- Author: Elizabeth Sugarman
We are having a great time in D.C. celebrating Margaret “Sissy"Sugarman from Olivenhain Valley 4-H, earning the Congressional Award Gold Medal. Congressman Mike Levin presented her with the Gold Medal in a medal ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.
The Congressional Award
The Congressional award is the highest honor Congress can bestow upon a civilian recognizing achievement, initiative and service in America's youth, ages 14-23. The Award provides a unique opportunity for young people to set and achieve personally challenging goals that build character and foster community service, personal development, and citizenship. To earn a Congressional Award, participants set and achieve individual goals in four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.
Recognizing that children in her community are disconnected from animals, agriculture, and nature, Margaret “Sissy” Sugarman organized and led tours and classes at her farm and at local schools promoting agriculture, beekeeping, and connection with animals. Her pollinator education program, “The Honeybee Road Show,” earned national recognition from the American Agri-Women Foundation. Sissy also served at a Veteran's camp in Alaska, Camp Battle Dawgs, which uses sled dogs and other outdoor activities to help veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries reintegrate back into every day life. Currently, Sissy is connecting people to animals and agriculture by hosting veteran groups, disabled adults and youth groups for free Goat Yoga classes at her family farm in Olivenhain.
Sissy was furthered recognized as a "STEM Star"
Senator Ron Wyden presented Sugarman with the added distinction of being a S.T.E.M. Star for her Honey Bee Road Show initiative. Ray Kerins from Bayer, a national 4-H partner, presented her with her STEM Star achievement pin.
The Honey Bee Road Show is a program Sissy developed after growing up learning about bees in 4-H. Sissy had cared for her bees on her family farm and found them to be a source of endless fascination. She has hosted hundreds of groups of children on tours to her family farm and was always surprised to encounter children who were afraid of bees or had no appreciation for bees. Sissy created the Honey Bee Road Show as a way to teach schoolchildren about bees and their vital role in our world. Bees are our #1 pollinator and they need our help!
Sissy took her program to elementary schools and did many presentations at the Encinitas Farm Lab, which is an ecology center run by our local school district. Sissy taught the children all about the inner workings of the beehive and invited children from the audience to join in her presentation in a starring role by acting out the different roles of the honey bees.
“Children are so eager to make a connection with animals. Being a part of that joy and discovery is absolutely magical.” ~Sissy Sugarman
The model of leadership, service, and giving back to the community that Sissy learned from her selfless 4-H leaders was the inspiration for her program.
Sissy's 4-H skills came in handy. Of course, she learned so much about bees in her beekeeping project, but her years in the sewing project came in handy as she crafted and sewed costumes for the children to wear in their bee hive skit. And all those years of presentations and demonstrations paid off, as her public speaking skills were vital to holding the attention of 60 2nd graders at each presentation!
Sissy plans to continue her program locally and hopefully take what she has learned to Africa in the near future. She hopes to intern in a program called Elephants and Bees which would combine her experience with pollinator education with her passion for elephant conservation. You can learn more about that at http://elephantsandbees.com/
Sissy's community service work and links to news articles highlighting her work can be found at: http://www.sugarsweetfarm.com/community-service.html
- Author: Suzanne Morikawa
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>
- Author: Suzanne Morikawa
- Author & Photographer: Christian Redman
4-H'ers throughout California are practicing and supporting healthy lifestyles in their communities. The Sparks Surveys taken by California 4-H youth show that more than 87% of 4-H'ers are learning about nutrition and making healthy choices. They are sharing their knowledge with their communities by organizing health fairs, hosting Color Me Green 5K Runs and doing service projects to support people in their communities.
Southern Area Healthy Living Summit
The Healthy Living Summit in the Southern Area was chaired by 4-H'er Christian Redman. This is the second year of the Summit, and Christian involved several 4-H clubs to support the event with interactive booths and activities.
Christian shares highlights of the Summit
The CA Southern Area had a very successful “Healthy Living Summit” with 50 plus participants.
4-H'ers danced, ran, sewed, did yoga, listened and snacked all afternoon.
Service to Others
We served others by making 100 lunch bags for the homeless and 25 smile dolls for children who have cleft lip and cleft palate.
Color Me Green 1K Run
The DSOC Super Kids 4-H Club enthusiastically participated and stole the show.