Ceremony celebrates 4-H members, leaders

REYNOLDSVILLE — Monday night, 4-H members and leaders were recognized at the annual 4-H Leader Recognition Dinner and 4-H Awards Program.
The program was held at the Foundry in Reynoldsville; Susan Alexander, Penn State Cooperative Extension educator, welcomed everyone in attendance.

The ceremony celebrated 4-H volunteers — those who just started, and those who have contributed most of their lives to the program.

Lois Pifer, who has served for Jefferson County's 4-H program for 40 years, was recognized for her significant service.

Delaney opened the program with a special speech that explained the significance of the Pledge of Allegiance.

She said she was influenced by the recent discussions of the Brookville Area School Board concerning the pledge, and asked Alexander if she could speak about this topic.

Delaney used a famous speech by the old-time comedian Red Skelton, to illustrate why the pledge is important.

From Skelton's Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance, she read: "I — Me; an individual; a committee of one. Pledge — Dedicate all of my worldly good to give without self-pity. Allegiance — My love and my devotion. To the Flag — Our standard. “Old Glory;” a symbol of courage. And wherever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts “Freedom is everybody's job..."

Delaney ended her presentation with Skelton's last words from his commentary: "Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God. Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said, "That is a prayer" — and that be eliminated from our schools, too?"

After Delaney's speech, numerous awards were presented.

Among the awards, 15 members were recognized for outstanding 4-H project books for 2011, but only seven students were in attendance to receive the award, including Laken Delaney, Adrionna Fetterman, Mikayla Ishman, William Lelless, Ryanne Lindenpitz, Taylor Medsger and Reece Spicher .
In addition, five members were winners of this year's poster contest: Adrionna Fetterman, Mikayla Ishman, Nakoma Ishman, Amberley Spicher and Reece Spicher.

Three 4-H members were recognized for the 2011 Blue Record: Juinor, Ryanne Lindenpitz; Intermediate, Amberley Spicher; and Senior, Danielle Troutman.

Furthermore, first and fifth-year 4-H leaders were recognized. Sunni Reddinger and Joanna Vansteenberg were honored for their first year of service and Brandi Sheley, Diane Troutman and Chris Wolfe were honored for their fifth year of service.

At the end of the ceremony, Alexander introduced a new project that 4-H members have the opportunity to participate in.

According to Alexander, Penn State Cooperative Extension was approached last week with the opportunity of developing a robotics 4-H club.

Alexander said 9th through 12th grade students are eligible to join the newly-developed club.

"Part of our 4-H is looking at the STEM curriculum and getting more kids involved in science, technology, engineering and math, and this was an opportunity that was presented to us," she said. "We thought it would be a great idea."

Alexander said she is looking for students who are interested in robotics and those who would be interested in setting up a Web page about the robotics project.

The goal is to build the robot by March 8 and take it to competition in Pittsburgh; a training will be held Jan. 7, 2012.

"I'm excited to get in there and try to build it myself," Alexander said.