Few 4-H volunteers have left as big of an impact on the Wood County 4-H and Ohio 4-H shooting sports communities as Steve Arnold. For more than 30 years, he has devoted his time, experience, and support to the Ohio 4-H youth development program, and earlier this year, he was recognized by National 4-H Council as the 2023 North Central Region Volunteer of the Year.
“Countless 4-H alums and community members have referenced him repeatedly as one of their favorite leaders, but more often, they say Steve has touched their lives on a personal level. He just cares that much,” said Jenny Morlock, Wood County 4-H program assistant.
Arnold volunteers for one simple reason. “It’s my opportunity to give back,” he said. “A lot of us can sit around and complain about kids, or we can make a choice to do something. I choose to do something about it.”
“He is the first one to volunteer for any task,” said Liz Avers, 4-H Extension educator in Wood County. “You can always count on him to follow through with his commitments, and it will be done with 110% effort. The breadth of his 4-H volunteerism is the greatest example of his deep passion for 4-H and desire to serve to his fullest ability.”
Over the years, Arnold founded and advised two 4-H clubs, going above and beyond to ensure their success. He has received grants totaling more than $110,000 and has obtained state certifications in seven shooting sports disciplines, enabling diverse opportunities for all 4-H’ers. In 2022, Arnold also coached the Ohio 4-H Pistol Team to a fifth-place finish at the National 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships.
Outside of his commitments to Ohio 4-H shooting sports, Arnold has had an immeasurable impact on the Wood County 4-H program. Avers said, “Perhaps the greatest example of Steve’s lasting impact is the community he helped develop. His earliest 4-H’ers, who are now in their 40s, stand beside him as peers. His teaching, mentorship, encouragement, and positive influence created in them a desire to serve others.”
For more than 20 years, he was a member of the Wood County 4-H Committee and continues to serve as an adult staff member for Wood County 4-H Camp. He is a founding member and president of the Wood County Clover Legacy Foundation and sits on the Ohio 4-H Volunteer Conference Planning Committee. Earlier this year, his dedication to Ohio 4-H was celebrated at the state level when he was inducted into the Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame.
In addition to being recognized by National 4-H Council, Arnold was honored at the 2023 Ohio 4-H Achievement Awards banquet last week. “Steve is a shining example of who our 4-H volunteers are,” said state 4-H leader, Dr. Kirk Bloir. “He is an incredible source of support and guidance for our young 4-H’ers as they grow into the next generation of leaders. We could not be prouder to have him as an Ohio 4-H volunteer.”