2023 Awards Ceremony
Morris County 4-H Awards Ceremony - November 4, 2023
Congratulations to our 4-H'ers, club leaders, board members, volunteers, and families on all you have achieved during the 2022-2023 4-H year!
All county level awards and higher were presented at our special Awards Ceremony on Saturday, November 4th at Morris County's Public Safety Training Academy. Many helpers prepared the big auditorium and entrance, and Teen Council members led us through the ceremony.
The event and all awards, trophies, and plaques were sponsored by the Morris County 4-H Association. A thank-you also to the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy for providing the space.
See the slide show or below for the details on the award recipients.
Make sure you check out the photo album too.
2023 Morris County 4-H Awards
National Leadership Award
The National Leadership Award was created by William Danforth in 1941 to recognize young people who have demonstrated qualities of constructive leadership. The award recipients should strive to achieve their highest potential and positively influence others through their service. For these reasons, this year’s National Leadership Award is awarded to Caleb Rodriguez.
Caleb is an active member of four clubs including Minecraft, Morris Marksmen, Shutterbugs, and Teen Council. Last year, Caleb served as President for both the Minecraft and Teen Council 4-H clubs. He collaborated with the club’s adult leaders to develop meeting agendas, discuss upcoming club events, and encourage member participation in 4-H activities. His leaders say Caleb always finds a way to encourage members’ participation while fostering respect for one another.
In addition to his work at the club level, Caleb stretched his leadership skills at several county 4-H events. He served as a speaker at 4-H Awards Ceremony and the Fair and served as Room Host at 4-H Public Presentations. When speaking in front of large audiences, Caleb appears calm and professional putting others at ease. The 4-H office and his club leaders know that Caleb is someone you can count on to represent 4-H in the best light to stakeholders, run an effective business meeting, and demonstrate positive leadership to others.
For these reasons, we are excited to announce Caleb Rodriguez as the 2023 National Leadership Award winner. Congratulations!
Youth in Action Award Finalist
The National 4-H Youth in Action Award is presented each year to four outstanding 4-H youth who apply their knowledge and leadership to make a positive impact in their communities. In addition to the four national winners, the stories of 12 finalists are highlighted. This year, Morris County 4-H member, Mahi Gupta, was selected as a finalist becoming the third youth representative from NJ and the second from Morris County.
Mahi’s path of community service and leadership began when she joined the Be the Change 4-H Club and Puppy Tails 4-H Seeing Eye Club. Later, she joined the 4-H’s States International program where she hosted a Japanese student and traveled to Japan. Following this experience, Mahi, along with her family, started the World Exploration 4-H Club. Her desire to empower youth and explore different cultures inspired her next project; English with Friends. This program provided virtual connections between Japanese and American students to foster friendships and enhance English speaking skills. More about Mahi and her 4-H story can be found on the Youth in Action website. Congratulations, Mahi for being named a national finalist!
President’s Volunteer Service Awards
The President’s Volunteer Service Awards honors individuals whose service positively impacts their communities. Bronze, Silver, and Gold level awards are achieved based on the recipient’s age and total number of hours served. Youth as young as 5 years old can earn this award and we encourage all our 4-H members to consider applying.
This year, Morris County 4-H recognized the following members as Gold level award recipients: Emma Acomb, Kevin Armstrong, Nina Bohensky, Myra Gupta, Willow Macagnano, Alexis Machinshok, Shane Noack, Chelli Senthil, and Sophia Stein.
Additionally, Morris Marksmen 4-H Club leader, Andy Hoeflin, was recognized as a Bronze Level award recipient. Andy has gone above and beyond in his support of the club serving as a 4-H Shooting Sports instructor at club practices. Andy’s gift of time and talent has ensured the club’s continued existence.
Clara Farst Volunteer Award
This memorial award honors Clara R. Farst, longtime Fair volunteer and club leader for 12 years. This award honors her memory by recognizing an individual who’s behind the scenes actions positively impacted the Morris County 4-H program. This year’s award recipient is Cindy Kerekes.
Cindy became involved with Morris County 4-H when her granddaughter, Ava, joined Buckanears. Later, she became a co-leader and now supports the Buckanears, Horsin’ Around, and Teen Council 4-H clubs. She was elected as a Board member for the 4-H Association and took an active role in the 4-H Promotion Committee.
Cindy’s love for the 4-H community is clear as she and her family attend nearly every 4-H event. She has volunteered countless weekends to represent 4-H at community outreach events. Whether rain or shine Cindy will be there fighting to set up the not so easy ups tent, greet the public with a smile, and share her family’s guinea pig “Mittens” with visitors.
Cindy has a great talent in connecting local businesses to the Morris County 4-H program. For several years, she has recruited Home Depot volunteers to provide hands-on building activities at the Fair. This past year, she went above and beyond in soliciting high value basket donations for the Tricky Tray including tickets to Legoland, Adventure Aquarium, Great Adventure, and many more. These items helped to attract a large audience eager to play and contributed to the wildly successful Tricky Tray experience.
Cindy does all this and more because of her love for the 4-H program and this community. We are grateful to Cindy for sharing so much of her time, talents, and resources. Thank you Cindy and congratulations on being named this year’s Clara Farst Award winner.
Friend of 4-H
High View Farms
The Friend of 4-H Award is given in recognition of an organization or individual that provides significant support to the Morris County 4-H program. Every year, High View Farms and the Oblen Family generously donate time and resources to support many 4-H clubs and the Fair. This year in particular, High View Farms went above and beyond by serving as host for the annual 4-H Fair.
In less than four months, the 4-H Fair was successfully redesigned, reshaped, and reimagined to fit the farm setting. The Oblen Family was instrumental in making this event possible. Through their personal network, they secured additional support from Mt Olive Township, farming neighbors, and community organizations to provide in-kind donations, expert services, and volunteer manpower. Family members co-chaired the wildly successful Tricky Tray, operated the hay rides and monster truck rides, led various games, contests, and activities for the public, oversaw the care and display of all the farm animals, and created numerous videos promoting the Fair on social media.
More then ever, this year the 4-H Fair was a family affair. The whole Oblen family pitched in to make this event a success including Samantha and Shane who kept busy hauling supplies, setting up displays, and directing volunteers.
This is only a small list of the many ways Rosanne, Shawn, Amy, Shane, and Samantha personally contributed to the success of the 2023 Morris County 4-H Fair. Thank you Oblen Family and High View Farms for your incredible support.
Caleb Rodriguez (2)
Mya McConoughey (4)
Samantha Oblen (2)
Eva Giannella (2)
Holt Englander (3)
Joshua Goicochea (2)
Sean McConoughey (3)
Personal Development Awards
Sean McConoughey (2)
National 4-H Events
NASA Student Launch - April 2023
National 4-H Shooting Sports Competition - June 2023
State 4-H Events
State 4-H Public Presentations - June
4-H Cupcake Wars - December
Best 4-H Secretary's Record Books
Best Secretary's Record Book
Best 4-H Record Books
Best in Show
Best in Show
(Seeing Eye Puppy)
Best 4-H Stories
Best in Show
Best in Show
Best in Show
Best in Show
4-H Books & Stories
Olivia Kellen + Jacob Kellen
Best in Show - Clubs:
Plants, Pollinators, & Poultry Club
Honorable Mention - Clubs
Best in Show - Member/Family:
Honorable Mention - Member/Family:
4-H Promotion Committee Award
4-H Promo Star: