More than 100 people gathered at the Millennium Hall in Stratton on Friday evening to recognize the work local 4-H members, their leaders, and volunteers have accomplished over the past year.
“The nice thing about the awards banquet is it brings all the clubs together, and their families and friends, for one evening where they showcase what they've done for the year,” said Angela Haw, Rainy River District 4-H awards co-ordinator.
This year's banquet saw seven new members in attendance, with a total of 11 youths having joined the district 4-H this past year.
4-H members participated in various clubs throughout the year, such as the Country Kids 4-H Club, West Enders 4-H Club, Stratton's Batter Up Club, Emo Beef Club, Devlin Beef Club, and United Beef Club.
The top beef books for this year's junior category went to Carenna Haw and Kennah LeBlanc. For the senior beef books, first place went to Kailey Croswell, followed by Aynsley Williams in second.
Croswell also received $150 for winning the highest-grading market steer carcass award, which was presented by Tony Flatt on behalf of the Rainy River District Feeder Finance Co-Op.
The Ontario Plowmen's Association Award was presented to Katie Hay, who received $100 and a certificate, for her work in the field of agriculture.
Alanna Gerula was awarded $200, along with the Rainy River District 4-H Leader's Association & The TD/Canada Trust Leadership Award, for writing the best essay regarding what 4-H means to her.
Malena Flatt received $200 and a plaque for winning the Rainy River Hereford Association 4-H Carcass Award. She won the award for having the highest-grading market steer with Hereford influence.
The Degagne Award, along with $250, was presented to Andrea Schram for accumulating the greatest number of points within the beef club over the past three years.
There were many recipients of this year's breed awards.
Ryan Bodnar, Joshua Gerley, Erika Gerula, Kennah LeBlanc, Jaycee Mose, Gregory Peters, Andrea Schram, Brett Schram, Cale Wilson, Trent Wilson, Jaden Woolsey, and Jaquin Woolsey all received a breed award from the Ontario Angus Association.
Breed Awards from the Ontario Charolais Association went to Taylor Croswell, Alanna Gerula, Christina Gerula, Missy Hammond, Carenna Haw, Hayden Haw, Hannah LeDrew, Joshua Peters, and Serena Teeple.
The Ontario Beef Farmers of Ontario Crossbred Animal Breed Award went to Timothy Boersma and Morgan Haw.
The Ontario Hereford Association Breed Award was received by Madison Bliss, Aaron Bujold, Connor Bujold, Avery Cates, Jared Flatt, Malena Flatt, Raelle Redford, and Aynsley Williams.
Breed awards from the Ontario Junior Limousin Association went to Ayden Gushulak-Kelly, Logan McFayden, and Logan Teeple.
Lastly, the Ontario Simmental Association Breed Award went to Ashley Croswell, Brandon Croswell, Kailey Croswell, Katie Hay, and Bradley Teeple.
Winners of the 4-H Youth Leader Award included Alanna Gerula, Avery Cates, Morgan Desserre, Morgan Haw, and Aynsley Williams.
The first-year volunteer award was presented to Terri Anne Lundgren, who received a letter and pin.
Leadership certificates recognizing 4-H volunteers were presented to Nadine Gerula, Angela Haw, Mary Ann Haw, and Tami Leblanc for each of their five years of service.
The 10-year volunteer certificate went to George Chojko-Bolec.
4-H members involved in projects throughout the year were awarded with pins to recognize their work.
Project awards were presented to Ryan Bodnar, Kailey Croswell, Taylor Croswell, Malena Flatt, Carenna Haw, Kennah LeBlanc, Logan Teeple, and Serena Teeple for their six projects.
Morgan Desserre and Aynsley Williams were presented with hoodies for accomplishing a total of 18 projects in 2017.
A cheque for $500 was presented by June Caul and Cynthia Donald of the Fort Frances Kiwanis Club to the Rainy River District 4-H Association.
Caul noted the Kiwanis have donated to 4-H every year since 1924.
“It is such an important club for kids to belong to,” she said.
Haw thanked all the volunteers and leaders who are involved with 4-H.
“Our volunteers and leaders provide 4-H [members] with the opportunity to enjoy meaningful, positive experiences that build confidence, positive self-identity, self-esteem, and a sense of achievement while developing valuable leadership and life skills,” she noted.
“These members will someday be positive role models and volunteers themselves, which, in turn, gives back to our communities,” Haw added.