A potluck dinner provided much needed energy for 4-H youths, families and leaders who attended the Routt County 4-H program's annual Achievement Night on Saturday.
For two hours, applause and cheers filled the Routt County Fairgrounds exhibit hall as more than 200 awards were presented to 4-H members in a variety of categories, including community service projects, outstanding record keeping, livestock production and showings.
"It's a nice way for all of us to get together and recognize everybody's achievements. ... It's our grand finale," Routt County extension agent Debbie Alpe said.
This year, more than 250 students between the ages of 8 and 18 were members of the program, and almost all seemingly won at least one award. The diversity of awards is one of the best aspects of the event, because it shows that everybody contributes to the program, Alpe said.
"The whole is bigger than the sum of parts," she said. "That's the feeling you get here."
In addition to awards for participation, students were honored for their record books, which kept track of photos, expenses and other details associated with projects.
Judges outside Routt County reviewed the books for accuracy, comprehensiveness and completeness, Alpe said.
4-H students also were recognized for horseback riding, dog show performances and their work breeding, raising and exhibiting animals and judging livestock. Herdsman awards were given to members who showed overall excellence in showmanship, record keeping and other aspects of their projects, Alpe said.
Additional awards were presented to 4-H clubs for their Community Pride projects, which included wildlife rehabilitation, highway clean up, planting flowers in parks and cemeteries, cleaning the fairgrounds and visiting residents at The Haven.
"We're proud of how we give back to the community," extension agent Jay Whaley said, adding that Routt County 4-H members spent about 12,000 hours working on community service projects this year.
Awards for overall outstanding members went to junior members Alex Smith and Abbey Horn, intermediate members Catherine Koroulis and Sarajane Rossi and senior member Heather Wilhelm.
The event also recognized the many 4-H leaders who have helped make 4-H fulfilling and fun experiences for members. Betsy Zimmerman, one of about 80 leaders, has been a 4-H leader for 20 years and was among those honored.
The Yampa Valley Community Foundation and Soda Creek Western Mercantile were presented Corporate Friends awards for providing financial and other means of support to the program.
All of the awards were sponsored by Routt County residents and businesses dedicated to promoting 4-H projects. In total, they contributed between $9,000 and $10,000 for the awards, Whaley said.
Organizers concluded the event by announcing officers of the 2004-05 4-H Council, which were nominated and elected by 4-H members. They are: Florie Van Baak, president; Kalvert Shiner, vice president; Glenda Long, secretary; Andy Morell, treasurer; and Heather Wilhelm, reporter. Council representatives are Tyler Manzanares, Leslie Koler and Emily Hallenbeck.
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