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2009-2010 Merced 4-H all-stars announced

POSTED June 27, 2009 6:29 p.m.
Each county in California supports the All-Star Ambassador program. The All-Star program was originally created specifically for high-school aged members to stay involved in the program. However, All-Stars have developed into something much more. This program is now able to provide younger members with older 4-H role models and continued interest in the 4-H program, as well as providing the All-Star youth involved a way to develop leadership, communication and life skills. This position is the highest honor at a county level and is a working honor where youth have completed certain requirements to achieve the title “All-Star.”
These selected youth have shown exceptional leadership, communication, planning and citizenship skills within their clubs and communities. As an ambassador, All Stars visit other 4-H clubs; reach out to other organizations within the community; and attend and participate in the 4-H State Leadership Conference, 4-H County meetings, State or Sectional 4-H meetings and events, and other activities as outlined by each individual county.  
In Merced county, All-Stars have specific duties such as planning and presenting the county Achievement Day, attending club meetings to install newly elected officers and planning a 30 minute session to present at the regional teen conference, L-CORT. To become an All-Star in Merced County, All-Star candidates must plan a county wide 4-H event, and complete all the necessary paperwork involved with that event. Then, candidates are invited to a dinner-interview meeting where a panel of past All-Stars, All-Star advisors and management team members, interview each candidate and select the All-Stars for the coming year. The 2009-2010 Merced county All-Star Ambassadors are:

Elizabeth Brown
Elizabeth Brown of the Lancers 4-H club has spent the last eight years involved in sewing as well as holding various offices in her club. She is also a member of the My Thirsty California water awareness project. The annual Fashion Revue was Elizabeth’s All-Star project. The day consists of interviews for each member and then a fashion show where members present their outfits they have made. Elizabeth added fun activities such as a cooking contest, as well as having various arts and crafts projects for members to participate in. Elizabeth planned a successful, fun-filled day where members came together to show off their projects.

Caitlyn Souza
Caitlyn Souza, a member of Westside 4-H, has been involved with rabbits and leadership for the past seven years. Caitlyn is also one of the founding members of the My Thirsty California water awareness project. Her All-Star project was the 2008 County Leadership Retreat held at Camp Pacfica in Madera. Caitlyn planned this retreat with many teambuilding and leadership activities as well as personalized sessions for each office to help prepare attendees for the upcoming 4-H year. Caitlyn was able to start a tradition by planning the first countywide officer retreat.

Spencer Downey
Spencer Downey has been active in Ballico-Cressey 4-H for the past nine years. Her main projects are poultry and leadership. Spencer created a new event, Mechanical Skills Day. Spencer went beyond the county level by making Mechanical Skills Day a regional event, which means that members from other counties were invited to attend. This was held at Castle Air Force Science Center. Spencer organized presentations and activities for various projects such as robotics, woodworking, and welding. This event was also a promotion for the 4-H SET initiative, Science Engineering and Technology. Spencer’s event was a huge success and provided a new and exciting aspect of 4-H for members.

Kristen Hunsuck
Kristen Hunsuck, also from Ballico-Cressey 4-H, has stayed active in community pride and leadership throughout high school. Kristen took on Communications Day for her All-Star project. This event is where members from Merced county can come and give a presentation or demonstration on just about anything. Subjects for Communications Day range from presentations about their projects to impromptu speaking to group presentations called “Share the Fun.” Kristen’s Communication Day was a huge success, and because of it 40 members were able to go on to the regional level and 28 to state level.

Jamie Xiong
Jamie Xiong comes from Weaver 4-H, where she has been involved with community service and leadership for seven years. For her All-Star project, Jamie has been working on SET promotion. SET stands for Science, Engineering and Technology and is the newest 4-H initiative. Jamie has been promoting 4-H SET by attending trainings put on by California 4-H staff. Jamie has been promoting 4-H SET not just within clubs, but also within afterschool programs as well by making posters and attending their meetings to help gain interest in 4-H SET.
Merced County’s All-Star program dates back to 1949 where the first two All-Stars in Merced County were Bob Hurlbut and Jane Prows. The members who have challenged themselves and other 4-H members have been able to uphold the tradition these two started almost 60 years ago. The 2008-2009 All-Stars Laurel Hanson, Rachel Wilson and Der Vue will hand over the torch to these five outstanding young ladies to complete their All-Star duties for the 2009-2010 4-H year. These new All-Stars will be attending State Leadership Conference at UC Merced in August.

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