4-H is a family tradition for many, and that tradition continues to grow for the York family. Samantha York and her mother Jennifer share a special bond that reflects that legacy. At the annual Ohio 4-H Achievement Awards in June, Samantha, a 4-H member from Franklin County, received the award for gardening and horticulture, the same award her mother earned 30 years ago.
Jennifer was not the first in her family to join 4-H or the first to pursue gardening projects. Her mother, Ann Brickner, was a member of Richland County 4-H in the 1950s and ’60s and focused on the strawberry projects offered at that time. Jennifer’s parents always had a large vegetable garden, and still do today in their 70s. Gardening projects were a natural fit for Jennifer. “It’s something that’s in my blood,” she said. “My parents still have pictures of me as baby, sitting in my playpen in their garden!”
Jennifer continues the family tradition, although her garden is much smaller. “We live in the suburbs, so I try to maximize the available land through succession planting,” she said. “This provides our family with a constant supply of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the season.”
While Jennifer followed in her mother’s footsteps and pursued fruit and vegetable gardening projects during her time in 4-H, Samantha’s interest has always been in flowers. When she was 9, she began hybridizing day lilies and has been doing projects on this topic ever since. She plans to continue focusing on gardening and horticulture projects over the next couple of years and knows that gardening will still be a big part of her life after she graduates from high school. “Without my family’s involvement, I would not have known about 4-H, but I’m glad that they joined, because it’s given me a lifelong hobby.” Her mom also appreciates her interest. “It’s nice to see my daughter follow in my footsteps but still have the ability to put her own twist on it.”
These shared experiences have provided a perfect opportunity for mother and daughter to spend time together. “I didn’t even know my mom had won the same award until a few months ago, but it’s been really cool to have this experience with her! It’s great to have our hard work acknowledged,” said Samantha.
Every year Ohio 4-H Youth Development honors a select group of the state’s most outstanding members at the annual Achievement Awards ceremony. Each winner completed an extensive application listing their accomplishments in 4-H project work, 4-H participation, major 4-H honors, 4-H community service and citizenship, 4-H leadership, and non-4-H experiences in their school, church and community. Along with being recognized at the Ohio 4-H Foundation’s ceremony, Samantha and our 28 other Achievement Award winners will have the opportunity to attend the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta later this year. There, they will get to meet 4-H members from across the country and participate in once-in-a-lifetime leadership, citizenship, and community service experiences. A full list of this year’s Achievement Award winners can be found here: https://ohio4h.org/foundation/foundation-events/2022-achievement-awards.
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