Monroe County 4-H'ers pledge their head to greater thinking, their heart to greater loyalty, their hands to larger service, and their health to better living for their club, their community, their country and their world.
A vanload of food and other good items, headed to the Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network this year, as well as many recognitions during Monroe County 4-H Achievement Recognition banquet gave proof that local 4-H'ers and their leaders are fulfilling the spirit of that pledge.
Charles Rush, secretary of the PVEN board, along with his wife Joanne, a former 4-H leader, volunteered to transport the collected foods and other items such as mittens and pet food, to the PVEN Community Service Center. Both are members of the Western Pocono Lions Club members and they, too, were fulfilling their commitment to service as Lions.
The load of caring they moved came about as a result of an annual event that is a part of the 4-H Achievement dinner for 4-H Clubs. They are asked to decorate food baskets, knowing that those baskets will all be given to one pantry in the county on a rotating basis.
The baskets are then judged for creativity in one of several categories. Declared best fulfilling the theme of "Thanksgiving," was the Ridge Riders Club, led by Joy Patterson and Stephanie Stock;
Winners for other categories included: Mt View Wranglers, "Promotes 4-H," led by Jacqueline Gannon, Gretchen Pettit, Bobbi Flurer, Melissa Garrett, Sara Gannon and Chris Matthews; Top Dog Club, "Club Theme," led by Karin-Susan Breitlauch and Lorraine Lennon; Lil Bits, TLC (Tender Loving Care), led by Lynn Strunk; Feeling Our Oats, "Snuggly and Warm," led by Kimberly Komala, Ela Tomala and Joanne Siragusa; and Little Whips and Riders, "Fall Harvest," led by Eileen Pasquin.
Recognized for receiving the annual $500 4-H scholarship was Amanda Leah Johnson, a 2010 graduate of Pocono Mountain East High School. She has been a 4-H'er for seven years and has held various positions. She is currently attending East Stroudsburg University, pursuing a degree in elementary/special education.
Recognized for winning the Green Form competition on the senior and the junior level, (it is a compilation of various activities the 4-H'er has completed both on the club level as well as academically, community service, etc) were: Dennis Arnold, Izabela Dzimira, Hannah Hans, Elizabeth Hans, and Gretchen Schmidt (Senior level) and Paula Dzimira, Taylor Erdman, Julie Sobers, Kayla Sobers, Megan Stock and Adam Winchell.
Honored also were the top winners in the West End Fair competition. That award recognizes the 4-H'ers who have won the most 1st, 2nd and 3rd place ribbons based on a point system. Gretchen Schmidt took first, Amanda Breidenbach earned second and Marisa Coley collected third.
This year 53 4-H'ers exhibited over 190 entries and earned over $1,470 in prize money as well as $160 in the Community Building.
Various 4-H'ers were recognized for their involvement in the Monroe County Horse Hippology, Monroe County Horse Bowl, the county horse and pony round-up, the district horse show, horse production and the state horse show in performance and production as well as being in the Equine Skill-A-Thon.
Those attending regional Local Government Day, the 4-H state leadership conference, Capital Days and various countywide activities were also recognized.
Not only were the youth honored, but leaders who have reached milestones in service were honored. Among them: Lori Baumann and Lurinda Rubin, 5 years; Jacqueline Gannon, 10 years; and Dora Arnold, 20 years.
Camp Shehaqua counselors, counselors-in-training and campers were honored as were Pennsylvania Farm Show participants and those who participated in the Bug Fest and the Great Insect Fair.
Two other categories had winners announced. They were the annual "decorate-a-pumpkin" contest and the 4-H Scarecrow contest. The Scarecrow contest helps promote 4-H around the county. This year's theme was "4-H Around the World." Entries were placed in public buildings with permission obtained by the 4-H Club or the individual 4-H'er.
Winning clubs earned some funds for their treasury. They are: Sharp Threads, 1st place, $30; Top Dog, 2nd place, $25; and Feeling Our Oats, 3rd place, $20. Mountainview Wranglers and Paula Dzimira received Honorable mention.
The pumpkin contest had the following winners: Mark Strunk, "Funniest;" Taylor Garrett, "Promotes 4-H;" Valerie Munoz, "Most Creative;" Lee Ann Bachman, "Largest;" Stephanie Gavilanes, "Smallest;" Ashley Warner, "Unusual;" and "Represents 4-H," Rachel Strunk with her "Cockroach Cave"