Michigan 4-H State Award winners announced through virtual recognition program

4-H members honored for their outstanding accomplishments in leadership, service and life skill development.

The Michigan 4-H State Awards Recognition Celebration took place on June 23, 2021, to celebrate the accomplishments of Michigan 4-H members. A Michigan 4-H State Award is the highest honor bestowed on Michigan 4-H members. While 4-H members were unable to gather at Michigan State University (MSU) this year, the Recognition Celebration was able to be held via virtually, allowing 4-H members along with their family and friends to attend the program.

Twenty-eight 4-H members from 23 counties submitted applications to take part is this year’s program.

“With almost 200,000 4-H’ers across the state, the youth honored with State Awards are some of our most accomplished 4-H’ers,” said Jake DeDecker, 4-H State Leader of MSU Extension, Michigan 4-H programs. “Their commitment to bettering themselves and their communities through service and extensive 4-H work really make them true leaders in their clubs, counties and state.”

Michigan 4-H State Awards were presented in 13 of the 19 available award categories that showcase the diverse array of 4-H knowledge, skills, and experience. Recipients of the 2021 awards are:

  • Beef Science: Jadyn Herzog of Mecosta County (junior division) and Andrew Strohm of Marquette County (senior division).
  • Bird and Poultry Science: Alison Borowski of Alpena County (junior division).
  • Career Development: Amanda Towne of Van Buren County (junior division) and Amy Saxton of Kalkaska County (senior division).
  • Civic Engagement and Service: IsaBelle Stull of St. Clair County (junior division).
  • Companion Animal Science: Bryant Janetzke of Ionia County (junior division) and Dylan Sawdon of St. Clair County (senior division).
  • Dairy Science: Irene Nielsen of Ingham County (senior division).
  • Equine Science: Evie Clare of Berrien County (senior division).
  • Food, Nutrition, Health Fitness: Rebecca Thomas of Ionia County (junior division) and Audrey Martin of Midland County (senior division).
  • Goat Science: Carey Towne of Van Buren County (junior division).
  • Leadership: Amari Potts of Oakland County (junior division).
  • Rabbit and Cavy Science: Thomas Tafoya of Cheboygan County (junior division).
  • Swine Science:  James Endres of Isabella County and Hana Harshbarger of Livingston County (senior division).
  • Visual, Performing and Expressive Arts: Alana Aulph of Monroe County (junior division).

A link to view the recording of the Recognition Celebration will be posted to the Michigan 4-H State Awards website for anyone who was wishes to view the program but was unable to join live. 

Michigan 4-H State Awards Program is open to 4-H members who are 13-19 years old with three or more years of 4-H experience. To qualify for the award, 4-H’ers must submit a written application that showcases the learning experiences, knowledge and skills they’ve acquired through their participation in 4-H, as well as their contributions to their local 4-H programs, clubs and communities. Submissions are reviewed by the Michigan 4-H State Awards selection committee. This group of volunteers, staff members and industry experts determine which members are selected as award delegates. All applicants receive written feedback from selection committees.

Senior delegates (ages 16-19) and groups complete an interview using video conference technology. Completing a video interview provided an opportunity for 4-H members to practice real-world skills that are trending in the workforce.

“4-H is focused on building skills and providing learning opportunities,” DeDecker said. “Even the application process and interviews for State 4-H Awards was developed to prepare youth for college and the workforce. It is a significant and rewarding process for youth and we are grateful to acknowledge their achievements with the State 4-H Award honor.” 

In addition to a plaque, each 4-H State Award winner in the senior division will also receive a $200 cash award; junior winners receive $50 cash awards. These awards are made possible by generous donations to the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

To learn more about Michigan 4-H Youth Development, contact your local MSU Extension office or visit the Michigan 4-H website.

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