By Stephen Dafoe
Spruce Grove – A Morinville woman’s volunteer contributions were recognized in Spruce Grove Monday afternoon. Jessica Verbeek was the recipient of the 2010 UFA 4-H Alumni Volunteer Service Award, a recognition that included a $2,000 gift certificate along with the framed award certificate.
Verbeek, a former member of the Riviere Qui Barre 4-H Multi club for 10 years, was recognized for her various volunteer and leadership efforts, including more than four years as a project leader with her 4-H club, being an active participant in the family Purebred Limousin business, teaching local youth how to ride horses, and volunteering with the Catholic Parish, Ag. Society and annual Bull-A-Rama.
“Without volunteers our program wouldn’t exist,” said 4-H Foundation of Alberta CEO Bruce Banks. “They’re an important part of delivering the program and developing our alumni like Jessica. Jessica and the other alumni are important because they become role models for our current 4-H members, and the members can see the advantage of the 4-H members”
Verbeek was nominated for the award by Gordon Fuhr, a leader with the Riviere Qui Barre club.
“I think she well deserves the nomination,” Fuhr said. “She’s been in 4-H for 10 years and she’s been in a lot of clubs and executive. She does a fantastic job.”
For Verbeek herself, the recognition came as a surprise.
“The leaders of my club actually applied for it,” she said. “I got a phone call and they said I won this award. That was pretty cool. It’s kind of nice that they recognize you for all your volunteer time you put into the program.”
Verbeek said the reason she participates in 4-H is that she believes in the program.
“I like how youth gets involved and you can see youth change in the leadership skills that they get,” she said. “You can just see the kids grow with the program. It gives so much to the kid. I know I enjoyed it.”
The award winner said she is planning to buy a new saddle with the $2,000 UFA gift certificate.
The UFA 4-H Alumni Service awards recognize up to five 4-H alumni between the ages of 20 and 35 who pursue post secondary education, return to their rural roots and enhance their communities as 4-H volunteers for at least two years.