Chris Willow
  • Vernon County 4-H Alumni Association members.
    Vernon County 4-H Alumni Association members.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 16-22, the Missouri 4-H Foundation is proud to present the Vernon County 4-H Alumni Association with the 2023 Naomi Crouch 4-H Volunteer Leadership Award. The association is recognized for more than 11 years of service and support to 4-H.

“We are honored to recognize the Vernon County 4-H Alumni Association for their outstanding efforts on behalf of Vernon County 4-H and the community,” said Rachel Augustine, director of the Missouri 4-H Foundation.

Recipients of the Naomi Crouch 4-H Volunteer Leadership Award may select a 4-H club or county program to receive a $250 award in their honor. The Vernon County 4-H Alumni Association chose Vernon County 4-H.

Q: How did you first become involved with 4-H?

A: The Vernon County 4-H Alumni Association is a group of passionate past 4-H members and parents who love what 4-H did for them and their family. Many are also past and current leaders in the county. This group that organized in 2012 realized early on that much could be done to not only preserve the past but to enhance the present. Our volunteers have grown in number and their scope has widened to not only celebrating today but preserving the past for the future.

Q: Why do you think 4-H is important for young people?

A: 4-H is a key building block for young people to learn and grow their personal skill sets. It gives the opportunity to work with others and to become part of a team while still being an individual. The skills learned from 4-H will be with them for the rest of their lives. Once A 4-H’er, always a 4-H’er.

Q: What made you want to become 4-H volunteers?

A: To give back and continue this wonderful experience by assisting the youth of our community, now and in the future.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a 4-H volunteer?

A: Celebrating others. Our group recognizes many accomplishments each year at our reunion/celebration during the annual youth fair. We have honored leaders (current and past), clubs, 100 years of 4-H in Vernon County, Vernon County multigeneration families, Missouri 4-H Century Families, Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame recipients and many other groups and projects. The G.R.O.W. project rewards 4-H youth who enter exceptional non-livestock projects at the county youth fair with gift certificates to local businesses, which are funded by generous community donors.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to give back to 4-H?

A: Don’t hold back. There are many things that can be done that might seem like just a small contribution, but it can and will grow. Today is tomorrow’s history. Grab on and just go for the wonderful ride ahead. When you get 4-H’ers involved, the sky is the limit.


The Naomi Crouch 4-H Volunteer Leadership Award is presented annually to volunteers and organizations for devoting their time and talents to MU Extension’s 4-H youth development program. The award is named in honor of Naomi Crouch, a native of Plattsburg, Mo., who was a 4-H volunteer and Missouri 4-H Foundation trustee for more than 20 years.

About Missouri 4-H

Missouri 4-H is an active, dynamic organization of young people who are learning, growing, and preparing to be the leaders of today and tomorrow – making a real difference in their community, country, and world. 4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information, visit

About the Missouri 4-H Foundation

The Missouri 4-H Foundation is the independent philanthropic partner of the University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development. For more than 70 years, the foundation has secured and managed funds for Missouri 4-H, providing higher education scholarships, recognizing 4-H volunteers, and supporting the work of MU Extension 4-H. Learn more at

Vernon County 4-H Alumni Association members.