teen leaders

Outstanding 4-H Members, Jessica Scarlata and Aizlyn O’Connell, with Linda Tripp, 4-H I

Teens Selected as 4-H’s Outstanding Members

Jessica Scarlata, Aizlyn O’Connell, Caroline Lafferty and Hunter Gardner have been chosen to receive the 2019 Outstanding 4-H Member Award for the 4-H Club Program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Columbia and Greene Counties.

The Outstanding 4-H Member Award is given to 4-H members who are at least 16 years old and are selected on a basis of number of years in 4-H, quality and variety of project work, involvement in county and community service activities, as well as completion of project records. This award is sponsored by the Columbia County Agricultural Society and the Fortnightly Club of Catskill.

Jessica is the daughter of Kenneth and Amelia Scarlata. They live in Earlton. Jessica attends Hudson Valley Community College and has been a 4-H member for eleven years. She has been an active member in several 4-H clubs but as only one example of her tenacity, as one 4-H club folded she would join another and has spent the last five years in the Bananas 4-H Club.

One of Jessica’s greatest loves in 4-H is the clothing and textiles project area. She has participated in many local fashion revues and county fair fashion shows. Not only does she sew but she also loves to upcycle outfits! Animals are another love of Jessica’s. Through 4-H she has volunteered at a local humane society, baked treats and collected needed items for them. Jessica is an active and dedicated 4-H club member. She has held offices, helped to plan activities and participated fully in all the club does. A quote from her nominator says it all, “She has learned that she can make an impact on her world, and has set her career goals to make a positive one!”

Azlyn is the daughter of James and Megan O’Connell. They live in the Town of Catskill. Azlyn attends Catskill High School and has been a 4-H member for nine years. She is currently a member of the Flora and Fauna 4-H Club as well as the Teen Ambassador 4-H Club.

Throughout her 4-H involvement Aizlyn has been growing her leadership skills. From her first beginner demonstration to becoming a trained teen evaluator and helping younger members to grow their confidence in public speaking. She has participated in 4-H trips to Cornell as well as the New York State Fair. She exhibits both animals and non at the Greene County Youth Fair – helping younger members all along the way. Aizlyn is always the first to volunteer to help – with community service activities, with countywide leadership opportunities, searching out new ideas. She is definitely an example of what can happen when a little kid joins 4-H and keeps going, trying new things along the way. They come out as big kids like Aizlyn – full of confidence, setting goals and with a genuine caring spirit.

3.	Outstanding 4-H Member, Caroline Lafferty

Outstanding 4-H Member, Caroline Lafferty

Caroline is the daughter of Patrick and Lisa Lafferty. She lives in the Town of Stuyvesant. Caroline attended Maple Hill High School and is now in her first year at Cornell University. She has been a 4-H member for thirteen years. She started her 4-H career as a cloverbud and was a member of several 4-H clubs through the years with the Farm Friends 4-H Club being her last stop.

Although Caroline tried out a variety of project areas in her early 4-H years she did settle on animal projects as her favorites. She enjoyed working with many types of large farm animals – dairy cattle, dairy goats, sheep and swine – as well as showing them. Even her public presentations topics were animal related! As Caroline’s skills and abilities grew in her animal projects she became a junior leader, sought out by younger members for advice and guidance as they prepared to show. Caroline’s hard work and perseverance have led to her receiving a number of animal and agriculture related scholarships which has allowed her to continue to focus on animal science as she begins her college career at Cornell University as a pre-vet major.


Outstanding 4-H Member, Hunter Gardener, with Linda Tripp

Hunter is the son of James and Sandra Gardner. They live in the Town of Hillsdale. Hunter attends Taconic Hills High School and has been a 4-H member for seven years as a member of the Teen Ambassador 4-H Club.

Hunter’s most significant 4-H projects are dairy cattle and ornamental horticulture. Hunter is a goal-setter and has, throughout his tenure, worked to grow his leadership and public speaking skills. An example of this is his journey from basic public presentations to teen evaluator to presenting his personal research at the National FFA Convention last fall! His confidence in public speaking has grown to the point where he was able to emcee 4-H Achievement Night last year! Hunter has participated in several state 4-H trips and, again, exhibited his growth in leadership and public speaking skills by applying for and being accepted as a Focus Assistant and planning team member for the Cornell Career Explorations trip. Hunter’s involvement in the dairy cattle project has found him active in the dairy bowl program as well as exhibiting at the county fair. Finally, Hunter is very talented in floriculture and even created beautiful floral arrangements for 4-H’s 90th anniversary dinner last fall.

Jessica, Aizlyn, Caroline and Hunter are examples of how membership in a community 4-H club can lead to personal growth and development that prepares youth to be able to participate fully in their communities and careers. 

January 28, 2020

Last updated January 29, 2020