The West Virginia 4-H Youth in Action Program announces three young leader in 4-H pillar areas: agriculture, civic engagement, and STEM.
Each of the four winners will receive a $500 mini-grant to develop a significant project within their community, recognition at a formal award ceremony, a full scholarship to attend West Virginia 4-H Older Members Conference at Jackson's Mill in Summer 2024, as well as support to apply for the National 4-H Youth in Action Awards in Spring 2024.
This year, Emily Carothers received the award for agriculture; Ashley Law received the award for civic engagement; and Paisley received the ward for STEM. Each will have opportunities to be featured as the West Virginia 4-H Youth Spokesperson for their individual pillar area.
Emily Carothers, the recipient of the Youth in Action Agriculture Award and resident of Fayette County, credits 4-H with inspiring her to make change in her local community. “4-H has allowed me to have this unique opportunity to gain an interest in pollinators and gardening. I have learned lots about native plants, gardening, and pollinators through the project."
In March 2023, Emily, along with other teens, had the opportunity to attend the Ignite by 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C., through a grant with our partners at West Virginia State University 4-H. This event provided valuable insights into the maintenance of gardens and the crucial role of pollinators, setting the foundation for the ongoing community garden project. As a participant in this initiative, Emily has taken on responsibilities such as finding native plants, assembling materials, and organizing resources for the community garden project. Her dedication extends beyond personal growth, as she is actively involved in leading and educating members of the local 4-H and Girl Scouts during the planting of the community garden in Meadow Bridge.
Emily's experiences in 4-H have played a pivotal role in inspiring her to make positive changes in her local community. She has had the opportunity to participate in a local club, 4-H camp, and the West Virginia State Fair because of 4-H. "My experiences have allowed me to grow as an individual and become more confident in myself.”
Ashley Law, the recipient of the Youth in Action Civic Engagement award and resident of Harrison county, has been impacted by West Virginia 4-H program. Introduced to 4-H at the age of seven through her family, she transformed from a shy individual into a confident leader through various camps and events. Ashley's experiences with 4-H have not only shaped her character but have also guided her towards a career in Speech Pathology, where she aims to continue helping others in her community overcome speech impediments and communicate more effectively.
Ashley successfully orchestrated the assembly of "Brown Bags for Vets," a project aimed at providing much-needed sustenance to veterans traveling from Pittsburgh, PA, to the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center in Clarksburg, WV. This schoolwide service project at South Harrison High School involved significant coordination and effort. With remarkable leadership, Ashley engaged approximately 300 students at South Harrison High School, guiding them in assembling, sealing, and packing the Brown Bags for Vets. Ashley also took the time to handcraft 300 heartfelt thank-you cards for the veterans.
The impact of Ashley's project did not go unnoticed. Barbara Forsha, the Executive Director of the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center, expressed sincere gratitude, stating, "Your time, effort, and creativity are truly appreciated. You may not fully recognize the impact that this will have on our Veterans experiencing food insecurity."
Paisley Tabor, the recipient of the Youth in Action STEM award and resident of Putnam County, found her passion for STEM through her 4-H experiences. Her journey in 4-H began at a young age, and over the past decade, Paisley has undergone a profound transformation through her involvement in 4-H.
One of the key highlights of Paisley's 4-H journey has been her involvement with the Clover STEMS Robotics Team. After gaining experience in 4-H robotics, she took the initiative to establish an all-female robotics team at her elementary school. Over five years, their team achieved remarkable success, winning numerous awards at the local, state, and international levels. Through her work in robotics, Paisley not only honed her skills in science, technology, engineering, and math but also became a passionate advocate for STEM education, organizing STEM activities for her school, summer science camps, and events for local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops. Her early involvement in 4-H has significantly influenced her career path, as she is now considering STEM-related fields such as engineering or computer science.
Throughout her years as a member of the Winfield Scotts 4-H Club, Paisley has developed and refined essential leadership skills, including effective communication, teamwork, and public speaking. She has consistently demonstrated a commitment to personal growth and an eagerness to learn from every experience. One of the most significant aspects of Paisley's 4-H experience has been her participation in the West Virginia 4-H Charting program in 2022. This program allowed her to explore and plan her personal goals, fostering critical thinking, self-exploration, and self-discovery. The confidence she gained from completing projects and delivering public speaking presentations, along with her Charting experience, has motivated her to take on leadership roles at school, in sports, and in community service projects.