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Hard work pays off as 4-H members earn Key Award and scholarships.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

October 2, 2014

4 Min Read

As we get ready to celebrate National 4-H Week, Oct. 5-11, I could not think of a better kick off than to revel in a few accomplishments of Missouri youth. Last week, I watched as 14 youth, representing the cream of the 4-H crop, received the highest award a 4-H'er can earn--the Missouri 4-H Key Award.

For Jamielee Buenemann of Washington, the award represented the culmination of 10 years of work as a member of the Washington Eager Beavers 4-H Club in Franklin County.

"I have enjoyed 4-H over the years," says the 17-year-old Washington High School Senior. "I really wanted to start giving back."


The 4-H Key Award honors those members who found success not only in their projects, but also in leadership, community service and personal growth. Buenemann found a way to give back to fellow 4-H members by becoming a Junior Leader in gardening. She was active for years in the American Rose Society.

The American Rose Society was founded in 1892 and is the oldest single plant horticultural society in America. The society is an educational, nonprofit organization that offers members educational programs. There are more than 300 affiliated rose societies in the nation. The society teaches both members and future gardeners, like Buenemann, how to care for one of the most beloved flowers in the U.S.

"I learned how to grow miniature roses," she says. She would then use them in floral arrangements.

Buenemann also served as a 4-H Camp counselor for four years. "It was fun to help those 8-year-olds have the same experience at camp that I had when I was 8," she says. "It is one of my favorite activities."

"The 4-H Key Award helps young people reflect on their 4-H career," says Ina Linville, state 4-H program director. "All of these members have shown leadership in their clubs and communities."

For many 4-H members, that leadership comes because of a great mentor. Josie Plowman, also of Washington, spent years honing her craft under the watchful eye of 4-H volunteer Dorothy Stumpe. Unfortunately, Ms. Stumpe passed away in 2012. "Mrs. Stumpe taught me so much over the years," Plowman says. "She helped me with my quilting project."

One great aspect of 4-H is that each child can find his or her very unique interest. 4-H Key Award winners this year were active in shooting sports, livestock, quilting, sewing, and robotics.

"These award winners make up just 1% of our membership," Linville explains. "It is something many strive to earn, but out top 4-H'ers receive."

But the Missouri 4-H was not done with just 14 students. The Missouri 4-H Foundation also awarded members with scholarships for scholastic, 4-H and community service achievements.

Money well spent

The Missouri 4-H Foundation awarded $68,050 in scholarships at its annual banquet Friday, Sept. 26, in Columbia.

A total of 63 4-H members from across the state received these prestigious scholarships, many named in honor of former members, family members and 4-H supporters.

I had the pleasure to dine that evening with two scholarship award winners. Anna Marie Tihen won the 4-H Day with the St. Louis Cardinals Scholarship and Adam Harris, received the Robert& Anna Noland 4-h Scholarship.

Over the course of dinner, I learned that Tihen was an accomplished pianist. A homeschooler from Franklin County, she was attending East Central Community College. She continued taking piano lessons that ranged from classical to jazz.

Harris was a livestock show kid from New Franklin. He shows cattle at the county fair, as well as, the Missouri State Fair. He is a freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The Missouri 4-H Foundation mission is to enhance and expand 4-H in the state. Helping 4-H members achieve their college dreams is just one aspect of the Foundation. The generosity of donors makes scholarships possible. If you would like to help make a 4-H'ers dream of higher education a reality contact the Foundation at

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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