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4-H volunteers honored for service at conference
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Volunteer leaders displayed their level of commitment to the state’s youth when they spent two days at Mississippi State University training in how to do their jobs even better.
The annual 4-H Volunteer Leaders Conference was held at the MSU Bost Extension Center in Starkville Feb. 28 to March 1. Mississippi 4-H is the youth development program of the MSU Extension Service. About 200 volunteer leaders attended the event.
“A highlight of our conference each year is the honoring of our outstanding volunteers,” said Harvey Gordon, Extension 4-H youth development specialist. “This year, we honored 12 different volunteers for their dedication and service to the youth of the state through the 4-H program.”
Awards were given for lifetime achievement, volunteer of the year and rising stars.
Meleoline Cooperwood of Lee County, Dot Vance of Lauderdale County, Courtney Headley of Oktibbeha County and Deborah Munn of Pontotoc County were named Volunteers of the Year.
Debbie Hill of Humphreys County, Ruby Beckley of Lee County, Linda Ellis of Lowndes County and Audra Chism of Pontotoc County received the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer award. Rising Star honors were given to LaKezia Ham and Kimberly Englett of Lowndes County, Ricky Davis of Lee County and Stephanie McMillian of Tishomingo County.
Each year, about 8,000 adults in Mississippi volunteer their time to teach the state’s 94,000 4-H club members important life skills through a variety of clubs and activities.
This year’s theme was Mississippi 4-H Volunteers: Framing Our Future. Supported by the Mississippi 4-H Volunteer Leaders Association and the MSU Extension Service, the event brought 4-H leaders together to network and learn about innovative programs that can bring fresh perspectives and activities to 4-H programs across Mississippi.
Conference workshops and funshops gave participants the skills and resources they need to help young people reach their potential and become better decision makers. Other highlights of the conference were officer elections and three sessions that offered choices from among 31 different workshop topics.
4-H volunteers work without pay, and attending the workshop costs them time, registration fees and lodging expenses. Twelve partial scholarships were available to encourage volunteers to come from counties that have not previously attended this training conference.
“We are thankful for the dedication our volunteers show as they work with our youth, even at personal cost,” Gordon said.