Donna Dollins of Payne County Named National 4-H Volunteer of the YearFri, 07 Nov 2014 10:14:34 CST
A 4-H volunteer leader from Oklahoma does everything she can to help club members follow the 4-H motto "To Make the Best Better." Her dedication to the 4-H program was recognized recently when she was named the National 4-H Volunteer of the Year.
Donna Dollins, who has served as a 4-H volunteer leader in Payne County for 10 years, was honored during the 2014 National Association of Extension 4-H Agents meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Being involved in 4-H is nothing new for Dollins. She grew up in a 4-H family, was a member of the Hennessey 4-H Club for nine years and was active in the sheep, swine and sewing projects.
"I grew up in the 4-H program showing livestock and always enjoyed working with animals and making new friends. As an adult volunteer, I realized all the opportunities available to 4-H members and wished I had known more when I was younger," Dollins said. "I work to make members aware of the many opportunities available to them and encourage them to try something new or different. It always makes me smile when a member, who was hesitant to try something new, comes back and can't wait to tell me how much they learned, how many new friends they made or just that they had a great time. Watching them shine makes the time I've invested as a volunteer worth it."
Her volunteer career began a decade ago when she asked the leader of the Perkins 4-H Club if she needed help during one of the regular club meeting-and the rest is history.
Brenda Brantley, 4-H Extension educator in Payne County, said Dollins is a big asset for the 4-H program.
"Not only does she have a strong and active club in Perkins, but she also encourages all Payne County 4-H'ers to be the best they can be," Brantley said. "I've always said volunteers don't necessarily have the time but they have the heart. Donna's heart is unbelievable when it comes to 4-H kids and being the best volunteer and leader she can be. I'm very honored to have her as one of my 4-H volunteers and leaders in Payne County."
In addition to her tireless work with her local club, Dollins also has been active on the county and state 4-H volunteer boards. She has served as president of the Payne County 4-H Adult Leaders Council and the State 4-H Volunteer Board. She teaches workshops at State 4-H Roundup, is active with the county and state fairs, has served on the state record book review committee and served as a camp counselor. In addition, Dollins has served as leader and coordinator of the Jr. Master Gardener Summer Program.
This is not the first time Dollins has been recognized for her support and dedication to the 4-H program. In 2013, she was named the State 4-H Volunteer Leader of the Year, as well as the Northeast District 4-H Volunteer Leader of the Year. She also was recognized last year as the Southern Region 4-H Volunteer Leader of the Year.
Kevin Allen, state 4-H program leader, said he is proud to have Dollins as part of the Oklahoma 4-H family.
"From planning and coordinating events, to serving as positive role models and mentors for our youth, volunteers play an important role in the success of the Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program," Allen said. "Donna exemplifies what's best in our volunteers and we're extremely honored to have her involved with our program as she helps shape the lives of our 4-H members. For her to be recognized as the National 4-H Volunteer of the Year speaks highly of her passion and dedication to Oklahoma 4-H."
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