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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Ohio 4-H Conference Volunteer Award Winners

Innovator Honoree, John Smith

Each year dedicated volunteers and alumni are recognized for their service to Ohio 4-H.  Although formal recognition has been postponed, we will feature all the winners in the Ohio 4-H Highlights over the next few months.

This month we recognize the recipients of the Innovator and Meritorious Service awards.

The Ohio 4-H Innovator Award recognizes adult and/or youth volunteers who have developed new programs, county projects or activities. It is sponsored by Lois Moody Puskarich.

John Smith

John Smith assisting a 4-H member with their robotics project.In 2018, John Smith helped establish the Awesome Robotics 4-H Club in Washington County, as a SPIN (SPecial INnterest) club to encourage participation in 4-H STEM projects. In the club’s first year, there were six members, four who were new to 4-H. Club membership has grown to nearly 15 members in 2019. Robotics project members learn to design, build and program their own general-purpose LEGO Mindstoms EV3 robots. Members can attend Awesome Robotics club meetings and maintain membership in their traditional 4-H club. Club members completed projects, created a fair booth display and practiced their public speaking skills at the county fair by offering impromptu robotics demonstrations to fairgoers. 

The Meritorious Service Award recognizes adult 4-H volunteers for long-term meritorious service or a significant singular contribution to county or state 4-H programs. It is sponsored by Elizabeth Thomas and the Bea Cleveland Human Ecology Endowment. This award

Ann Marrison Ann Marrison with her family at the Ashtabula County Fair.

Ann has been a mainstay in the Ashtabula County 4-H program for 53 years. Her first 4-H group was a county-wide club for teenagers interested in making and tailoring coats and jackets. Throughout the years, her club expanded to include a wide range of youth from across the county, interested in sewing, cooking and quilting projects. She served as a counselor for the Ohio 4-H Club Congress, attended the North Central Regional Leader Forums and served on the State Extension Advisory Committee. She is currently in her twenty-fifth year as chairman of the Ashtabula County Extension Advisory Committee. Since 2012, Ann has been a tireless planning committee member and instructor for the Agricultural Awareness Day in the county. Ann’s positive impact and support of 4-H has been shared and passed on Ann Marrisonto her 4-H members. Many of her former 4-H members now serve in leadership capacities across the county and state.