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Sarah Baltzell named 2015 Florida 4-H Leader of the Legacy winner

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Madison native, Sarah Baltzell, was selected as the 2015 Florida 4-H Leader of the Legacy. The Madison County Extension 4-H/Youth Development office is so proud of their 4-H-er! The 4-H Leaders of the Legacy award is an agent-nominated, youth committee-selected award that recognizes graduating Senior 4-H-ers who impact and represent the 4 H's of 4-H: Head, Heart, Hands and Health. This young lady has already produced her own legacy through various roles of leadership within 4-H, serving Madison County, District IV and three State Officer positions or appointments. She truly is an excellent role model to youth, her peers and adults. She is incredibly intelligent, dedicated, hard working, persistent, organized, amiable and demonstrates excellent time management and communication skills.

These traits along with her natural grace and gentleness with children, both young and adolescent, has served her well as she pursues her dream of advocating for and working with youth with special needs. Sarah has played a large role in each of the eight clubs in Madison County by volunteering to lead activities, serving as an officer, giving talks on all levels and types of programs Florida 4-H offers, mentoring youth at B.U.D.D.Y. (Building Understanding of Diversity through Dynamic Youth) Camp as well as both residential and day camps. B.U.D.D.Y. camp was designed to give youth with Autism and other developmental disabilities the chance to experience camp as neurotypical youth do, yet with modifications to meet their needs in order for them to have the most positive experience. Throughout her many years in 4-H, Sarah quickly worked her way to a high level of respect with both youth and adults because of her incredible positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile.

For the past two years, Sarah has shown great leadership in serving as the Chair of the 4-H University Committee. She has helped lead her peers in discussions on important, impactful changes to one of Florida 4-H’s most established programs. Not only did she help facilitate discussions of change, she acted on those discussions and led her peers to design the program they wanted to see take shape. Sarah has been heavily involved in several other state events from planning, to facilitating, to teaching, but 4-H University was a project she felt passionately led to represent the youth voice. These traits of willingness to lead, ability to respectfully represent her peers and contribute greatly to youth-adult partnerships has allowed Sarah Baltzell to shine brightly in the name of 4-H and her genuine compassion for others.

“I have had the privilege of knowing Sarah for over five years and she has been an invaluable asset to Madison County 4-H and her community,” said Becky Bennett, Extention Agent. “Her involvement with 4-H through County Council, District Council, State Council, A.S.K. Club (special needs specific) and the Madison County FCCLA program has allowed her to grow into a competent and driven young adult. Her actions and impacts on 4-H have been felt state-wide. This young lady's presence in Madison County 4-H as well as Florida 4-H will be greatly missed! I believe through her training and accomplishments with 4-H she will return to serve her community as an alumni and spread her love and passion of 4-H for many generations to come. Sarah Baltzell has begun a path of excellence that is rare in young adults her age and I know that she will continue to be a light of success!”

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