4-H banquet hits 50

The annual 4-H Adviser and Junior Leader Recognition Banquet not only hit a 50-year milestone, but members also recognized a mother and daughter with two major achievements for all their hard work and involvement in the 4-H program.

The 50th annual 4-H recognition banquet recognized two outstanding 4-H youth on Monday night — Bridget Wessel and Paige Klopfenstein. Wessel’s mother, Chris Wessel, also was recognized as Outstanding 4-H Adviser and Todd Schaub was recognized as Friend of 4-H Award.

Their involvement in the 4-H organization has shown leadership and hard work, and The Ohio State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Director Beth Miller said the award recipients are “awesome.”

“They are awesome, and I couldn’t do it without them,” Miller said.

Paige, who is a senior at Wapakoneta High School, said being a member of her 4-H club, Star Spangled Clovers, has taught her much during the past 12 years of her involvement in the program.

“It taught me really good work ethics — that’s for sure,” Paige said. “4-H has left me with a thirst for knowledge.”

The daughter of Jann and Tim Klopfenstein plans to attend either The Ohio State University or Case Western University to study biology in order to enter medical school.

While she nears the end of her 4-H career, she said there is a lot she will miss about 4-H.

“I will miss the people I meet and new experiences,” Paige said. “4-H always has something new for us.”

Paige said she felt good, excited and surprised after receiving one of the 2011 Outstanding 4-H Youth awards.

“I’m always putting my best foot forward and trying to make what was best, better,” Paige said.

Bridget, who has been a member in the 4-H organization for 11 years, has a love for horses, which sparked her interest to join when she was in elementary school.

“I was involved in 4-H ever since I was little,” Bridget said. “My brothers were in 4-H.”

Her passion for riding horses led her to join 4-H, because she wanted to do more with the horses than just ride them, she wanted to show them.

The daughter of Chris and Clyde Wessel participates as a member of the Horse and Pony Pioneers. The 2011 graduate of New Knoxville High School noted this summer she will be participating in her last Auglaize County Fair, and she said she will miss it greatly but is hoping to continue in the program an adviser.

“After this year, I won’t be on the Junior Fair Board, I won’t be able to show, and I won’t be a camp counselor,” Bridget said of the things she will miss after this year.

The president of her 4-H club and vice president on the Junior Fair Board said she was surprised when she heard Miller announce her name as one of the Outstanding 4-H Youth.

“I do things and I don’t expect to be recognized,” Bridget said. “This means a lot to me.”

Bridget plans to attend Lamar Community College in Lamar, Colo., in the fall to study horse training and management.

Bridget’s mother, Chris, was also recognized as the 2011 Outstanding 4-H Adviser.

Wessel served as the adviser for Horse and Pony Pioneer for eight years, although she said her involvement in 4-H started when her oldest child, who is now 26, was a member of the organization when she was younger.

“I’ve been a 4-H adviser for eight years, but I’ve been involved with it for longer than that,” Wessel said. “I helped out a lot, and they asked me to do it. I was helping the previous adviser.”

Before she knew it, Wessel was the adviser of the 4-H club she had been helping out with.

Wessel’s eyes welled up with tears when Miller read her name for the achievement award.

“I had no idea,” Wessel said of the recognition. “She (Miller) does very good at covering things up.”

Wessel, who was still in shock after the banquet, said she was honored. Her goal as a 4-H adviser is to create leaders out of her club members.

“It’s fun to see the kids progress,” Chris said. “My favorite is seeing the kids take charge and grow.”

4-H organization supporter Todd Schaub was recognized as 2011 Friend of 4-H Award.

Miller said that Schaub was recommended because he has been a huge supporter of the 4-H program.

“As he took the helm of the family business, he made a personal commitment to stay involved in his community and support our youth,” Miller said of Schaub. “It is through his belief in our program, that he has stayed active in the Junior Fair Livestock sale and expanded his support into the Ohio State Fair Sale of Champions.”

“This really made me feel honored,” Schaub said of the award.

Schaub, along with the other three award recipients, said he was surprised when his name was announced.

“I’m tickled pink,” Schaub said.