun, games and, above all, a time to honor the achievements of 4H members and leaders from all over Laramie County. The highlight of the night, at least for me, was to hear all the awards from the Hillsdale Tiptoppers 4H club.
The Tiptoppers are primarily made up of youth from the Hillsdale and Burns area. I've judged several of these members and have enjoyed watching them grow over the years. Kelle Hawes and Jessica Allred are the adult leaders for the Tiptoppers but, typical for 4H families, they're joined by others whenever the need arises.
From Hillsdale, three youth and two leaders won awards for their outstanding work. Rion Allred took 3rd place in outstanding record book. Cashlynn Hawes won the 4H Extra Mile Award. Brandon Winslow was recognized with the outstanding 4H leadership award. Brian Winslow (Brandon's Dad and leader) and Kellee Hawes received the 4H Extra Mile Leaders Award.
Two youth and one leader from Burns went home with awards. Teigen Derner received awards for Gold Rush Impromptu Speaking Junior Champion and Outstanding Junior record Book 2nd place and was recognized as a team member of the Livestock Skill-a-thon Junior Champion Team and the Horse Hippology Junior Champion Team. Sage Derner won awards in Gold Rush, Impromptu Speaking, Cloverbud; Gold Rush, Prepared Speech, Cloverbud; Livestock Skill-a-thon, Cloverbud; Produce Judging, Cloverbud and was recognized as a graduating Cloverbud. Cloverbuds are the youth 5-7 years old. This is a remarkable achievement for anyone, let alone for someone that young. I'm looking forward to watching grow as a 4H'er. Justin Derner took home an award for outstanding leadership as the Livestock Skill-a-thon Coach.
From the Pine Bluffs club, Kelly Krakow and Shawnae Branigan both received the Extra Mile 4-H Leader Award. Kelley Krakow was also recognized for being a 4H leader for 5 consecutive years. When the Pine Bluffs Shooting Sports club was in danger of closing down due to a lack of adult leaders, these two heroes stepped up and took over the group. They have been a great source of leadership and inspiration for the youth. 4H shooting sports involves air rifle, .22 caliber rifle and archery and has long set the standard for youth shooting sports in Wyoming.
In 4H, the members are expected to work on their own while being coached and taught by adult leaders. Part of their work is keeping records. Club awards are given for best record books for club treasurers and secretaries and individual awards are given for the records kept on individual projects. Other activities include team projects, such as livestock skill-a-thon, and a wide variety of individual projects that can be almost anything. The list is too long to list but I've seen projects ranging from computer science and drone technology to welding and woodwork to livestock activities. Extra Mile awards are highly prestigious and are reserved for those few members and leaders who stand out by going the extra mile and doing much more than would be expected in their positions to serve others.
There are nearly 900 youth involved in 4H in Laramie County. Think about that for a minute. That's 1% of the entire county population, including adults. But it doesn't include the adults serving as leaders. 4H is great for all youth, giving them the latitude to explore a variety of interests before they have to make a decision on their future career path. If you're interested in joining a 4H club in your area contact Kristi Nagy at the Laramie County Extension Office, 307-633-4488.