2017 Regional Outstanding Lifetime Volunteers

Western Region

Paulette Sauln

Paulette Sauln has been a 4‑H volunteer in California for 29 years. During that time she has touched the lives of many 4‑H members, leaders, alumni and future 4‑Hers. Paulette takes a very hands on approach to leadership. She exemplifies the learn by doing tenants of the 4‑H program; she is not afraid to say she doesn’t know it all, but she will find out and get back to you.


Paulette has served as Community Club Leader, Project Leader, held Offices on County, Sectional and State Councils and is the current Volunteer Conference Director for the Western Regional Leaders Forum 2018. She is one of San Diego Counties Master Trainers and as such conducts New Leader Orientation for about half of our county’s new volunteers. She takes this position seriously and is always available to mentor new and existing leaders.


The thing that impresses me most is the number of former 4‑Hers, not just from San Diego County but around the United States, who keep in touch and are available to her to provide clinics and trainings. They obviously still love her and look for opportunities to spend time with her. There can be no doubt that through the years she has positively impacted the lives of so many 4‑Hers – both leaders and members alike.


Northeast Region

Joe Major

Joe Major started a small 4‑H rabbit club over 36 years ago and grew it into one of the largest clubs in the state, currently offering 6 animal science projects to over 80 enrolled members. Joe is a true innovator and was the first volunteer in Massachusetts 4‑H to set up a livestock leasing program in a very suburban area which served as the model for others in the state. Growing up on a farm in Maine he learned to love animals and agriculture and selflessly shares his time and talents to pass this onto others.


Joe is known for his wonderful sense of humor and positive attitude. He has made his volunteer role of Educational and Program Director of the Sunnyrock 4‑H Club his full time work. He is responsible for the health and well being of the sheep, poultry, rabbits, goats and miniature horses as well as the educational and fundraising activities of the group. Volunteers come and go but Joe has the ability to recruit and train parents and interested adults so there is always a great core group of volunteer 4‑H leaders to guide and mentor the young people involved. He teaches the importance of teamwork, cooperation and a strong work ethic and stresses the value of every child and their own skills.


After more than 30 years away from being a student, Joe went back to college and earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He is a lifelong learner and always searching for better ways to accomplish his goals and projects. He is the proud father of three sons, Michael, David and Kenny.


Southeast Region

Nilda Garcia

Nilda Garcia has served as a teacher in the Puerto Rico public education system for 25 years. In 1983 she enrolled as a 4‑H youth member. As an adult she got involved in 4‑H as mom with her daughter and son. Her sons are now 4‑H Alumni. They represented PR 4‑H movement in the National 4‑H Congress and National 4‑H Conference. Since 2006 she has been involved as 4‑H adult volunteer in Luquillo county. She has created innovating 4‑H projects with environmental emphasis and the protection of marine turtles. Since Luquillo is a coastal town Nilda developed most of her work with 4‑H youth teaching on the protection and importance of coastal environments. She has great commitment in lifelong learning for 4Hers and other youth. Nilda is an outstanding volunteer and educator who loves to empower the PR 4‑H youth.


North Central Region

Clint Andersen

Clint Andersen is full of 4‑H pride. Ever since he aged out of the 4‑H program, he has been volunteering. Every opportunity he has, he is promoting and trying to create new ways that can improve our 4‑H program. When both the Extension Educator and Assistant left over two years ago, he stepped up and offered to fill in until a replacement could be hired. During this time period he had to help youth complete Quality Assurance, organize summer workshops and coordinate the County Fair.


Clint has been a lifetime volunteer that has served in multiple different roles. He is a 4‑H Club leader; he even has helped sewing pajama bottoms workshop, was a 4‑H Council member and is currently on our building committee. As a club leader Clint would have members come out to his house and he would help them practice showing their animals. This year before fair he even hosted a fitting and showmanship clinic on goats. Long before the building committee started, Clint had talked to several area counties that had updated their livestock facilities. He wanted to learn what would be the best way to improve ours. Since the committee has started he has been bust trying to create a Sheridan Cunty 4‑H Foundation that would be around to help upkeep the building and in case any other issues with the 4‑H program should arise.


Clint currently serves as our Swine Superintendent. Every year he is their bright and early to help exhibitors check in the pigs and make sure that they are enjoying the fair. In this role he has involved some of the younger community members in the program. NO matter what aspect of 4‑H it is, Clint gives it his all when he is involved.


Southeast Region

Scott Lee

Scott has been a vital part of the success of not only the Vernon Parish 4‑H Program but also the Louisiana SET Board, the Sabine Parish SET Board, and the Central Region Leadership Board. His love of 4‑H, science, leadership, service and the youth that he works with is evident in all that he does to support, encourage and teach them.


Scott has also worked with teams of youth and adults as they plan for events always encouraging “youth voice”. Events such as camps, service projects, educational trips and tours, and Board meetings. He has worked with individuals as they have prepared to teach SET lessons for Operation Military Kid (OMK) and Louisiana Outdoor Science and Technology (LOST) camps, trained for the Poultry Judging for State 4‑H University or prepared speeches for State 4‑H Officer campaigns, including a State 4‑H President and Secretary. He has also encouraged numerous teens from across the Central Region to step up and often “out of their box” to apply for a position on the State 4‑H SET Board. Many of these teens were shy or lacked the confidence needed to interview but often had a talent for science, engineering or technology. He has personally helped with their applications and has practiced with interview questions to help them build that confidence needed.


At a time when recruitment and retention of male volunteers is a noticeable problem for Louisiana 4‑H, Scott serves as the male for multiple parishes at 4‑H Summer Camp, 4‑H University, Marsh Maneuvers, Central Region Leadership Board Retreat, and SET Board Retreat. Often, he is the only male staff or volunteer making the events even possible.


2017 Regional Volunteers of the Year

Western Region

Curtis Ullerich

Curtis has been a volunteer in California for two years, coming from Iowa where he was a 4‑H youth and collegiate member. In the short time he has been with California 4‑H, he has become an integral adult volunteer of 4‑H through club, county, state and national activities. To name a few, he is a project leader, club enrollment leader, and county all-star advisor. He serves on several statewide committees; most notably Curtis is the Vice Chair of the 4‑H State Management Board—the volunteer management organization of the California 4‑H. Curtis also serves on the National 4‑H GIS/GPS Leadership Team, California delegation mentor. For a complete list of his involvement see item E.


Curtis exemplifies volunteerism. He is thoughtful, thorough, inclusive, cheerful and kind. In the two years that Curtis has been involved with 4‑H in California, he has made significant impacts for youth, other volunteers and staff—he impresses people due to his dedication and follow-through all while being courteous and fun. Everyone wants to be on Curtis’ team!


One of the first things people learn about Curtis is his focus on helping young people to have positive experiences. His youth-adult partnership skills are exemplars for other volunteers.


Western Region

Mary Ellen Roberts

Excellence can be measured by tangible items. Awards received, recognition for service, and choice assignments completed are all tangible ways to determine excellence. When using those measures, Mary Ellen Roberts has definitely achieved excellence. She is an Arizona 4‑H Hall of Fame member and a Pima County Hall of Fame member (1 of only 24) She has received awards from a diverse group that includes Arizona Game and Fish, Trout Unlimited, Pima County 4‑H Leaders Council and Southwest Gas, all for her work in the Pima County and Arizona 4‑H programs. She has progressed from a project leader to a club leader to a variety of officer positions on the County Leaders Council to county-wide project coordinator to committee chair for 1997 Western Regional Leaders forum to co-chair for the 2007 Western Regional 4‑H Forum to a trustee for the Arizona 4‑H Youth Foundation.


A progression of responsibility like that happens only by showing excellent work at each level. She has been a leader for 37 years and over that time has had an impact on hundreds (if not thousands) of young people and adults. She has a hand in garnering and distributing over $100,000 in college scholarship funds. Simply looking at those tangible measures of excellence, Mary Ellen has shown that she is worthy of recognition. With Mary Ellen though, it’s not tangible items that stand out, it’s the intangibles, those things that can’t be measured on a chart or have a number assigned to them. She is a person who leads by example. She not only attended many trainings, including Western Regional Leaders Forums, she encouraged and figured out how to get other leaders to attend as well. When she said that “we don’t have to do things the way we always have”, she went out and started the Environmental Studies Project (ESP) that did not conform to convention because it was short duration, community service focused and really had nothing to do with an exhibit at the Fair.


She knows the 4‑H traditions, and figures out how to weave them into a new format that is relevant to youth today. She has had project members go on to become veterinarians, engineers, nurses, doctors and she revels in their success, not what she did to get them there. She has a willing attitude, willing to step in and do a job that needs doing, even if she is not the most qualified. When someone came to her with a problem, she’d say “let’s figure out a solution together” so that everyone felt included in the final outcome. She may not always be the best at something but she has a marvelous way of making those around her better, which leads to a better end. She is a role model that has earned this recognition.


Northeast Region

William Jacobs

William Jacobs (Bill) is in his ninth year as a 4‑H volunteer in New Haven County, CT. He works as a Vocational/Transition Coordinator for Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES), a regional public school that provides schools and programs for students with regular education, special education and talented and gifted needs. He is located at Whitney High East/ West and CREATE, a high school and post high school for students with special needs. The school has committed itself to the incorporation of 4‑H club work to give special needs students with all levels of abilities the opportunity to participate in 4‑H activities, integrate their school programs into 4‑H and learn new skills to better prepare them for the adult world.


Nine years ago this Cooperative Extension Educator was approached by the vice principal of ACES to collaborate and apply for a three year recreational grant with the Dept. of Education yearly to provide gardening, work force preparation and leadership skills to special needs youth aged 13-22. About $120,000 was awarded the first year, $100,000 the second and ending with $80,000 the third year. These funds provided transportation to classes, supplies for making gardens both on school property and in a neighborhood garden and field trips to the University at Storrs and Eastern States, along with learning work-force prep skills.


Bill was asked to be lead teacher in establishing the 4‑H program in all the classrooms. He took on this role with gusto, encouraging every classroom to select a project, meet as a 4‑H club weekly and participate in some of the county 4‑H activities. He was responsible for collecting registration forms, volunteer applications and assisting with training of the teachers. The group also went to Lyman Hall in Wallingford for weekly classes with their vo-ag teachers in both gardening and animal science. Bill was responsible for arranging these classes. 170 youth became registered as 4‑H members along with over 15 adult volunteer leaders. He also took on the role of chief collaborator and liaison between the school personnel, extension staff and area vo-ag schools, taking on leadership in writing the yearly re-submission of the grant. For the first 3 years.


Bill organizes the yearly 4‑H Fair which is held each May and designed to showcase the work of the students. After the first three years, the grant funding ended and it looked like the 4‑H program might end along with it. Bill was able to inspire the teachers and youth to continue, finding some funding to conduct 4‑H activities and keep both the 4‑H clubs and the 4‑H the fair going.


North Central Region

Leslie Starasta

Enthusiasm…Dedication…Compassion—if you were to look into the Logan County 4‑H “Dictionary”, you would definitely find Leslie Starasta’s name next to each of these characteristics! Leslie has been a volunteer for the past five years with Logan County 4‑H clubs and programming which as a direct result has contributed to the growth of the program in a number of different ways. She is an assistant leader with the Cloverdale community 4‑H club, a Special Interest Robotics Club Leader, YES! Jr. Leadership Team co-leader(2014&2015), a member of our Project Development Committees and Expansion & Review Committees, and a horse Bowl Coach!


You almost always find Leslie with a smile on her face! Her enthusiasm for 4‑H can almost be considered ‘palpable’! She has a welcoming personality and is always encouraging youth to get involved and give things a try. While she did not grow up within 4‑H herself or has any sort of 4‑H background, she has very much become a ‘champion’ of 4‑H and constantly promotes the value of the 4‑H program and its life skills development to other families that she comes across in her daily life.


Leslie is a great “networker” and is dedicated to always having her eyes &ears open for additional ways to give youth valuable experiences and is continually on the ‘lookout” for new opportunities to afford 4‑H members an even better 4‑H experience. She has been successful at recruiting adults to volunteer with our 4‑H program and recruiting youth to participate in new opportunities through the Logan County 4‑H program as well!


In addition, Leslie has a very compassionate attitude toward youth in our county. In fact, not long ago, she sent a message concerning a young club member who had lost her mother and this particular youth lives in a public housing area in Logan County. She wanted to find out if there was a way to more specifically target that area to give some of these under-served youth an opportunity to have great experiences through the Logan County 4‑H program. She also works well with most any type of youth, especially those who might be considered youth with “special needs.” Her heart is certainly always in the right place!