Every 4‑H’er has a story, and every story is worth telling!  National 4‑H Council’s 4‑H Youth in Action Awards Program is a premier opportunity for youth to share their stories of how 4‑H has changed their lives and how they have, in turn, impacted others.  These awards highlight youth in each of our core areas of Agriculture, Citizenship, Healthy Living and STEM.

2019 4‑H Youth in Action Awards

The 4‑H Youth in Action Program recognizes four confident young leaders in our core pillar areas of Agriculture, Citizenship, Healthy Living and STEM, giving Pillar Winners the chance to share how 4‑H changed their lives and how they have used the skills they gained in 4‑H to change the lives of others.

Each Pillar Winner will experience an exciting year of telling their 4‑H story and celebrating their leadership and will receive:

  • $5,000 scholarship for higher education
  • Customized promotional video showcasing their 4‑H impact story
  • All-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for National 4‑H Council’s Legacy Awards
  • Networking opportunities with 4‑H celebrities and other prominent alumni
  • Recognition as the official 4‑H youth spokesperson for their pillar

One Pillar Winner will be selected as the 4‑H Youth in Action National Award Winner and will receive an additional scholarship for higher education.

Application guidelines are available for view online now! Check back to submit your application August 1 – October 22, 2018!

2018 Winners

National Youth in Action Award and STEM Pillar

Cassandra Ivie

West Jordan, Utah

For Cassandra Ivie, being a part of 4‑H meant developing her passion for STEM while learning the value of unity amongst diversity.  Through 4‑H, she gained the confidence and experiences she needed to become a STEM leader; skills that she is putting...

Agriculture Pillar

Serena Woodard

Eufaula, Oklahoma

When Serena Woodard joined 4‑H and began to actively contribute to her community, she never would have guessed that one day she would need her community’s support as well.  Through her 4‑H journey, Serena developed the leadership skills she needed to start an...

Citizenship Pillar

Kyra-Lee Harry

Brooklyn, New York

At just five years old, Kyra-Lee Harry’s passion for helping others was sparked when she received the unexpected and scary news that her mom’s lungs had collapsed on both sides. Though she didn’t fully understand the situation at the time, she knew...

Healthy Living Pillar

Sophia Rodriguez

Hinesville, Georgia

Sophia Rodriguez knew that she wanted to help military youth like herself.  The mentorship and support she received from her family, educators, and 4‑H leaders helped her cope with the emotional toll of growing up in a military-connected family.  However, she knew many...

We are excited to recognize eight honorable mentions for the 2018 4‑H Youth in Action Awards! These outstanding finalists are making a difference in their communities through Agriculture, Citizenship, Healthy Living and STEM. We will announce the 2018 4‑H Youth in Action Pillar Award Winners on January 17, 2018.


Grace Baxter

Dripping Springs, Texas

Combining her love for agriculture with her desire to impact others, Grace Baxter co-founded the program “Center of the Plate” – a non-profit organization that provides meat protein to families in need in her community. By encouraging 4‑H’ers and others who raise...

Astoria Ho

Mountain View, California

After reading an article in a local newspaper, Astoria Ho learned about Alta Vista Alternative High School’s sustainable farming garden. She took notice of a goat in the background of the photo in the newspaper, and wondered what public high school in...


Jairus Iwasaki

Hilo, Hawaii

Jairus Iwasaki is passionate about the opportunities available in 4‑H to explore various interests with the support & encouragement of the 4‑H community. Through 4‑H, Jairus learned about gardening, science, cooking and more, but what he was really interested in was marketing. In...

Huy Nguyen

Provo, Utah

After Huy Nguyen immigrated to the United States from Vietnam, he had a difficult time making friends. He was unfamiliar with popular television shows and books, so he struggled connecting with his peers. After attending the 4‑H Teen Leadership Training, he had the...

Healthy Living

Madeline Cumbey

West Chicago, Illinois

Starting as the Health and Nutrition Officer of her 4‑H club, Madeline Cumbey wanted to help others achieve healthier lifestyles. As she gained leadership skills through 4‑H, she used her ideas to create SMART2bfit, a non-profit organization seeking to provide fresh food...

Molly Hunt

Greenville, Ohio

From the time that she was in elementary school, Molly Hunt struggled with being comfortable in her own skin. She took to heart the words of bullies and her lack of self-confidence led her to use food as a coping mechanism. Through 4‑H,...


Alexandra Forsythe

Huntington, Indiana

There’s no question to Alexandra Forsythe that 4‑H is a powerful force. She discovered that despite her learning disability, she could master complex concepts using the hands-on, interactive teaching methods found in 4‑H to advance her technology skills and develop a passion for...

Arianna Smith

Howe, Indiana

Though she had known about 4‑H for many years, Arianna Smith didn’t join 4‑H until her freshman year of high school when she realized that through the club she could explore her interests in STEM. She had recently completed treatment for lymphoma, and...

2018 Award Recipients

Cassandra Ivie

National Youth in Action Award and STEM Pillar

Serena Woodard

Agriculture Pillar


Kyra-Lee Harry

Citizenship Pillar

Sophia Rodriguez

Healthy Living Pillar

2017 Award Recipients

Amelia Day

National Youth in Action Award and Citizenship Pillar

Samuel Sugarman

Agriculture Pillar


Bryanne Sanchez

Healthy Living Pillar

Ava Lonneman

STEM Pillar


National and Citizenship Pillar Winner

Amelia Day

When Amelia Day escorted her father to an appointment at a veteran’s hospital in 2012, she didn’t know that the visit would spark an idea for a 4‑H service project that would reach far beyond her hometown. A 4‑H’er since elementary school, Amelia knew first-hand...

Agriculture Pillar Winner

Samuel Sugarman

Growing up on a farm, Samuel Sugarman realized in his teen years that youth in his San Diego suburb didn’t experience many opportunities to be outdoors. These youth were glued to cell phones, computers and television screens much of the time and had little to...

Healthy Living Pillar Winner

Bryanne Sanchez

Bryanne Sanchez became an advocate for healthy living in her community as her 4‑H club’s first Healthy Living Officer. Using this platform, Bryanne sought to bring initiatives promoting a healthy lifestyle to her Club and community. As her 4‑H club’s Healthy Living officer, she launched...

STEM Pillar Winner

Ava Lonneman

Ava Lonneman, a 17-year-old 4‑H’er through Ohio State University Cooperative Extension, doesn’t let gender stereotypes get in her way when it comes to pursuing her dreams. Though told in elementary school that STEM “isn’t for girls”, Ava relentlessly pursued STEM herself and sought to bring...


National and Healthy Living Pillar Winner

Ruwanthi "Ru" Ekanayake

Ruwanthi “Ru” Ekanayake launched the first-ever 4‑H Healthy Living blog, allowing 4‑H’ers to share their stories, build bridges and create national discussions about health. She also organized a successful Healthy Living Summit across nine counties in California through the University of California Cooperative Extension, which...

Agriculture and Animal Sciences Pillar Winner

Jacob Shuman

Jacob Shuman became an advocate for bees through Ohio State University Cooperative Extension after finding out that Ross County was one of the unhealthiest counties in Ohio. In response to these findings he developed Teens Educating Adults and Children about Honey Bees (TEACH B) program....

Citizenship Pillar Winner

Alexandria “Lexie” Lerblance

Alexandria “Lexie” Lerblance is the co-founder of the Teresa Lane Compton (TLC) Memorial Wig Closet. The appointment-only closet is named after her grandmother, a hairstylist who recently died of cancer. The wig closet provides free high-quality wigs, head coverings, bras and prosthesis to cancer patients...

STEM Pillar Winner

Thaddeus Hughes

Through talks, demonstrations, workshops and interviews, Thaddeus Hughes has engaged more than 6,000 youth in the wonders of science. He has been a mentor for FIRST Lego League and the Illinois State Robotics Competition for four years. As a mentor, Thad has been responsible for...

2010 - 2015

2015 Youth in Action Award Winner

Nosa Akol

National 4‑H Council is pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Youth In Action Award is Nosa Akol. Nosa is a 17 year old senior at Binghamton High School in New York. Her 4‑H experience began when she joined CITIZEN U 4‑H her freshman...

2014 Youth in Action Award Winner

Andres Parra

Andres Parra is a remarkable Arizona 4 H’er who credits 4 H for putting him on a path to success, and empowering him to have a similarly positive impact on his peers and community.

Growing up as part of a Mexican immigrant family, Parra experienced...

2013 Youth In Action Award Winner

Elisabeth D. Willis

Elisabeth D. Willis is a junior in high school student, born and raised in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma. She has been an Oklahoma 4 H’er since the age of five. In 2009, she applied and was selected to serve as a Oklahoma State 4 H Ambassador...

2012 Youth In Action Award Winner

Nate Seese

Nate Seese is an active 15-year-old who found a way to make a difference in his East Lansing, Michigan, community through 4 H.

When he joined the organization five years ago, he was able to combine his passion for raising livestock and his commitment to...

2011 Youth In Action Award Winner

Morgan Billingslea-Walker

The 2011 4‑H Youth in Action Award was given to Morgan Billingslea-Walker. While overcoming personal health issues, Morgan led the effort to make health and nutrition programs available to those in her neighborhood. She has offered them the opportunity for a better, healthier lifestyle.

2010 Youth In Action Award Winner

Samantha Jo Ridley

The 2010 4‑H Youth in Action Award was given to 4‑H’er Samantha Jo Riddley, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, and the first to attend college. Through 4‑H, she has helped her community in many ways, and has used her...