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Oswego County 4-H Volunteer Recognized As 2008 Leader Of The Year

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MEXICO, NY – For nearly 50 years, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County’s 4-H program annually recognizes one of its volunteers as Leader of the Year.

This year, Cindy Fresch of Oswego received that honor.

Cindy Fresch, who volunteers as co-leader of the 4-H Kalico Kats & Kittens Club, was recently recognized as the Leader of the Year at the annual 4-H Volunteer and Family Picnic. From left are: Mary Matteson, 4-H Program Educator; Jan Smith, 4-H Program Educator; Paul A. Forestiere II, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County Executive Director; Fresch; Linda Brosch, 4-H Team Coordinator; Debbie Holliday, 4-H Program Educator; and Kathy Porter, 4-H Administrative Assistant.

Cindy Fresch, who volunteers as co-leader of the 4-H Kalico Kats & Kittens Club, was recently recognized as the Leader of the Year at the annual 4-H Volunteer and Family Picnic. From left are: Mary Matteson, 4-H Program Educator; Jan Smith, 4-H Program Educator; Paul A. Forestiere II, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County Executive Director; Fresch; Linda Brosch, 4-H Team Coordinator; Debbie Holliday, 4-H Program Educator; and Kathy Porter, 4-H Administrative Assistant.

Fresch, who volunteers as co-leader of the Kalico Kats & Kittens Club, was recognized this past month during the annual 4-H Volunteer and Family Picnic.

“The picnic is a day that we gather to recognize all of our volunteers for the things they do for 4-H,” said Linda Brosch, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County 4-H Team Coordinator. “The Leader of the Year award is a special way to say ‘thank you’ to the volunteers who go above and beyond the average responsibilities of a club leader.”

Brosch explained that leaders are nominated for the award. Nominations are received through letters that are submitted by co-leaders, or the children who participate in 4-H.

The nominations are sent to the 4-H office and reviewed by a committee that votes on them to determine the winner.

Fresch was nominated for the award this year by co-leader Beth Smith and the entire Kalico Kats & Kittens 4-H Club.

“Giving volunteers recognition for the outstanding service they provide to our youth is a very important part the Oswego County 4-H Program,” said Paul A. Forestiere II, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperation Extension of Oswego County.  “We want to be sure that people know that we appreciate all that they do.”

“We also hope that others see the great accomplishments of our volunteers and consider joining us in our efforts. There is nothing more rewarding than volunteering your time and talents to assist in the development of our youth,” he continued.

Fresch first joined 4-H as a sewing project leader with the Oswego Community Christian School 4-Hers in 2001.

After Fresch’s two daughters, Tara and Alena, graduated from the OCCS group five years ago, she began to volunteer with the Kalico Kats & Kittens Club, which includes children from the Oswego and Scriba communities.

She officially became co-leader in 2003 and helped Smith to organize the group’s activities.

Brosch pointed out that Fresch’s skills as a seamstress and a quilter made her a natural fit to help the club with its sewing and textile projects.

As a tribute to the experience she has brought to the club, many of the Kalico Kats & Kittens sewing projects have won special recognition at both the Oswego County Fair and the New York State Fair.

“We nominate Mrs. Fresch as 4-H Leader of the Year, because we really think she is one of the best 4-H Leaders ever,” the club wrote in its nomination letter. “She opens her home to us for sewing meetings, and lets us work in her well-stocked sewing room. We know that we’ve used up and even broken some of her supplies while learning, but Mrs. Fresch still smiles and welcomes us.”

“Mrs. Fresch is awesome. She has given us so much time, love, skill, encouragement, gas in her car, money and supplies for projects, and more,” the club letter continued. “We will be better equipped adults because of what she has taught us, and the example she has been to us.”

Fresch said she was surprised and honored to receive the award.

She attributes much of her experience and knowledge of 4-H to the “4-H Club Call” newspaper that is sent to clubs and keeps leaders up to date on projects, deadlines and activities.

“When you come into this program, that is a really useful tool to have,” Fresch said.

“I like 4-H a lot,” she added. “I love how it encourages the girls in the club to excel in the areas that they are interested in.”

4-H is an informal educational program for youth ages 5-19 built on subject matter projects developed by Cornell Cooperative Extension and by the National 4-H Council.

Oswego County’s 4-H program is operated through Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County in Mexico and funded by a joint effort of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Cornell University’s New York State Land Grant College, N.Y.S. 4-H Foundation, and the Oswego County Legislature.

The New York State 4-H Foundation, Inc., is a private, not-for-profit organization, which for over 50 years has focused upon building and enhancing quality 4-H Youth Development programs for New York’s young people.

If you would to learn more about the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County, call (315) 963-7286, or visit http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/oswego

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