Category Archives: Awards and Results

Information on the participation of Sussex County 4-H clubs and members in state, regional and national competitions

Sussex 4-H Horse Bowl Members Perform!

After the event was postponed in February due to excessive snow, the Sussex County 4-H Horse Bowl teams regrouped in March for a great performance.

Horse Bowl is an educational project, in which 4-H’ers learn many aspects of the horse and how to work as a team member. Participants enhance their study skills by using selected reference materials. Topics include equine anatomy, conformation, feed and nutrition, evolution, breed characteristics, reproduction, horse management, way-of-going, tack and equipment, styles of riding and the exhibition of horses.

This accumulated knowledge is tested in the form of a contest, similar to a College Quiz Bowl competition. At the contest, 4-H’ers must work together with three other team members to answer questions to the best of their ability.

Sussex County fielded two teams for this year’s Horse Bowl. The Senior team, including Brianna Dunn, Kaela Denno and Nicole Youngclaus, took second place in the competition. In the individual rankings Nicole and Brianna finished among the top ten. Nicole Youngclaus (in her first competition) qualified to join the State Horse Bowl team to participate in the national competition this fall!

The Junior team included Cazzandra Higgins, Sierra Walsh and Kelly Barta—all rookie members to the Horse Bowl competition. The team finished fifth overall with great future prospects!

Becky Freeborn Selected as 2014 NJ Dairy Princess

picture of Becky Freeborn
Becky Freeborn, 2013 New Jersey Dairy Princess

Becky Freeborn, a member of the Sussex County Milkmakers 4-H Club, was selected as the 2014 New Jersey Dairy Princess. She succeeds Kayla Vaughan (also a Milkmakers member), the 2013 Dairy Princess.

Becky attends Kittatinny Valley Regional High School where she is an Honors Student, participates in several clubs and plays lacrosse. She also volunteers at the Yellow Frame Church during her spare time.

Her plans include attending college to pursue studies in elementary and special education.

As the New Jersey Dairy Princess, Becky will attend events to promote agriculture and the dairy industry. She hopes her work will assist the education of younger New Jersey’s residents about these important topics.

Congratulations to Becky on this fine achievement!


Kayla Vaughan Selected as 2014 Agricultural Fair Ambassador

Kayla Vaughan 2014 Ag Fair Ambassador
Kayla Vaughan 2014 Ag Fair Ambassador

Kayla Vaughan, a member of the Sussex County 4-H Milkmakers Club and 2013 NJ Dairy Princess, has been chosen as the 2014 New Jersey Agricultural Fair Ambassador. The 18-year-old graduate of Sussex County Technical School was selected from among seven contestants by the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey.

“Kayla is the fifth-generation on her family’s dairy farm and will be a wonderful spokesperson as she attends our state’s agricultural fairs next summer,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “She also will serve as an inspiring mentor for young people interested in or already involved in agricultural youth organizations.”

As ambassador, Vaughan is charged with visiting the state’s agricultural fairs in 2014, discussing the fairs, promoting agritourism to the public and bringing people together to support the state’s agriculture industry.

“Agriculture is not just something I do for a living, it is what I live for,” said Vaughan. “I will spend the next year representing the agriculture industry as a whole and the families that work so hard at it.”

She studied commercial baking in high school and is enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America with a goal of opening a bakery on her own dairy farm using her own natural products.

Vaughan participated in Skills USA where she placed third in the state for baker’s aid. She also worked as a volunteer for a variety of organizations, including Catch a Dream Foundation and hospice.

This is the 11th year the Agricultural Fair Association of New Jersey has named an ambassador. In choosing an ambassador, the Association seeks a good representation of young people active in agriculture in the Garden State and their county fair.

There were 21 agricultural fairs in the state this past summer, including the New Jersey State Fair at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. The earliest fair is held in June, with the final fair of the season in late August.


Michelle Teitsma Recognized for Excellence!

picture of MIchelleThe 4-H motto is to Make the Best Better. The thought behind this is to practice critical thinking to improve future efforts based on past success. While this idea is shared with 4-H youth, volunteers and staff are encouraged to follow it as well.

Recently, Michelle Teitsma, 4-H Program Assistant, was recognized for her contributions to the 4-H program in Sussex County. Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE) with an Excellence award. The award recognizes faculty and staff who demonstrate outstanding performance and creativity, and highlight their contributions to RCE and how they have resulted in a positive change or have made a significant impact.

Michelle Teitsma came up through 4-H as a youth in the equine program and joined the Sussex 4-H staff working with 4-H Agent, Sherman “Buz” Tomasino. Among Michelle’s many contributions has been the growth of the 4-H public presentation program in Sussex County. When she began, the program involved 25-30 youth annually making county-level public presentations. Over the years, she has grown this number ten-fold. In 2013, 300 youth participated in the Sussex 4-H public presentations program. Under Michelle’s guidance, this has become the largest county-level public presentations program in New Jersey 4-H.

4-H Alumni have identified public speaking as among the most valuable skills learned during their time in the program. The 4-H presentations program provides youth with life-long skills for developing and presenting their ideas and themselves.

During the last seven years, Michelle has been instrumental in raising funds towards a $175,000 4-H building constructed at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in 2007. The building is a showcase for 4-H projects and programming during the annual fair. The Shotwell 4-H Educational Exhibit Hall is used by 4-H clubs and other local non-profits for programming and events throughout the year. The completion of this building realizes a goal of Sussex 4-H volunteers for over 35 years.

Michelle has worked with staff and volunteers to coordinate events that raised more than $70,000 (41% of total project costs) through local donations. These events have included raffles (50/50’s) and silent auctions (tricky trays). Michelle has been highly resourceful and diligent in implementing the most successful fundraising venture in the Sussex County program’s history.

As part of her responsibilities, Michelle also oversees the participation of over 500 4-H youth each year in the annual 10 day, New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show. This work involves review and evaluation of each member’s project record book (journals). Additionally she is involved in the registration and scheduling of member’s projects, shows and performances during the fair.

Although she no longer rides, Michelle continues to supporter the 4-H Horse Program. She and colleague Abby Naranjo volunteer their time as coaches for the county’s 4-H Horse Bowl quiz team. Together they meet with local 4-H horse club members weekly to provide education on various aspects of horse care and ownership. The enthusiasm and knowledge Michelle developed as a youth in 4-H has carried forward to her work as a staff person. Her efforts continue to grow and improve the 4-H program in Sussex County, making the best better!

Sussex Teens Perform at Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup Competition

Two Sussex 4-H teens participated in this year’s Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup competition held in Lexington, Kentucky. Amanda Clawson and Samantha Elliott from the Bit by Bit 4-H Horse club were selected to join the NJ 4-H team at this year’s event. Amanda and Samantha were members of the NJ 4-H Horse Judging  team.

The NJ 4-H Horse Judging Team was…

  • 9th overall team in conformation classes
  • 7th overall team in performance
  • 9th overall team in oral reasons
  • 7th overall team

Samantha Elliot was recognized as the 23rd high overall individual

The Roundup is the final educational-competition event for hundreds of 4-H members from all over the nation. All are state winners and proudly represent their state in this exciting, educational and competitive program.

Congratulations to Samantha and Amanda on participating in this national 4-H event!

Also participating from Sussex County in this event were Abby Naranjo and Lori Wunderlich as coaches. Their time and dedication contributed to the success of many NJ 4-H horse club members participating at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup. We appreciate their volunteering to make this possible.


4-H Member Qualifies to Compete in 2014 National 4-H Invitational

Congratulations to Wyatt Bohmann of the Bows and Barrels 4-H club on his qualifying to join the New Jersey State Delegation in the discipline of Compound Archery. This delegation will represent the state at 2014 National 4-H Invitational being held in Grande Island, Nebraska (June 24-29).

During the State 4-H Match held on October 26 Wyatt scored 175 in the FITA Match for a 96.69% and a #2 ranking. In the Field Match he scored 182 a 99.45%, again ranking second. In the 3D Archery Match Wyatt scored 44, a 95.65%, finishing second. In the Final Rankings for New Jersey 4-H, Wyatt was #2 with a 97.26%.

Fellow Bows and Barrels members, Christian Fragomeni and Emily Wesloske also competed in the match. Christian finished with a 71.91% and was ranked 7th in the state. Emily finished right behind Christian with a 71.45% and #8 ranking.


Sussex 4-H Volunteer Awardees

4-H volunteers display awards
Sussex County 4-H Recognizes:
Tony Torre (Sussex Bank), Lisa Pellow, Mary Ann Acetta, Deb Brodhecker

On October 12 Sussex County 4-H honored the volunteers responsible for the youth development program’s success in 2013. Sixty five of the 165 adult volunteers attended the annual dinner held at the Baleville Congregational Church in Newton.

The number of years volunteers have shared varies from just a few months to as long as sixty two years! The dinner affords the opportunity to recognize the contributions all have made to enrich the lives of local youth. In addition to the pins and certificates commemorating volunteer’s years of service, special awards are also presented.

The Sussex County 4-H Youth Development Award is presented to an individual for outstanding and continuous service to the program. Deborah Brodhecker received this award in recognition of her fourteen years of service as a leader with the Love on a Leash, 4-H/Seeing Eye® guide dog club. This club, combining youth and adult members, raises puppies that will be trained in the Seeing Eye® program ( to assist the blind. Deb also leads the Summer Blossoms 4-H club that focuses on horticulture. Along with her co-leader, Amy Stewart, Deb teaches youth about growing flowers, vegetables and herbs.

The 4-H Alumni Award recognizes individuals who were active members of 4-H as youth and continue to contribute to the Sussex County 4-H program. This year’s recipient, Lisa Chammings, joined a 4-H horse club when she was nine years old and has been involved with 4-H ever since. Lisa continues to serve through participation on various committees that: promote county horse shows, have raised funds to construct a 4-H building at the fairgrounds and advise the overall county 4-H program.

The Friend of 4-H Award is presented in recognition of distinguished service and outstanding leadership abilities. This year Sussex County 4-H recognizes Mary Ann Acetta for her long standing service assisting 4-H groups at the New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show. Mary Ann has been instrumental in scheduling numerous 4-H clubs to make use of the buildings and facilities at the fairgrounds.

Local businesses are acknowledged through the 4-H Business Award that recognizes outstanding and continuous service to the 4-H program. This year’s recipient is Sussex Bank who has generously sponsored many of the 4-H livestock shows at the annual New Jersey State Fair/Sussex County Farm and Horse Show more than twelve years. These include 4-H shows for youth showing sheep, pigs and goats.


Mr. Mitchell Goes to Washington!

Tim Mitchell presents
Tim Mitchell presents and 2012 New Jersey State Fair

Tim Mitchell, (Sussex County Teen Council, Love on a Leash) was recently selected to represent Sussex County and New Jersey at the 2014 National 4-H Conference (April 5-10).

National 4-H Conference is a week-long conference, sponsored by USDA and National 4-H Headquarters, which brings together approximately 300 teen delegates from throughout the Unites States as well as the U.S. territories. The conference is designed to involve 4-H members and adults in program development. The Conference will be held at the National 4-H Youth Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Participating teens will have the opportunity to work in advisory groups. These groups discuss current issues and make recommendations. Participants visit the United States Department of Agriculture as well as members of Congress from their home state.

Tim was chosen along with five other 4-H members to represent New Jersey at this national event.

Tim has been a 4-H member for nine years. He serves as the President for Sussex County Teen Council. His 4-H honors include receiving a silver plate at State Public Presentations. Tim is also an Eagle Scout.

We wish Tim well on trip to Washington, DC for the 2014 National 4-H Conference.