Diana Langshaw wins national 4-H outstanding volunteer award

This Augusta, Mich. volunteer is honored for her 50 years as an outstanding 4-H volunteer.

Michigan 4‑H announces Diana Langshaw of Augusta, MI has been named the 2012 National 4‑H Salute to Excellence Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer for her exceptional contributions as a 4-H volunteer and leader in the Michigan State University Extension 4-H youth development program.

Ms. Langshaw was a 4-H member herself, participating in projects primarily in agriculture and home economics during her decade of 4-H youth achievements and leadership in Michigan. She has been a 4-H volunteer for 50 years, starting out as an organizational leader for the Busy Beavers 4-H Club for five years before moving into project leadership roles in other clubs that needed adult volunteer assistance. As she looked around, she saw a need for youth to be able to have 4-H project experiences with smaller livestock such as rabbits and goats. She took this need and created solutions, developing project materials, assisting members with acquiring animals, and organizing educational and show events. She has personally donated over 200 rabbits for 4-H projects both in the United States and abroad. Her passion for 4-H has led her to broaden her horizons to international 4-H, including hosting 15 international youth and leaders in her farm home from Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Belize.

Russell Mawby, former Michigan State 4-H Program Leader, states, "While the nature of the community and club has changed dramatically with rural urbanization, Diana continues to give priority to the 4-H project as the members’ first engagement. Her initial interests were traditional 4-H projects but she soon realized that many lessons could be taught with animal projects even though most members did not live on farms. Thus, she set out to become an expert in rabbits and goats, developing these projects in her club, and then expanding them to the county and state levels so effectively that rabbits and goats became integral in county and state exhibits and auctions. I cite this as just one example of her creative leadership in nontraditional areas and then helping get them implemented at county and state levels.”

Sara Stuby, Michigan 4-H Foundation trustee, observes, “Finally, and perhaps foremost, Diana lives her life active, dedicated, passionate and committed. Youth and adult volunteers who work with Diana find an individual of high energy who creates an environment of high expectation based on fundamental knowledge, resources and experience. Whether teaching, mentoring, leading or simply participating, Diana displays wisdom, curiosity, creativity and professional character. Her word is gold and she earns the respect of all who share her passion for 4-H. She may be one of the few women whose portrait hangs in Agriculture Hall for Distinguished Service to Agriculture, but it is the neighbor youth who wins showmanship in rabbits that brings a smile to her face.”

Diana has been very active in the Barry County Advisory 4-H Council and County Fair, serving as a catalyst in modernizing the structure of both and clarifying their missions, policies and procedures.  A consistent concern was fundraising to serve needs in training and expansion of educational opportunities.  She was the Barry County 4-H intergenerational coordinator to strengthen activities between youth and seniors.   Increasingly, with experience, she was engaged with county and state initiatives and events of all sorts, always anxious to move from planning to implementation. Sara Stuby again reflects, “She has a well-earned reputation as a ’can do’ person.”

Besides her dedication to 4-H, Diana has been a parent to 27 foster and adoptive children besides her own natural children. Ms. Langshaw has served as a Ross Township trustee, Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning Commission member, and a member of the Four Township Water Resource Board, the Kalamazoo Environmental Health Advisory Council, Surface Water Advisory Committee and Kalamazoo Conservation Committee. She has carried her 4-H banner into other agricultural organizational roles such as the Southwestern Michigan Polled Hereford Association, American and Michigan Rabbit Breeders, and the North American Gladiolus Council. She is the co-owner-operator of Langshaw Farms, Inc., with 10 acres of flowers hybridized for top growers. 

Ms. Langshaw was previously announced as the North Central Regional Outstanding Lifetime 4-H Volunteer and will be recognized for that honor at the North Central 4-H Volunteer Leader Forum scheduled for October 11-14, 2012 in Wichita, KS. She will receive a plaque and $200 which she can award to the 4-H organization of her choice.The national honor will be bestowed at the Award Ceremony of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents’ Conference in Orlando, Florida, October 21-25, 2012.  There she will receive $1,000 to go to the 4-H organization of her choice and an engraved crystal pitcher.

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