Kentucky 4-H is based on a “Positive Youth Development” approach that recognizes all youth have interests, abilities and strengths that can be enhanced by participating in 4-H programs. The “learn-by-doing” environment is accomplished through projects and activities. The Kentucky 4-H Achievement Program was created to reward ambitious and accomplished young people throughout the state.

The Kentucky 4-H Achievement Program utilizes these approaches to recognize 4-H youth who have outstanding accomplishments and provide incentives for youth that have increased their knowledge, skills and abilities. In this program, sponsored by the Kentucky 4-H Foundation, young people receive recognition and prizes for their accomplishments in 4-H and their community throughout their cumulative 4-H career. Therefore, 4-H’ers can start accumulating points as soon as they turn 4-H age and begin earning recognition by age 10.

Each Cooperative Extension Area can submit four applicants for the gold award. Of the possible 96 statewide applicants, up to 40 are selected for the Kentucky 4-H Gold Achievement Award. The competitive program consists of a 40% application score and a 60% panel interview portion.

After careful review from all the judges, Henry County has two recipients this year, they are Daniel Brown and Ella McManis.

Daniel has been in 4-H since he was nine years old. He is the son of Tina and Tom Brown of Bethlehem. He is a 4-H State Ambassador for the Natural Resource Academy and Environmental Sciences. Through that program he led a group to build the bird blind and bird feeders at the Henry County Park in New Castle. He also helped to design the informational boards on the birds that can be seen at the bird blind. He has attended state leadership programs, such as Leadership Boot Camp, State 4-H Teen Conference, Teen Summit, Capitol Experience, Kentucky Volunteer Leader Forum, served as a teen leader for 4-H Camp, President of the Teen Club, and a member of the horse club and natural resource club and many more over the years. Daniel has also led the way in decorating the extension tractors in the Christmas Parade in the past two years. He is one of those individuals that is always willing to lend a helping hand.

Ella has also been in 4-H since the age of 9, although she probably feels like it has been longer since she began attending meetings with her sister Camryn before she was 4-H age. She is the daughter of Mary and Kevin McManis. Ella is currently serving on the Kentucky State Teen Council. She has attended Leadership Boot Camp, Teen Conference and Teen Summit. She is a member of the 4-H Means Business Club in which club members develop their own business. Her business is gourmet doggie treats that look good enough for humans to eat. She is currently serving as president of this club. She has enjoyed being a teen leader at Clover Bud meetings. In the past she has been a member of many clubs such as cooking and art.

The process to get to the Gold Achievement Level is not an easy path. Participants keep a detailed resume of all their involvement in not only 4-H, but school and community activities as well. The interview process can also be challenging knowing that every person there has a stellar 4-H resume, or they would not have attained the interview level. One thing for sure that has helped these two reach this milestone in the 4-H program is that they both competed in the 4-H Communication program. Beginning public speaking at a young age has helped prepare them for future situations where they can appear to remain calm under pressure.

Both Daniel and Ella have received a free trip to the upcoming State Teen Conference and were awarded $900 toward the 4-H National Congress trip in Atlanta this fall. Congratulations! 4-H, Oh the places it can take you.