- Contributor: Emily Stenzler
- Contributor: Casey, Elyjah and Sencio Madera
- Editor: Suzanne Morikawa
We are launching our monthly STEM Highlights with two stories about 4-H'ers doing STEM projects in their clubs. Emily in the North Stockton 4-H is starting up an Astronomy project, and Casey, Elyjah and Sencio in Madera are having fun with Junk Drawer Robotics!
Astronomy in North Stockton
Hi, My name is Emily Stenzler. I am 15 years old and currently the President of North Stockton 4-H. This year, I started a new project called Astronomy.
A few years ago, I participated in a contest with the local Stockton Astronomical Society (SAS). I was nominated by a teacher for this contest. I attended various lectures organized by SAS and I also attended many star parties where I learned about the sky. I was selected from many applications and won my own telescope. From here, my passion of Astronomy grew and I decided to start a North Stockton STEM project on Astronomy.
For our first meeting, I invited SAS to come to the school and set up telescopes. After our general meeting, members got to go outside and learn about our night sky. Since this was early in the year, it was pretty cool since potential members also participated and love it (and joined our group).
In May, I will be setting up my telescope, along with other SAS members, and North Stockton 4-H members will get to share in my passion of the night sky!
STEM in Kern County
We have been having a blast with Junk Drawer Robotics and the Power of Wind. We did a couple of training exercises with John Borba at the Kern County 4-H extension office before he set us free with supplies to show other kids. Kids are given a limited number of supplies and challenged to build an object that will perform a task. The best part is watching the kids figure it out and seeing how excited they get when they understand the challenge.
Our favorite project so far is the “Can-Can” robot. We were given a plastic cup, tape, rubber bands, markers, a little motor, a battery, and an eraser. We were told to build a robot that was able to draw on paper using only these items. When we finally figured out what the eraser was for, the robot came to life! Our robot vibrated all over the paper, drawing gloriously!
Taking everything we have learned to our club meetings and teaching others has been so challenging and yet so rewarding. We love STEM!
Casey, Elyjah and Sencio Madera
Are you doing STEM projects in your club? Share them with us for the monthly STEM spotlight post. Submit your story and photos to email@example.com.
In honor of National Volunteer Week this week, we want to highlight two of our volunteers who have been recognized for their service to 4-H. Paulette Sauln from San Diego County has been named the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer and Curtis Ullerich from Santa Clara County has been named the Volunteer of the Year for the Western Region.
Salute to Excellence Awards
Each year, state 4‑H programs nominate two outstanding individual volunteers through the 4‑H Salute to Excellence Awards, which recognizes 4-H volunteers who demonstrate exemplary service to 4-H.
Each Cooperative Extension Region (Northeast, South, North Central, West) names its own Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer and Volunteer of the Year. The regional honorees become nominees for the national award, and one candidate in each category will be named the national Honoree later this month.
Paulette Sauln, 2017 Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award, Western Region
The Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award is given to an individual who has spent 10 or more years as a 4‑H volunteer. Paulette Sauln has been a 4-H volunteer in California for 29 years. During that time she has touched the lives of many 4-H members, leaders, alumni and future 4-Hers.
Curtis Ullerich, 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award, Western Region
The Volunteer of the Year Award is given to an individual who has volunteered for 4‑H less than 10 years. Curtis has been a volunteer in California for two years, coming from Iowa where he was a 4-H youth and collegiate member. In the short time he has been with California 4-H, he has become an integral adult volunteer of 4-H through club, county, state and national activities.
Learn more about our honorees!
Both Paulette and Curtis have so many accomplishments, we will be highlighting them in separate posts this week. We want to share all the ways they have contributed to 4-H, which won't fit in just one blog post! Please join us in congratulating these two outstanding individuals and showing them appreciation for all they do for 4-H in California./h2>/h3>/h3>/h2>
After 29 years of volunteering 4-H in California, Paulette Sauln is still going strong! She has held many roles in 4-H: Community Club Leader, Project Leader, offices on County, Sectional and State Councils – and is currently the Director for the Western Region Leaders' Forum 2018, which is being hosted in her home county of San Diego.
Mentoring new and existing leaders
Paulette is one of San Diego County's Master Trainers. She conducts New Leader Orientation for about half of the county's new volunteers, and is always available to assist them in their leadership roles.
Paulette encourages youth to challenge themselves. She is the primary force to facilitate youth participation at the annual Western Region Leaders' Forum (WRLF). Through her continuous efforts and dedication, she helped 10 youth raise the funds to attend the forum in Alaska in 2016; she acted as their chaperone and ensured their successful engagement in the conference. Many of these youth are now serving in leadership roles on the planning team for WRLF 2018.
Helping youth find their voice and put their dreams into practice
Paulette has co-presented many sessions with youth partners. In her Musical Theater sessions at the State Leadership Conference, she always had a youth choreographer and stage manager. Together they chose the musical number and presented the sessions.
When her club had a family of young lads from the Fern Street Circus who wanted to share their skills through a Clown Project, Paulette did not hesitate to reach out to Butterscotch the Clown, an Orange County 4-H Leader, to borrow her curriculum so she could serve as the adult leader for the project—while at the same time learning from these junior and teen leaders.
Promoting 4-H to inner city youth
Over the years, Paulette has organized many one-day Youth Expos to bring 4-H to the attention of inner-city youth and adults. She chaired a Youth Expo in Balboa Park in 1998 and 1999 and another in 2013 in Encinitas in celebration of California 4-H's 100th birthday.
Paulette is a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer. As a 4-H Military Program representative, she implemented a partnership with El Capitan FFA to have field trips to their farm for Military 4-H youth. For some of these young people it was the first time they had ever seen a cow, pig, goat sheep or chicken. They also got to experience a working greenhouse, plant crops and take home a vegetable seedling.
A role model
Paulette believes in treating people the way she would like to be treated and is well respected in the 4-H community as a leader to emulate. She still keeps in touch with former 4-H'ers who are not just from San Diego County, but also from around the nation. They look for opportunities to spend time with her and are available to her to provide clinics and trainings!
Through the years Paulette has positively impacted the lives of many 4-H'ers,
both leaders and members alike.
Salute to Excellence Awards
As a regional honoree, Paulette is also one of four nominees for the National 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award. The 4‑H Salute to Excellence Awards recognizes 4-H volunteers who demonstrate exemplary service to 4-H.
Local/County 4-H Roles:
- 1987 to 1988: Assistant Craft Leader, South Coast Clovers, San Juan Capistrano, CA
- 1992-1994: Cavy Project Leader, Avian Bowl Coach, Jamul Chaparros 4-H, Jamul CA
- 1995-2004: Community Club Leader, Lemon Valley Leprechauns 4-H Club, San Diego, CA
- Project leader: Pets and Small Animals, Leadership, Heritage Crafts, Avian Bowl, Clown, Public Speaking and Presentations.
- Vice President and President of San Diego County Council, and representative to the Sectional council. Was also County Representative to the 4-H National Conversation in 2002.
- 2005 to present: Middle Management Volunteer in the roles of County Trainer, Emerald Star Advisor, 2 terms as Council President, Lead Chaperone to the State Leaders' Forum, Small Animal Advisory Chairman/ Key Leader
State/ Regional Roles:
- 1995 to 2016: Conference Director for the Western Region Leaders' Forum 2018 to be held in California
- Various terms as South Section Representative to the State Council
- State Council Policy Secretary 2 years
- Record book judge for 4 years
- Member of County and state 4-H Futures Task Forces
- State Diversity Committee member and provide diversity training throughout Southern CA Section
- Presents Small Animal clinics and judges Small Animal Shows throughout the state
- Served as Medical support for State Leadership Conference for five years
- San Diego County Representative to South Section Council
- Volunteer of the year, San Diego County: 2003 and 2005
- Volunteer of Excellence, South Section: 2004 and 2007
Non-4-H Volunteer roles:
- Small Animal Chairman Eastern San Diego County Junior Fair 1993 to 2010
- Small Animal Advisor to San Diego and Orange County FFA program
Curtis has been a volunteer in California for two years, coming from Iowa where he was a 4-H youth and collegiate member. In the short time he has been with California 4-H, he has become an integral adult volunteer of 4-H through club, county, state and national activities.
Working at all levels of 4-H
Curtis works with youth at all levels of the organization. As a project leader, Curtis helps young people master citizen-science skills and video production. At the county level, he is the All Star/County Ambassador Advisor.
At the state level, Curtis is currently the Chair of the 4-H State Management Board, the volunteer management organization of California 4-H. During this first year of the State Management Board, he has transitioned from Vice-chair to Chair when the original Chair had to step down for personal reasons. His leadership of the board has moved it forward to define itself and establish open communications with the 4-H community.
In addition to his large role on the State Management Board, Curtis is a team leader on the Education Technology Advisory Committee, which supports statewide events with A/V needs, live streaming, photography and video.
At the national level, Curtis was selected to serve as the California 4-H delegation mentor for the National 4-H GIS/GPS Leadership Team.
Positive interactions with youth
One of the first things people learn about Curtis is his focus on helping young people to have positive experiences. His youth-adult partnership skills are exemplars for other volunteers. Curtis creates opportunities to have youth voices heard by creating safe openings for them to express their opinions. By posing questions that start with phrases such as, “I wonder if…”, he opens the door for other opinions and engagement. His approach with youth is to trust them to make good decisions and to help them reflect on what is important to them. His mentorship approach makes youth feel valued and engaged.
No matter what role Curtis is serving in, he consistently focuses on the youth experience and how to engage youth in the conversation. When there are youth at the table, Curtis is the first one to ask their opinion and draw out their involvement if needed.
Salute to Excellence Awards
As a regional honoree, Curtis is also one of four nominees for the National 4-H Volunteer of the Year Award. The 4‑H Salute to Excellence Awards recognizes 4-H volunteers who demonstrate exemplary service to 4-H.
Local 4-H Roles:
- Club enrollment coordinator (2 years)
- Project Leader for STEM and Video Production (2 years)
- All Star/County Ambassador Advisor (2 years) All Star/County Ambassadors is the highest working honor for youth at the county level
- Campfire Advisor for camp (1 year)
State/ Regional Roles:
- Chair, State 4-H Management Board (1 year)
- Program Assistant, State Leadership Conference (2 years)
- Team member, Fourleaf task force (1 year) Online Record Book 2.0
- Team Leader, Educational Technology Advisory Committee (2 years)
- Chaperone/presenter/facilitator/evaluator as needed at area and state level events (2 years)
- Mentor, California Delegation, National 4-H GIS/GPS Leadership Team (1 year)
- Golden Clover Award 2016 for Science. Golden Clovers are state level annual awards for youth and volunteers.
- Volunteer of the Year, Homesteader's 4-H Club 2016
Non-4-H Volunteer roles:
- Popcorn Button (community jazz band): founder and leader, see www.popcornbutton.org, 2010 – present
- Santa Clara Big Band: alto sax 2016
- Google Orchestra: trombone 2016
- Stanford Saxophone Choir: alto sax 2015 - present
- Google Mobile Orchestra (computer music ensemble) 2015 - present
- Stanford Wind Ensemble: alto and baritone sax 2015 - present
4-H Youth Involvement:
- Iowa 4-H Youth Council Member
- Delegate to National 4-H Congress
- Mentor, Iowa 4-H Youth Technology Team 2010 - 2013
- Major projects included horse, music, visual arts, and citizenship
- Collegiate 4-H ISU: president, publicity chair, programming chair, webmaster 8/2009 - 12/2013
4-H is launching an annual True Leaders in Service initiative in honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Month. True Leaders in Service, a month-long community service activation, officially kicked-off the first day of April, and will culminate with the National 4-H Day of Service on Saturday, April 29.
Thousands of 4-H'ers will venture out into their communities throughout the month of April to do what 4-H'ers do best: lead in service to tackle community challenges and help meet the needs of others.
The first National 4-H Day of Service on April 29 will take place in every county across the country. 4-H members, adult volunteers and friends will help improve their communities by adopting a service project. These projects can be done as individuals, as an entire county 4-H program, or anything in between. No matter the project, this is a day that will make a difference!
California 4-H has a history of True Leaders in Service
California 4-H'ers do outstanding projects in their communities. We have had the Million Trees Project, started by a 4-H'er from San Mateo County. Originally a club project, it grew to an international campaign because of the sheer magnitude of numbers!
Elliot from San Joaquin County got involved in several other service-oriented organizations and started up Beautify Stockton, where he organized monthly clean-ups in different areas of his hometown in order to make it look better and help residents feel more proud of where they live. Unsung Hero: Elliott Stenzler; RecordNet.com
Incorporating service projects into other activities
As noted in our recent blog post, Health Grows in 4-H, 4-H'er Christian incorporated service projects to provide lunches for the homeless and smile dolls for children with cleft palates into the Southern Area Healthy Living Summit. Our 4-H'ers are good at finding ways to support the community in different ways!
Even the holiday projects, such as delivering pajamas and presents to children in the hospital, are making a difference in the community.
What to do next
We encourage all 4-H clubs, members and volunteers to plan a service project in April and register it on the National 4-H website at 4-H.org/true-leaders-in-service. Your project will be added to the national map to show how 4-H is supporting communities all across the nation. Go to our True Leaders in Service resource page for resources for planning and promoting your event - and don't forget to share it on social media! Use #TrueLeaders in your posts and tag California 4-H so we can share it too./h2>/span>/h4>/h4>/h4>/h2>