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.
Williams, the recipient of the Youth in Action healthy living award and resident of Mercer County, discovered her spark of caring for others through 4-H by participating in activities, like taking classes at her county 4-H camp, attending National 4-H Conference, and providing leadership to the Snowflake Conference, which was created to address mental health as a health disparity in West Virginia.
Rosa notes, "In camp one year, I took a first aid class.That class and working with others helped me realize that I like taking care of other people." She continued by saying, "Then, at the National 4-H Conference, I visited the University of Maryland and also talked with a doctor who showed me that I can be a doctor." Rosa concluded with, "I am currently working with people who need to learn to advocate for themselves, especially when it comes to mental health. I helped with the Snowflake conference and I love being able to show others that there is light at the end of the tunnel."
In addition to participating in 4-H in these ways, Rosa has demonstrated leadership in the pillar area of healthy living by serving as a teen leader in Mercer county. This role provided her the opportunity to collaborate with her Extension Educator, Brenda Pruett, to plan a variety of county activities for youth in Mercer county. She also served as chair of Mercer county 4-H camp and provided leadership as a 4-H Health Officer.
Rosa's leadership roles in 4-H have provided her a platform to advocate for health and mental health activities, like stress management. Her Extension Educator notes, "Her leadership in the health area is helping to reduce the stigma around mental health and hopefully will lead to youth being more willing to address mental health issues, understand how to manage mental health, and seek help early when problems arise."
Through these experiences and others, Rosa has been positively impacted by 4-H. She says, "4-H made me a stronger person, more responsible, a better leader, and it helped me accept myself."
If this inspired you, consider applying for the 2022 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.