By Katerina Sharp, OCJ 4-H reporter
Along with the many projects, trips and other leadership opportunities available to Ohio 4-H members, teens can apply for achievement awards each year that recognize their hard work in specific project areas.
The Ohio 4-H achievement award application requires members to keep track of and record all their yearly 4-H activities, along with their work in a specific project category. There are 28 categories that cover project areas such as beef, environmental science, health and safety, leadership, photography, and food and nutrition. Counties select the top candidate from each category to go on to the state competition.
Selection for each category is based on what the 4-H member learned, project achievement, 4-H awards and honors. The first-place state winner from each project area receives an all-expenses paid trip to attend National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia, where members network with other 4-H teens from across the country while engaging in leadership trainings and community service events. Each of Ohio’s 28 achievement award winners also attend a recognition banquet at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center where they are recognized for their achievements in 4-H.
Two of this year’s 28 winners are Andrew Houseman and Lauren Hitt.
Andrew Houseman is a 10-year member of Clinton County’s Adams Chiefs 4-H club. Andrew received his achievement award in woodworking, a project area he has participated in all 10 years.
“The feeling of earning this award is phenomenal. I really love woodworking,” said Andrew. “To know you are the best in your area in the entire state of Ohio is a really cool feeling. I’ve put a ton of work into 4-H over the years and for me, woodworking is a skill I can use throughout my life.”
In addition to his woodworking projects, Andrew completed vegetable projects and has shown hogs. He also held several officer positions in his 4-H club and in junior fair board over the past few years.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without 4-H,” said Andrew. “Being a camp counselor taught me how to work with kids and take care of someone other than myself. Being a junior fair board member has given me a lot of professional experience, like working with people, planning and organizing events, and time management.”
Andrew is looking forward to attending The Ohio State University’s ATI campus this fall, where he plans to major in agricultural systems management.
Lauren Hitt, a 9-year member of Franklin County’s K-9 Wonderdogs club, has been chosen as Ohio’s achievement award winner in the companion animals category. Lauren rescued two dogs, Lily and Sadie, that she trains and shows in 4-H. She is also active in 4-H PetPALS, where she and Lilly visit the Columbus Public Library to promote education and reading, as well as Wesley Glen Retirement Community.
“It means a lot to me to know that I’ve made an impact,” said Lauren, “and to know that people recognize the effort I have put into training my dogs. I’m very honored to be getting this award and just doing what I love.”