The prestigious Key Award, one of the highest recognitions a 4-H member can receive, honors a select group of 4-H participants annually. The youth receiving this award are ones who have demonstrated consistent growth in their 4-H involvement, developed and applied their leadership skills, and actively participated in their club and community. Joseph Krahn, Aaron Olson, Caitlin Oelke, and Kaylee Mess have been selected as the Fond du Lac County Wisconsin 4-H Key Award winners for this year.
This year’s winners exemplify the goals and values of the Wisconsin 4-H Program.
Joseph is a 6-year member of the Campbellsport 4-H Club. Joseph has held many officer positions in the club. The American Spirit Experience and Citizenship Washington Focus trip experiences are his favorite 4-H highlights, but at the local level, he’s enjoyed co-teaching at Family Learning Day, serving at the club’s Ice Cream Social, and leading crafts/games with other club members at community events. During the fair, photography is his strongest project, but he has pursued others such as Youth Leadership, Intergenerational Programs, Woodworking, and others. He will be entering his senior year at Campbellsport High School. Activities he is involved with include running in Track/Cross Country, speaking in forensics, and competing on a Vex Robotics Team. Otherwise, he enjoys strumming the guitar at home or in church, photography, hiking & biking, and exploring new cities, theme parks, and the great outdoors!
Aaron took on the leadership role of club president his last year of 4-H. Throughout the year he promoted youth to investigate on going to camp, applying for trips, and getting more involved. He helped some new members with their record books at the end of the year. Aaron loves taking pictures! It is one of my hobbies. He mostly takes pictures of nature and animals and has learned a lot about cameras and how to take pictures. He learned messing with the settings to get the perfect picture is key! It is a great way to document what has happened over the past year and helps to show others where he has been. The community service projects he did in 4-H that stick to him the most are the ones on the New Horizon trips. The group gets to help other people and learn about their culture at the same time. He attends the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and continues to work at the Campbellsport Piggly Wiggly in the bakery/deli. He also volunteers with the Campbellsport Fire Department. He is a certified firefighter and recently received his EMT license. All these activities have taught him to work hard and to have patience. They also taught him to work with other people.
Caitlin was the Vice President for the Campbellsport 4-H club this year. She has learned a lot about planning from this position. She had to plan the icebreaker for every meeting. Last year, she was President for her club which taught her a lot about leadership. She had to make sure all the meetings ran smoothly. Caitlin helped at a lot of the clubs’ events like Symphony in the park, Ice cream Social, and stuffing Easter Baskets for the Campbellsport Easter hunt. All of these projects were community service events. You learn to work well as a team to get the job done and help out the community. This year she helped lead a project at Cloverbud Day. Caitlin got to pick the project and run it from start to finish. It was great to lead a project and to help out the younger kids, and it was really cool to see how the little kids’ projects turned out. She also helped lead a project on how to make an ornament from start to finish at the community’s Santa Day. Caitlin picked the project, organized and bought supplies, set up, and then taught the project. This was on a much larger scale then the Cloverbud day project was, so it was fun to get to do. Caitlin is on the Dance Team. She also volunteers at her church’s Fall Festival. Caitlin also works at a dairy farm helping milk cows.
Kaylee has held many club officer positions. As President, she read the county newsletter, organized and typed up the agenda, and ran the meetings. She also came up with fun icebreaker games to try to get everyone in the club involved in activities. Kaylee has led demonstrations and project shares at club meetings, too. She is a youth Cloverbud leader for her club, where she plans fun projects for the Cloverbuds to work on before and during our meetings and help them when needed. Younger members in the dairy and swine projects also receive help from Kaylee as she enjoys working with them. One of the community service projects that she participates in each year is helping the local VFW deliver fruit baskets to veterans in the Rosendale and Eldorado area. Her role in this project is to help divide up the baskets between the families in the club and deliver her own portion of the baskets. This project has taught her to appreciate all that the veterans have done for us and our country. She has helped with sorting food at the Fond du Lac and Brandon Food Pantries. Kaylee is involved in the Laconia FFA Chapter, the Fond du Lac Jr. Holstein Association, the Fond du Lac Dairy Committee, National Honor Society, Laconia Student Council, Laconia Band, and Laconia Trap Team. For the past three summers, Kaylee helped out her church by volunteering to teach at their Vacation Bible School. Kaylee helps at the Great Northern Cattle Sale Barn and milks cows and does chores on her family’s dairy farm.
Key Award recipients are high school students with at least three years of experience in 4-H and one year as a youth leader. The Wisconsin Farm Bureau and Rural Mutual Insurance Company sponsor the Wisconsin 4-H Key Award program. They have sponsored these awards for over 25 years, helping 4-H to honor some of Wisconsin’s finest youth.