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West Virginia 4-H Launches a Statewide 4-H Youth in Action Awards Program

Teenager painting a mural

Every 4-H’er has a story, and those stories are worth telling! Sharing the story of your 4-H member could earn him/her a $500 mini-grant, and a scholarship to West Virginia’s Older Members Conference!

This new program will recognize four confident young leaders in our core pillar areas of Agriculture, Civic Engagement, Healthy Living, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics), giving pillar winners the chance to share how 4-H changed their lives and how they have used the skills they gained in 4-H to change the lives of others.

The 2021 West Virginia 4-H Youth in Action awards are made possible through generous donations to the 4-H Appreciation Fund (3U052) from committed donors including the West Virginia 4-H All Stars.

Awards & Recognition

Each of the four Pillar Winners will receive:

  • A $500 mini-grant to develop a significant community project.
  • Recognition at a formal award ceremony.
  • A full scholarship to attend West Virginia 4-H Older Members Conference, Summer 2022.
  • An opportunity to be featured as the West Virginia 4-H Youth Spokesperson for their pillar area.
  • Support and mentorship to apply for the 2022 National 4-H Youth in Action Awards.
  • An official reference letter from the West Virginia State 4-H Program Leader, Brent Clark

One 4-H Youth in Action state winner will be selected from the four pillar winners and will receive further opportunities to serve as a spokesperson for West Virginia 4-H.

Awardees agree to comply with the requirements on the application and the Pillar Winner agreement sent by the State 4-H Office at the time of selection.

Selection Process

The 4-H Youth in Action Award selection process includes the following:

  1. Online Nomination: Agents may nominate 4-H members in any or all of the pillar areas. Complete and submit the online nomination found at https://wvu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7VOHANbswVxqZ82. Nominations will open on April 1 and should be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on May 31. You will receive a confirmation email when your completed nomination is received. Please work with your nominee(s) to complete this information together. Incomplete applications will not receive a confirmation and will not be reviewed. If you are unsure of your status, contact Ashley Kooken, 4-H Club and Youth Programming Specialist, at amurphy6@mail.wvu.edu.

    Nomination Portal

  2. Finalist Selection: The State 4-H Office will review all applications and select 3 finalists for each pillar. Those not selected will receive an email indicating their status. Finalists may be asked to participate in a virtual conversation to discuss the awards in June 2021.
  3. Pillar Winner Selection: Finalists will be reviewed by a selection committee and will be notified of their status by the State 4-H Office in July 2021.

Pillar Areas

In the application, you’ll be asked to share your 4-H member’s story of leadership focusing around one or more pillar areas. The work within the pillars may be a key project, program, or 4-H experience, or it may center around a series of activities in which he/she served as a leader. Read the pillar descriptions below to choose the best fit for this work. The selection committee will consider nominees across any appropriate area.

4-H Youth in Action: Agriculture Pillar

Boy washing black steerIn Agriculture programs, 4-H’ers experience activities that range from farming & raising animals to growing crops & other resources. Topics that may be covered in this pillar include, but are not limited to:

  • Animal Science – responsibility, proper care, & nutrition
  • Veterinary Science – animal nutrition, examinations & treatment, infectious diseases
  • Biotechnology & Sustainability – producing healthy, plentiful, & environmentally responsible products
  • Plant Science & Forestry – plants, insects, water, soil, tree identification, forest evaluation
  • Food Security – growing and/or raising food to ensure reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious foods

4-H Youth in Action: Civic Engagement Pillar

Girl sitting on floor surrounded by donations of plastic shopping bagsIn Civic Engagement programs, 4-H’ers experience activities encouraging youth to engage others around important causes or issues to the community. Topics that may be covered include, but are not limited to:

  • Community Action - community service, service learning, community youth development
  • Communication & Expressive Arts - artistic expression, communication
  • Civic Education & Engagement - history & cultural heritage, civic & social responsibility, government principles, promoting quality of life, and advocacy

4-H Youth in Action: Healthy Living Pillar

Boy holding a Me MapIn Healthy Living programs, 4-H’ers learn about healthy eating, physical fitness, and developing & maintaining positive relationships. Topics that may be covered in this pillar include, but are not limited to:

  • Health, Nutrition & Fitness – eating right, physical fitness, being active, good hygiene
  • Social & Emotional Well-Being – alcohol/tobacco/drug use prevention, bullying prevention, stress management, encouraging good decision-making skills

4-H Youth in Action: STEM Pillar

three kids assemble a care from found objectsIn STEM programs, 4-H’ers learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics through hands-on activities and projects. Topics that may be covered in this pillar include, but are not limited to:

  • Environmental Science & Alternative Energy - alternative energy, conserving energy, limiting humanity’s impact on the environment, natural science
  • Engineering & Technology – rocketry, computer science, technology, engineering, mathematics

Nomination Requirements

General Information & Eligibility Requirements

  • Be 4-H member of any type of 4-H program in West Virginia.
  • Be between ages 15-18. Applicants must turn 15 by the application deadline and should not turn 19 before January 1, 2022.
  • Submit personal and contact information. Please provide the personal contact information for the nominee, including email address.

Short Answer Questions

Please work with your nominee to respond to short-answer questions regarding their 4-H story and pillar area leadership. This work should provide benefit to others an require significant leadership. Each question includes sub-questions which are not required, but may be helpful points to cover when talking to your nominee to aid in the overall responses.

  • Describe how 4-H impacted the nominee. (How did 4-H change or improve their life? What have they learned about themselves? Has their 4-H experience helped them overcome something challenging in their life? Did 4-H help them define their interests/passions, or gain any skills?) Great submissions will provide clear examples of how 4-H has impacted the nominee!
  • Describe a project, program, 4-H activity or series of activities in the pillar area in which the nominee demonstrated leadership. Detail how the leadership in this pillar has improved or influenced your community. (What motivated them to be a leader? What was their leadership role? When & where did their work occur? Is it on-going? What steps did they take in their work? Did teamwork play a role? What or who benefited? What are the long-term effects of their work?) Great submissions will provide clear examples of leadership in the pillar!

60-Second Video

Please work with your nominee to have him/her record and provide a link to a 60-second video of the nominee answering the following prompt:

  • Finish this statement: “ 4-H has inspired me to….” and address how 4-H has encouraged or inspired you in your work in the pillar area.

The video should:

  • Be 60 seconds or less and feature only the nominee speaking (no other speakers or visuals).
  • Be recorded with a simple recording device/smart phone. No special equipment or editing expected.
  • Be either uploaded to YouTube & be viewable by anyone with the link OR be uploaded with the online nomination.

Photos

Upload three individual photos. Two should demonstrate the nominee’s work in the pillar and one should be a headshot. Photo montages will not be reviewed. File formats accepted include JPG, GIF, or PNG. Photos should not exceed 10 MB each.

Reference Questions

Please answer the nominator reference questions found at the end of the online nomination form.

Award Timeline

Teenager working on a mural
  • April 1, 2021 - Online nomination opens
  • May 31, 2021 - Online nomination closes
  • June 2021 - Finalists selected
  • June 2021 - Virtual conversations with finalists (via Zoom)
  • July 2021 - Award notifications sent to all nominees. All nominees will be notified via email. No phone or email inquiries, please. Pillar Winners announced externally to local community & media.
  • Fall 2021 - Recognition Event
All winners must participate.

Questions?

We’re glad you’re interested in nominating a 4-H’er for the 2021 West Virginia 4-H Youth in Action Awards!

We know that the application is an extensive process, if you have questions please contact:
Ashley Kooken, 4-H Club & Youth Programming Specialist, amurphy6@mail.wvu.edu.

We look forward to seeing your 4-H Youth in Action submission by May 31, 2021!
https://wvu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_7VOHANbswVxqZ82