Tag Archives: awards

Devon Schneider Takes Top Honors at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival

DSchneider_MD_SheepWoolShow_2014Congratulations to Devon Schneider on her success at the 2014 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival! Devon, a member of the Sussex County Shepherds 4-H Club, entered her fleece at the show and took top honors among 4-H fleeces. There were over 700 fleeces entered this year, and while they weren’t all from 4-H members, the quality of Devon’s won out over fleeces submitted from 4-H members from several other states.
This was a great honor for Devon, but not the first for Sussex County. Alexandra Rogers (also a Sussex Shepherds member) won the 4-H competition the last two years. While the Shepherds are a comparatively small club of just 15 members, they’re very accomplished!

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.