The accomplishments, the leadership, the creativity and the caring of Monroe County 4-Hers came together at the 2011 Monroe County 4-H Achievement Recognition banquet held at the Stroudsburg Junior High School.

Among the accomplishments was Gretchen Schmidt receiving the Monroe County 4-H Program Advisory Committee's 2011 4-H Education Scholarship for $500. Schmidt is currently attending Moravian so Claudia Hill accepted the award for her.

Schmidt was also one of the Senior Division Green Forms awardees, along with Megan Stock, Julie Sobers, Kaitlyn Strunk, Lacey Warner and Catherine Stephens.

Winning the Junior Level of that competition were Matthew Stock, LeeAnn Backman, Kayla Sobers, Taylor Garrett, Christine Siragusa, Savannah Schratt, Gianna Siragusa and Dorothy Lauchnor.

The Green Form competition is the "record keeping of all of the 4-Hers' 4-H and non-4-H activities," explains 4-H educator Sherri Abbruzzi.

That includes club participation, county events, regional and state events, an essay and community service as well as special club events and other 4-H leadership.

Among the activities is participation in the West End Fair where this past year 58 exhibitors had 150 entries in the 4-H department and collectively earned $1,853 in premiums.

Two clubs, Insects R US and Ridge Riders, took first and a second respectively in the Group Exhibit Building.

Best of Show awards were garnered by Dennis Arnold of Brodheadsville, with his Entomology display; Rachel Strunk of Stroudsburg, for her horse display; and Marissa Coley of Pocono Summit, with her quilting entry.

The Monroe County Development Association recognized four 4-Hers for the quality and excellence of their exhibits. Those awards included a point tie for Lee Ann Bachman of Kunkletown and Gretchen Schmidt for first honors, Marissa Coley of Pocono Summit for second, and Paula Dzimira of Tobyhanna for third.

All four received a check for their excellent showing.

Winners of the pumpkin exhibit contest at the dinner in the six contest categories included: Katie Strunk, Funniest; Megan Stock, Patriotic; Molly Sobers, Promotes 4-H; Rachel Strunk, Most Creative; Mark Strunk, Largest; and Niki DiGaetano, Smallest.

Caring and Creativity came together as various 4-H clubs decorated food baskets for neighbors in need. The food and other warmth creating gifts, such as socks and hats, scarves and blankets, will again be given to a local food pantry, as has been the several-years-long tradition, and pet products will be presented to Meals on Wheels, for that entity to share with its clients getting homebound meals.

Winning that competition were the following clubs with theme categories: Little Whips and Riders, Thanksgiving; Lil Bits, Promotes 4-H; Pocono Guiding Pups, Club Theme; All Paws on Deck, TLC; Ridge Riders, Snuggly and Warm.

Volunteers that help make the 4-H program hum along were recognized for meeting several leadership years of service. Among them were Year 1 honorees: Domingo Arroyo, Step up to Leadership; Sarina Cook, Sharp Threads; Jasmine Hnedak, Mountain View Wranglers; Terry Ramsour, Ridge Riders; Joanne Siragusa, Feeling Our Oats; and Jennifer Smith and Mindy Seese, Down Home Beef Club.

Two received 5-year service recognitions: Laura Brennan, Pocono Guiding Pups, and Lynn Sagnip, Sharp Threads/Videography.

Lynn Strunk, of Li'L Bits, received her 10-year service recognition.

Pennsylvania Farm Show 4-H participants were recognized as were Camp Shehaqua campers, counselors and counselors-in-training, along with those attending the 4-H Leadership Conference and 4-Hers who helped with Unity Night.

Many 4-H names came to the forefront as Monroe County Hippology participants and Monroe County Horse Bowl competitors were listed.

An even longer list was that of County Horse and Pony Roundup 4-H competitors, many of whom went on to the District Horse Show.

Seventeen 4-Hers qualified for the State Horse Show, whether in Performance, Production or the Equine Skill-A-Thon, some doing double or triple duty with Julie Sobers bringing home a 1st place ribbon from States in Production and Matthew Stock a 2nd in Saddle Seat Equitation, non-trotting.

Elected to the Program Advisory Committee for 4-H was Janet Johnson, Brodheadsville.

"In a year of challenges for families, 4-H has continued to provide fun learning opportunities and possibilities for outreach for youth in Monroe County. We are proud of and thankful for all our 4-H volunteer leaders," says Sherri Abbruzzi, Monroe's 4-H educator, of the 4-H year in review and club members' accomplishments.