Curtis Ullerich, 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Western Region

Apr 26, 2017

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)

County Roles:

  • 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)

National Role:

  • Mentor, California Delegation, National 4-H GIS/GPS Leadership Team (1 year)

4-H Honors:

  • 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, 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