Commissioners honor 4 youth for leadership, citizenship

Commissioners honor 4 youth for leadership, citizenship

Image Credit: Dave Mast

Developing leadership and investing in citizenship are characteristics Holmes County 4-H are proud to promote through their young people.

On Monday, Aug. 8 at the Holmes County Fair at Harvest Ridge, those traits paid off for four young people who received the annual Holmes County Commissioner’s Awards, an honor that has been handed out for many years to youth who exhibit leadership and citizenship through their 4-H efforts.

Janessa Hill, Holmes County Ohio State University Extension educator, announced the award winners, talking about the process these young people go through to earn one of the four junior and senior leadership and citizenship awards, honors that bring with them a $50 cash award and a plaque.

Hill said they received more than 20 applications in the senior division and as many in the junior division, numbers Hill said were strong. Each applicant had to submit an essay describing their endeavors into either growing leadership or developing citizenship qualities, and the commissioners read each application without knowing who wrote each one.

Winning the Senior Citizenship Award was Alysa Pringle while the Senior Leadership honor went to Garrett Houin. Jenna Sheldon won the Junior Citizenship Award while the Junior Leadership Award was presented to Tristan Houin.

“It was great to read through all of them,” Hill said of each application. “We are so grateful for the commissioners’ support, and we would like to thank Dave Hall, Joe Miller and Ray Eyler.”

Hall was on hand to represent the commissioners and hand out the awards. He said the joy in doling out the awards is something all the commissioners take pride in because they understand how hard these young people work through their 4-H experience.

“I’m so proud of our Holmes County kids,” Hall said. “What we see in the growth of each of them is amazing. Even the growth from the junior citizenship and leadership to the senior level is incredible. We’ve got great kids who pour themselves into 4-H, and it’s exciting for us to see how they give back to the community.”

He said the 4-H program in Holmes County is second to none, and having sat on the state fair board previously, he has seen a lot of different county 4-H groups.

“No one can compete with what we have here. It’s something special,” Hall said. “Not only do we have some top-notch kids, but we also have parents and a community who are willing to teach and walk with them and support their kids.”

As for the honor of receiving the awards, each youth took enough time and care to pen their application essays, so it was evident receiving the honor was meaningful.

“I’ve had a great experience participating in the commissioner’s award competition,” Garrett Houin said. “I’m thrilled I got it again because I am putting it right into my college fund.”

Houin said striving for the commissioner’s award is something that inspires him to get involved in his 4-H club and community in as many ways as possible. He focused this year’s essay around his high school rodeo experience, where he served as the vice president last year and will serve as president this year.

He also said he delved into his leadership experience with his 4-H club and how he has developed leadership skills in both the Boy Scouts of America and in his martial arts class.

“All of that has helped me grow in my leadership skills,” Houin said.

Pringle said she was honored to receive the citizenship award, saying the process was focused on community service and the many activities she has attended.

“Our 4-H program has helped me a lot,” Pringle said. “I have joined the Ohio 4-H Team Leadership Council, which no one in Holmes County has ever done, so 4-H has helped me grow, not only in our local community, but at the state level.”

Those types of comments from the county’s young people who are working hard to make a difference and have a positive impact on those around them are exactly what the commissioners hoped to hear when they created the awards years ago.