Full House at 4-H Kick-Off Event; Club Awards Presented

August 27, 2017 - (Album) - Despite pending rain a full house attended the Shelby County 4-H kickoff event held Sunday, August 27, 2017 in the gym next to their new facility located at 266 Nacogdoches Street in Center.

AgriLife Extension agents and team members welcomed all. Jheri-Lynn McSwain, County Extension Agent, Family Community Health Agent, "Welcome to Shelby County 4-H. I'm glad that you came out today in spite of [Tropical Storm] Harvey. And I'm glad Harvey hasn't produced as much rain as we anticipated, yet. So, thank you for coming out on this Sunday afternoon."

For those new to 4-H, McSwain addressed, "We're glad that you are here to explore the opportunity that 4-H can offer you." She spoke about what 4-H is about, "It is an organization that has been in existence for over 100 years, so it's well grounded." Texas has more than 550,000 youth who are involved in 4-H experiences. Projects include record book and leadership, food and nutrition, photography, textiles and fashion, robotics, taxidermy, shooting sports, archery, virtual fishing, livestock (beef, goats, rabbits, poultry), and horse project.

Megan Dunn, Shelby County 4-H president, introduced herself, "This year I was announced District 5 4-H President, elected, so now I'm on the Texas 4-H State Council and I'm really excited to be able to explore those adventures with the other state council members and come back to y'all and tell y'all the new experiences that we have to offer here in Shelby County. Our club is a little bit different this year; now we are countywide. And as y'all can see, y'all are all going to be together throughout the year. So, its going to be a lot of fun."

Dunn continued to explain that she is the Texas 4-H Livestock ambassador. She said as she mentioned different projects around the room, "The livestock project is my passion but that doesn't mean for y'all that it has to be yours. That's what I am here to promote as the Livestock Ambassador program, but I'm also here for the food, the fashion, and photography which is an awesome part of 4-H. Another thing is just get out there and try to find your passion, that's what I'm all about, is go out there and figure out which project is yours, go explore, try everything you can, and then we will go from there."

Lane Dunn, County Extension Agent for Agri Natural Resources then began presentation of awards. The 'I Dare You' Award was presented to Lance Holloway who started 4-H in the 3rd grade and is now in the 8th grade. He has competed in State indoor archery events and State outdoor archery games in San Antonio. He won People's Choice award as a junior contestant in photography at the East Texas Poultry Festival. He has competed many times in virtual fishing and has won three times in the countywide tournament. In 2016, Holloway competed in the Outdoor Challenge and he and his partner placed 1st in the state. In shotgun he has won numerous high point belt buckles in county shoots and the District 5 high overall three in the last five years and placed 2nd at the State Whiz-bang this year.

A second 'I Dare You' Award winner was Wesley Wages. He has been in 4-H since 8 years old and in the 3rd grade. He started off with goats and poultry projects along with many others. Wages passion is the Heifer project. Along with maintaining all of his livestock projects, he maintains good grades and is always willing to come out and serve including working with Ag Ed Day. Community service is important to him.

A Gold Star Award was presented to Lauren Vandrovec. She began in 4-H at the age of 5 as a clover coming to meetings along with her older brother. She started as a member of the Shelbyville 4-H and has been a member for more than 8 years. She is currently a junior at Shelbyville High School. Her first project was raising a pen of rabbits. The project nearest to her heart has always been the horse project and includes drill, barrels, poles, stakes, team penning, ranch sporting, trail and western riding. She has been successful in horse judging and quiz bowl. Vandrovec has also participated in poultry, food, fashion, and photography. She has held various club officer positions for her club.

Another Gold Star Award was presented to Blake Griffin. He has been involved in 4-H for many years as well. He has been involved in poultry project, livestock project showing steers, shooting sports, and the horse project. His passion is also horses and has competed on the District and State level. He won Paul Harvey's Top Hand Award. This year in Abilene at the State Horse Show he placed 1st in cutting, 1st in breakaway roping, 2nd in team roping, and 2nd in tie down calf roping making him the high point roper at the State show.

The 'Friend of 4-H' Award was presented to Hawkeye Hunting Club and its owners Mr. and Mrs. Mark Brueggeman and their son Kevin. Fairly new to Shelby County, they started off by helping the shooting sports project allowing 4-H to utilize their facility. They participated in the livestock show and sale.

Dunn said speaking about the Brueggemans, "[The kids] can't do this without people coming in and giving their support to go and then, that support allows these kiddos to go on and go to college and do some things that they have dreams on and I think [the Brueggemans] realize how important our youth are and we greatly appreciate that."

The Shelby County 4-H Club will meet the 1st Monday of each month at 6pm in the County Extension Office which is now located at 266 Nacogdoches Street in Center. The club will not meet on September 4th due to it being a holiday and will meet on September 11, 2017 at 6pm.

Upcoming events and project kick-off schedule:

  • August 29 - Food at 5:30pm, Textiles at 6pm, Robotics at 6:30pm
  • September 1 - Enrollment opens
  • September 3 - Last day to order 'One Day 4-H' shirts
  • September 11 - 4-H Club meeting at 6pm
  • September 18 - Shooting sports and archery at 6pm
  • September 23 - One Day 4-H at Historic Courthouse at 8am
  • September 25 - Taxidermy at 6pm

The AgriLife team is Lane Dunn, County Extension Agent, Agri Natural Resources Agent; Jheri-Lynn McSwain, County Extension Agent, Family Community Health Agent; Feleshia Thompson, Better Living for Texans Extension Assistant; and Daphne Lovell staff secretary. Dunn said, "Please don't hesitate to contact us as you may have some questions over today or any other things."