The West Virginia 4-H Youth in Action Program recognized four young leaders in 2021 in the 4-H core pillar areas of agriculture, civic engagement, healthy living, and STEM.
Levi Wright received the award for agriculture; Caroline Fox received the award for civic engagement; Rosa Williams received the award for healthy living; and John Allen received the award for STEM. Join us each Thursday in May to learn more about our 2021 Youth in Action award winners.
Each of the four winners received 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, 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, and an official reference letter from the West Virginia State 4-H Program Leader, Brent Clark.
Youth who would like to be considered for the 2022 Youth in Action award in any of the pillar areas should self-nominate by completing and submitting the online nomination. Nominations opened on May 1 and close at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 31.
Fox, the recipient of the Youth in Action civic engagement award and resident of Mercer county, has been impacted by West Virginia 4-H in a range of positive ways, like confidence in helping herself and others make friends and caring for others. She notes, "By attending my local county 4-H camp, I was able to gain confidence, learn to adjust to a new routine, and gain more friendship making skills." She also learned, "I'm not as shy as I once thought and I am good at helping others and myself make friends". She continues by saying, "With experience in 4-H, I have gained and defined many of my skills. Some of those skills include the ability to stay calm under pressure, public speaking skills, and caring for others."
One way Caroline has expressed care towards others is by helping to plan several virtual events and camps during the pandemic within Mercer county. This included assembling 144 4-H activity packets of friendship making supplies that were distributed to 4-H members within her local community, as well as teaching a friendship bracelet class during the Mercer county winter camp.
Another way Caroline has demonstrated her ability to care for others is by making masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, most notably for the Energy Express mentors in Mercer county. This effort allowed her to supplies 16 Mercer county Energy Express mentors with a mask to be used during their work with youth in the summer.
Caroline's 4-H Extension Agent, Brenda Pruett, was asked to reflect on her experiences with Caroline through 4-H and noted, "Caroline always has great ideas and follow through on anything that she says she will do. 4-H members and youth throughout Mercer county have benefited from her quiet leadership." For example, one idea Caroline had that was put into action was to recycle books. Together with other 4-H'ers in Mercer County, Caroline has been able to collect nearly 300 gently used books, which are labeled with information about how to join 4-H and distributed throughout the community at food drives, community libraries, and boxes. Pruett continues by saying, "She is such a strong, modest leader who has so many gifts to give."
When asked to finish the statement, "4-H has inspired me to..." Caroline responded by saying, "4-H has inspired me to become a leader in my own community. Ways I have done this include community service projects and work within 4-H. Some of the community service projects that I have done include serving meals at my local church, sewing face masks for Energy Express, and doing trash pickup in my area. With 4-H, I have been able to better myself and help other 4-H'ers to make the best better." Fox is currently working to expand her community service efforts with the $500 mini-grant she received as part of the 2021 Youth in Action award in civic engagement.
If this inspired you, consider applying for the 2022 Youth in Action awards (with support from an adult such as your 4-H club leader, volunteer, or parents/guardians) using the online nomination form. For more information about this award program, please visit our webpage at https://extension.wvu.edu/youth-family/4h/join/west-virginia-4h-youth-in-action-awards-program.