4-H honours its best

About 100 people were on hand Friday night in Stratton to honour the accomplishments of the 73 district 4–H members over the past year.
This year, the prestigious DeGagne Award—presented since 1960—went to Jay Neilson of Stratton, who accumulated the most points during the last three years in Beef Club work.
He received a trophy and $100 prize.
Meanwhile, the Rainy River District 4–H Leaders’ Association and Toronto Dominion/Canada Trust Award for best essay on “What 4–H means to me” went to Aaron Kuorikoski of Stratton.
He received a plaque and $100 cash.
The Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association’s Show Award went to Riley Caul, Hannah Firth, and Matthew Beacham, who all received gift certificates towards show halters.
Special awards for completed projects were as follows:
•Six projects—Dan Caul, Jodi Caul, Rebecca Cornell, and Paula Sletmoen;
•12 projects—Jeff Hyatt, Joey Sletmoen, Jeff Teeple, and Sheila Teeple; and
•24 projects—Selene LeBlanc and Linda Zimmerman.
They each received a limited edition print.
Certificates for leaders volunteering for five years were presented to Margie Gemmell, Murray Gemmell, Becky Steele, and Lorretta LeBlanc. First-time leaders Denise Donaldson, Ken Fisher, Simone LeBlanc, and Jason Teeple were presented with pins.
First-year 4-H members receiving certificates included Matthew Anderson, Michelle Bonot, Riley Caul, Garnet Cornell, David Donaldson, Hannah Firth, Theo Heyens, Kelsey Jolicouer, Sarah McTavish, Peter Sopotiuck, Matthew Beacham, Jennifer Carmody, Sarah Caul, Shannon Darby, Jessica Engels, Mitchell Gallinger, Janice Hoskins, Alisha Langlais, Brianna Shortree, and Ashe Woolsey.
Second-year members recognized with certificates were Jennifer Badiuk, Chantelle Bragg, Cory Forbes, Hailey Heyens, Teila Michl, Anthony Boersema, Ashley Cross, Chantel Heyens, Cameron Jolicouer, Ashley Sharp, and Matt Smith.
The volunteers who made 4–H a success in 2001 also were recognized during Friday night’s banquet, including Shirley Morrish, Carol Angus, Louise Bliss, Marie Sinninghe, Helen Cates, Elaine Aveyard, Ellen Chojko-Bolec, Joanne Neilson, Wilma Sletmoen, Wilma Esselink, Lorretta LeBlanc, and Murray Gemmell.
Also honoured were Tracy Hyatt, Lori McKay, Sue Boersma, Tony Bliss, Mark LaFleur, Denise Donaldson, Jason Teeple, Eleanor Wiersema, Alwine Teeple, Sharon Johnson, Susan Irvine, Vicki Calder Debbie Zimmerman, Kim Jo Bliss, Ellen Caul, Kathy Mecure, Peggy Dorrie, and Margie Gemmell.
Becky Steele, Pam Advent, Rick Boersma, Cindy Nielson, Wanda Heyens, Pat Clysdale-Cornell, Ken Fisher, and Simone LeBlanc rounded out the volunteers.
Youth leaders honoured were Stacey Angus, Jeff Hyatt, Aaron Kuorikoski, Laura Zimmerman, and Linda Zimmerman.
Deb Zimmerman also was honoured for serving as president for four years.
The new president is Wilma Sletmoen, who thanked all who helped make the past year a success—but giving special recognition for the efforts of Kim Jo Bliss.
Helping with the funding needed to keep 4–H going was the Kiwanis Club of Fort Frances. Shirley Dolph was on hand to present Sletmoen with a $500 donation.
Guest speaker for the evening was Simone LeBlanc who also was honoured for remaining in 4–H from the time she was 10 until age 21—the maximum stay for anyone in 4–H.
She spoke about how 4–H had benefitted her life, noting she had been to many provincial functions that taught her a great deal. She also participated in an international youth trade conference in New York and was selected to represent Ontario.
“4–H presented me with many opportunites—opportunities that helped me choose many paths in life so far,” LeBlanc said.
She encouraged the 4–H’ers present to “Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Don’t be afraid to be yourself or to go alone.”