It was an evening of recognition, creativity and caring as the annual Monroe County 4-H Achievement Recognition Banquet was held.

Carving pumpkins, making scarecrows to promote 4-H, and all the winnings at the West End Fair exemplified the creativity of 4-H youth.

Caring came in the form of food baskets created by various clubs. The contents would be joined together after judging for the respective club's creativity in assembling them and given to one Monroe County Food pantry in the name of all Monroe 4-H clubs and members.

Scholarship, citizenship, competitions by individuals and clubs were recognized, with Amanda Breidenbach of Saylorsburg receiving the coveted Jensen Award as presented by 4-H educator Sherri Abbruzzi.

She is the daughter of Bill and Dawn Breidenbach and has been in 4-H member for six years, in the Insects Are Us Club. As a member she has served as the club's treasurer and vice President, but the honor she received—given annually in recognition of Robert A. Jensen, a Viet Nam veteran of Monroe County who died while serving his country—includes participation in community and civic affairs and good citizenship work.

Amanda has been educating the public about the diversity and benefits of insects at such places as: Monroe County Youth Field Day, Ned Smith Nature and Arts Festival in Millersville, the PSU Great Insect Fair, the Monroe County Bug Fest, and the North Museum in Lancaster.

She has also participated in other educational forums including: The Week of the Young Child, Stroud Community Day and Vacation Bible School at Christ Hamilton Lutheran Church.

In addition, Amanda has also assisted in several research projects including the monarch watch through the University of Kansas and the Monroe County Bioblitz at the Monroe County Conservation District.

Receiving the annual Monroe County 4-H Program Advisory $500 scholarship, as presented by 4-H Program Advisory Committee President Claudia Hill of Brodheadsville, was former 4-H'er Sarah Halstead, a 2009 graduate of the Pocono Mountain East High School.

Halstead is attending Schreyer's Honors College, Penn State University, studying microbiology/immunology and infectious diseases so her mother, Lynn accepted the award for her. She was in 4-H nine years, has held many club positions, as well as having served as counselor at 4-H Camp Shehaqua.

Heading the list of West End Fair awards as given to the 4-H'er with the most quantity with the best quality were Amanda Breidenbach, Gretchen Schmidt and Karen Kooistra, earning an extra $20, $15 and $10, respectively, from the 4-H Development Association.

Thirty-seven Monroe 4-H'ers entered 193 items in Department 10 in the West End Fair and earned $1,055 premium money.

Two 4-H clubs also entered a 4-H display in the community building, with Insects are Us earning a second place ribbon and Ridge Riders 4-H Club earning a 1st place ribbon, bringing prize money to their club treasuries.

Judging the scarecrows competition promoting 4-H took time as those displays were all over the county. Winning the honors as best so doing were Ridge Riders, 1st place; The Collection Connection, 2nd place; and Feeling Our Oats and Top Dog, tied for 3rd. Those clubs received $30, $25, and $20 respectively.

"Green Form" Winners, as 4-H'ers are encouraged to keep records of all their 4-H and non 4-H activities over the year, were won by: Senior Division-Dennis Arnold, Amanda Breidenbach, Anthony Franza, Jonathan Gavilanes and Stephanie Gavilanes; Junior Division- Brook Buckman, Shane Flory, Kellie Franza, Julie Sobers, Matthew Stock and Megan Stock.

The pumpkin contest winners included: Funniest, Katie Strunk; Promotes 4-H, Emily Purdy; Most Creative, Lee Ann Bachman; Largest, Tiffany Brodt; Smallest, Rachel Strunk; and Most Patriotic, Valerie Munoz.

Winning the Thanksgiving Decorated Food Basket competition were: Promotes 4-H, Ridge Riders Horse Club; Club Theme, Guiding Pups; TLC, Little Whips and Riders; Snuggly & Warm, Collection Connection; Utterly Generous, Insects Are Us; Turkey Li'l Bits.

Counselor recognition and horse events were listed with the top three sponsorships being recognized. They are-Matthew Stock, Michele Gannon and Catherine Stephens.

Dr. Doug Arnold recognized the 4-H'ers who bowled in the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Bridge Bowl for Kids held in March. Seven participated this year. The upcoming Bowl for Kids will be held March 27, 2010.

Club charters were presented to the Tobyhanna Army Depot 4-H Club and the 4-H Videography Club.

There are 20 4-H clubs in Monroe County as well as other 4-H activities, including 4-H camp, Local Government Day, 4-H state leadership conference, Ag Progress Days, the Monroe County Horse Bowl, county Horse and Pony Round Up, all of which help 4-H'ers grow and learn, have fun and make friends. The annual banquet recognized a goodly portion of the year's activities and the 4-H'ers growth and accomplishments.