Volunteers – the Heart of Chenango County 4-H

By Janet Pfromm

Cornell Cooperative Extension

CHENANGO COUNTY – Any organization knows that volunteers are the key to their success, the heart of the association – this is especially true for Chenango County 4-H. Our volunteers are full of professional and life experiences that they “donate” to the youth of Chenango County.

4-H volunteers are your family, your neighbors, and your colleagues. They are the parents, club leaders, or project leaders who spend evenings and weekends trucking kids around the county and state, volunteering to teach or coach at educational events or competitions, lending a hand at the county fair, opening their farms up to judging practices and, most importantly, they are the people who help 200-plus youth in Chenango County grow and develop into community members we can all be proud of.

I wish I could highlight all of our volunteers, their dedication is second to none, but that would take many more words. Chenango County volunteers are even being honored at the state level for their work. 2009 saw two such volunteers recognized with their own day at the Youth Building at the New York State Fair: Elizabeth “Ippie” Spencer and Rhonda Turrell.

Ippie Spencer of Norwich, her husband, and extended family are known throughout 4-H as the “Chapman Hall Crew.” They spend the week of County Fair running the 4-H dinning hall at the fairgrounds, ensuring that everyone who comes in has a good meal and a good laugh.

Fundraising is also one of Ippie’s specialties as she can be found at 4-H Lawn Sales. Although her granddaughter has aged out of 4-H, Ippie continues to support the program with her tireless work in the 4-H Leader’s Association, raising funds and ensuring that 4-H youth have the opportunity to participate in programs with the help of scholarships.

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