Kent County and Delaware 4-H is proud to recognize Karen Crouse of Kent County, DE, for her commitment to 4-H and to her community. Crouse was named the 2011 North East Regional 4‑H Salute to Excellence Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer for her exceptional contributions as a 4-H volunteer and leader in the North East Regional 4-H program.
Although never a 4-H member herself, Karen jumped right in as project leader (in the mid-1980’s) and then co-organizational leader of the Harrington Sunshine 4-H Club from 1993 until the present. The club started as 8 members, quickly grew to 60 members, and spiked to over 125 members by year three. Karen’s primary responsibilities, in additional to the general club duties, were to oversee community service projects and serve as the sewing project leader.
Karen instills the importance of community service in her 4-H members and has been extremely involved with the annual “Make A Difference Day Projects” that her club has done, including making and delivering over 4,000 Care Packets to the local hospital and military base during the past twelve years. Karen also promotes leadership opportunities to youth in 4-H, encouraging members to get involved and participate in the many different 4-H events and opportunities that are available to them. She is self-taught in sewing and has served as the sewing project leader for her club for over ten years, working with 7-10 young seamstresses annually.
Karen’s leadership does not stop at the club level, but extends to volunteerism at the county and state level as well. On the county level, she has been an active member of the County Leader’s Association, serving on numerous committees during the past 20 years, and has worked with many county and state 4-H events, often behind the scenes as a judge or organizer. Of particular note is her volunteer work with the Clarks Corner After-School Program and the Dover Air Force Base Military 4-H Club.
Karen has assisted with the Northeast Regional Volunteer Leader Forum both times that Delaware served as host, in 1998 and 2010. Her work has included presenting workshops and organizing. She has been a workshop presenter at several Delaware State Leader Forums. Karen has worked in the Delaware State Fair 4-H building for many years and has served as a chaperone for National 4-H Conference, National 4-H Congress, and the National Youth NERVF event at Cornell University. She has also worked with the Delaware Engaging Youth, Serving Community Program for five years, assisting with their annual forums and action events. Karen was inducted into Kent County 4-H Links and has been an active participant.
In nominating Karen, Ernesto Lopez, Volunteer Specialist with the University of Delaware Extension Service, says, “Karen’s involvement with 4-H is extraordinary. Her dedication to 4-H is a result of her own interests and the value she places on developing kids into productive citizens. As 4-H educators, we know that we can call on Karen for any task, big or small and she is willing to help.”
Gene and Sharon Swackhamer established the National 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer Recognition Fund to emphasize the important work of 4-H volunteers across America. The awards, made possible through the Fund and Monsanto Company, the premier corporate sponsor, recognize 4-H volunteers who demonstrate exemplary service to 4-H while promoting service through volunteerism as both an opportunity and a privilege. Volunteers are awarded in two categories: Lifetime Volunteer, for more than 10 years of service to 4-H; and Volunteer of the Year, for less than 10 years of service. For more information about the Salute to Excellence Program, contact JoAnne Leatherman at National 4-H Council at 301-961-2870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. For additional information, please visit www.monsanto.com.
Article submitted by Michele Walfred
Photo by Lloydlee Heite