Two local members were among the big winners as Waterloo 4-H recently handed out their annual awards. Michaella Snyder of Breslau was awarded the most outstanding junior member award, and Michelle Albrecht of Wellesley was the recipient of the outstanding senior member award at the awards ceremony held Nov. 25 at the St. Agatha community centre.
The awards are handed out annually to the top junior, intermediate, and senior 4-H members in Waterloo Region who best exemplifies the qualities of 4-H in the eyes of their leaders.
“As a 4-H leader, you’re supposed to observe your kids and see who most exemplifies 4-H,” explained
Susan Martin, who was Snyder’s leader in three different 4-H clubs in 2010. “Our motto is ‘learn to do by doing,’ and in all three (clubs) she exhibited great leadership skills and is very friendly.
“She stood out as being one of those people that is always willing to help, and is always enjoying whatever they do.”
Snyder, 13, has completed 18 clubs since joining 4-H three years ago, ranging from quilting to sheep, and was raised on her family’s turkey farm just outside of Breslau. She said that winning the award – her first major 4-H honour – was a bit of a shock.
“I knew I was being considered for it, but when I won I was very surprised,” she said. “4-H is something I’ve learned so much from. I really have learned by doing, as their motto says, so I am really looking forward to the years ahead.”
The most outstanding senior member award was also given to a local resident, as Michelle Albrecht took home the honour.
“There are many very well-known people on that plaque, so to be able to have my name up there is a really good feeling,” she said. “My dad’s name (Paul) is on it, so I feel really honoured to have my name on this award as well.”
The 21-year-old has been an active member of 4-H for the past 10 years, starting out in the Wilmot-Wellesley dairy club before moving up to the Waterloo senior dairy club at the age of 15. She is an accomplished showman as well, having been named the grand champion dairy showman at the 2009 Gencor Challenge, and won the title four times in 2010, winning grand champion showman at the Grand River 4-H show, the Waterloo senior dairy club show, the Waterloo interclub show, and at New Hamburg Fair.
“She’s an absolutely lovely girl. She certainly takes on a leadership role with the other kids in the club, and she’s humble to a flaw,” said John Drummond, the leader of the Waterloo senior dairy club. “She’s just somebody that’s always quietly in the background, but is always willing to help with anything, and just excels at everything that she does.”
Albrecht was also awarded the Plowman’s award, which is given annually to the top agricultural member of the club.
“Melissa embodies agriculture,” said Drummond, who was recognized for 25 years of leadership in 4-H at the awards ceremony as well. “She is a farm girl, she loves her cows, (and) she loves everything to do with cattle.”
Other top awards presented at the 4-H Awards Night include most outstanding intermediate 4-H member Sarah Robinson of Kitchener, the David Perrin memorial education award to Lindsay Oxby of Moorefield and Nick Wagner of Breslau, and the Richard Lichty memorial award to Carson Wagner of New Hamburg.
The 4-H program is developed to help foster the leadership and personal growth of youth aged 9-21. With projects encompassing agriculture, food, health and the environment, 4-H Ontario’s clubs, camps and conferences have a successful 95-year history in the province.