Pony Express Recognizing Success

By Sandra Zunino

Queen Anne’s County Pony Express 4H members and their families gathered at the 4H Park in Centreville for the Pony Express annual awards banquet.

The awards banquet recognizes members for their achievements throughout the year and officially turns offices over to the newly elected leadership. Months of planning go into to the celebratory evening so that members receive correct acknowledgements. Parent volunteers Sue and Bob Hodges have organized the event for three years. The Hodges, as well as other volunteers who donated time and energy to the club were presented certificates of appreciation.

In order for members to receive awards, they must be in good standing and have attended at least half the monthly meetings. Most awards are presented in the form of pins or patches that are affixed to a green Pony Express 4H sash. When worn, the sash becomes an emblem of that member’s accomplishments. New members receive their sash after participating in the club for one year. Dakota Albers, John Crook, Emma Golden, Brittany Heim, Hannah Irons, McKenna Judge, Melissa Judge, Merysa Kirk, Stacey Moore, Dreama O’Donnell and Sarah Zanetich all received new sashes on Saturday.

The title of Outstand Member goes to members who attend at least 75 percent of the meetings, complete a record book, participate in public speaking, perform community service and ride on drill team or in sanctioned parades. Members Erin Beck, Jen Gannon, Mary Golden, Jessica Hill, Natalie North, Jennifer Huffman, Bailey Kirk, Maddy McCaslin, Annie Seward, Monica Simpson, Caitlin Hodges, Tanya Satterfield, Jiselle Zunino and Amber Cruz received the distinction. Amber holds the title for the most years, having achieved the award for ten years. Jiselle, at nine years, holds the next longest title run.

Pony Express 4H elections took place in November. Candidates are nominated by members and voted on after a brief speech. Officers for 2010 are Emma Golden as Chaplain, Morgan Kearney as Reporter, Molly McCaslin as Sergeant of Arms, Mary Golden as Historian, Jessica Hill as Treasurer, Bailey Kirk as Secretary, Jiselle Zunino as Vice President and Caitlin Hodges as President. This is Caitlin’s first term as president. She held the office of Historian for the past two years. “I’m very grateful to have been elected president,” says Caitlin. “I love being a part of Pony Express 4-H Club and hope that as president I’ll be able to be to do even more for the club.”

Caitlin says she and other senior members would like to focus on mentoring and educating younger members as well as encouraging a higher level of club participation.

Caitlin was also recognized for the annual Spirit Award. This award is presented to a member who exemplifies the spirit of 4H through dedication, active participation in club events and a willingness to help other members. Through personal observations, a panel of volunteers decides who receives the award.

4H members must be 8 years of age by the first of the year and graduate from the club after turning 18. Underage members John Crook, Emma Golden, Daniel Irons and Merysa Kirk, called “Clovers” were acknowledge for their participation in club activities.

Graduating seniors, Kelly Ward  a member for 13 years and Megan Covington, 11 years, were invited to address the club and say a few words about their experiences; however, both girls were unable to attend due to college commitments.

In addition to acknowledging member achievement, new members for 2009 were officially announced including Kayla Blann, Mattie Connor, John Crook, Brittany Heim, Emily Hogan, Daniel Irons, Hannah Irons, Dreama O’Donnell, Savannah Scott and Sarah Zanetich.

Pony Express 4H is governed by the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension. The University of Maryland is equal opportunity and its programs and activities are in conformance with Federal and State laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, color, religion, age, national origin, gender and disabilities. For more information, call 410-758-0166.