2017 4-H Legacy Awards: Embodying the 4-H Grown Spirit

By _Amaya_Collins_ March 22, 2017

Another year, another astounding evening of impact and empowerment!

If we’ve learned anything from the 4-H Legacy Awards, it’s that our young people have a story to tell, a community to inspire, and a drive for success and service. The 2017 event was no different, as over 300 4-H alumni, youth, educators, and supporters came together to celebrate 4-H and all that the organization does for millions of kids nationwide.


Held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C., the eighth annual 4-H Legacy Awards honored four 4-H Youth in Action Award winners, three Distinguished 4-H Alumni Medallion recipients, and one strong brand ambassador. Additionally, we were honored to be joined by a group of elite 4-H grown alumni who have a passion for 4-H and prominent platforms to share that passion.

Celebrating True Leaders

At the core of every 4-H Legacy Awards celebration, it is important to recognize and pay tribute to those who we serve: 4-H’ers.

Kicking off the event was Louisiana 4‑H’er Samyra Miller, using her powerhouse vocals to belt out her rendition of the National Anthem.


Through service, mentoring and drive, the 4-H Youth in Action winners embody what it means to be True Leaders. The 2017 recipients are: Samuel Sugarman (Ag – sponsored by Bayer Crop Science); Amelia Day (Citizenship – sponsored by U.S. Cellular); Bryanne Sanchez (Healthy Living, sponsored by Molina Healthcare); and Ava Lonneman (STEM, sponsored by HughesNet). These young people have used the interests they have in their respective pillar areas to be powerful forces in their communities.

The event concluded with the announcement of the 2017 National 4-H Youth in Action Award winner, awarded to Citizenship recipient Amelia Day, whose work with “Operation: Veteran Smiles” shined.

Honoring 4-H Grown Alumni

This year, we were honored to have two proud alumni as hosts, both hailing from New York 4-H and having a passion for culinary arts. Chefs Anne Burrell and Lazarus Lynch led the evening, delighting attendees with their 4-H stories and their work today, sprinkling in a little humor for good measure. Neither alumni are strangers to the Legacy experience. Anne was awarded the Distinguished 4-H Alumni Medallion in 2015, which was presented to her by none other than Lazarus himself.


During the pre-Legacy festivities, National 4-H Council was honored to host the inaugural 4-H Luminaries, a group of influential CLOVER alumni who will serve as CLOVER ambassadors, supporters, and fundraisers for the 4-H mission. From doctors to politicians, entertainers to C-suite executives, over 50 4-H alumni with varied backgrounds have Raised their Hands and signed on to use their platforms to share the power of 4-H.

The Distinguished 4-H Alumni Medallion was awarded to three phenomenal alumni who credit the skills learned in 4-H for their success today. The recipients are: Aubrey Plaza, Emmy-nominated actress and producer, and Delaware 4-H alumna; Dr. Faustino Bernadett, co-founder of the Molina Foundational and California 4-H alumnus; and Kent Bazemore, shooting guard for the Atlanta Hawks and North Carolina 4-H alumnus.

While Kent was not able to attend the event due to an unexpected injury, Aubrey and Dr. Bernadett were in attendance, eager to share stories of their time in 4‑H and how the program made an impact on their lives then and now. This was a theme that was prevalent throughout the evening.

Thanking Strong Supporters

For the second year, 4-H acknowledged one agency that plays an instrumental role in amplifying the 4-H brand. Osborn Barr was the recipient of the 4-H Brand Champion Award, their rural spirit driving the marketing agency’s work in telling the 4-H story.

The night would not have been possible without the support of the sponsors and partners, all of which have continued to support the 4‑H mission to grow more True Leaders in more ways than one.

4‑H has imprinted on so many youth and adults. It is safe to say that all who were able to witness the remarkable examples of leadership and 4‑H pride during the event, and those who have experienced first-hand the long-lasting impact of 4‑H, are all 4‑H Grown.