For more than 70 years, the Routt County 4-H program has provided area youths a wealth of educational opportunities, all the while helping the Yampa Valley and its communities maintain their character and traditions.
That history was a key component to Routt County 4-H being named the recipient of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation's Sterling Anniversary Award for education.
"4-H has a long, rich tradition in this valley," said Dean Vogelaar, chairman of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation's grants committee. "They have a very strong education component, and they focus on that."
Routt County 4-H received the $5,000 award last week during the Steamboat Springs High School Awards Breakfast.
"We're very honored," said Routt County 4-H youth development agent Jay Whaley. "It was definitely a surprise, especially when you think of all the education organizations in the area."
The award is the second of five the YVCF will present in celebration of its 25th anniversary. In March the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club received the first Sterling Anniversary Award, that one in the field of recreation. Awards also will be given to nonprofit organizations in the areas of health and human services, arts and culture, and the environment.
The awards are co-sponsored by the YVCF and various businesses, organizations and individuals. Alpine Bank co-sponsored the award for education.
"We're thrilled that 4-H was the recipient," Alpine Bank President Scott Gordon said. "4-H reaches so deep into the community."
Whaley cited the numerous programs 4-H offers area youths, many of which extend beyond agriculture. Among other things, the program has provided more than $100,000 in scholarships in the past decade.
"We're more than just cows and livestock," Whaley said.
The program has no immediate plans on how it will use the award money, he said. Like most aspects of the club, its members will make the decision.
"We have a youth council that governs 4-H, and they'll decide how we want to use that money," Whaley said. "It's kind of up to them."
The YVCF has granted more than $2 million since its inception. Nominations for Sterling Anniversary Awards in the field of health and human services are due Tuesday. A one-page nomination letter that includes the mission of the organization being nominated and why it's deserving of the award can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by fax to 879-2888.
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