Participating in 4-H has always been a part of Rosie Scanlon’s life.
The Adams County resident did the traditional 4-H projects like cooking and sewing as a child, and later got involved with her daughters’ 4-H endeavors — including rabbit judging.
After her girls graduated from high school, Scanlon took a short break from 4-H before becoming a 4-H leader.
Now, after 21 years of dedicated work as a leader in the program, Scanlon has been named the Adams County Outstanding 4-H Leader of the Year.
“It was an amazing surprise,” she said. “There are so many leaders out there who work hard, so this is a very elite honor for me.”
Scanlon was nominated by someone in the 4-H community, and then she was interviewed by a judge, before she was chosen as 4-H Leader of the Year.
Nominees are judged on years of service, activity level, leadership skills, accomplishments in 4-H and efforts taken above and beyond normal commitment.
Melanie Snodell, who works in the Adams County Extension office, said Scanlon is a great choice because she has dedicated so many years to 4-H.
“She’s an amazing lady,” Snowdell said.
Scanlon is a leader for rabbit judging due to her daughters’ participation in the program years ago. She says after the girls left home, the rabbits stayed, and now the animals are big part of her life.
Not only does she teach youngsters how to thoroughly judge a rabbit, she also personally shows rabbits at shows throughout the state. She has four different types of rabbits she shows: American Sables, French Lops, Cinnamons and Himalayans. Scanlon’s 4H students also show rabbits, along with their rabbit judging program.
“Taking care of rabbits and showing rabbits is just as time consuming and important for children as it is for the kids who raise and show the larger livestock like swine and steers,” she said. “The kids with rabbits have a year-long commitment to take care of the animals, feed them and keep their cages clean. It takes a lot of dedication.”
Teaching and spending time with youngsters is what kept Scanlon in 4-H for so long. The opportunity to see the light bulb go off in a child is something Scanlon says she truly enjoys.
She believes 4-H allows children to learn life skills, and teaches them responsibility and good sportsmanship.
“It’s all about having fun and doing your best, and that’s what 4-H teaches the kids,” she said.
“If you want a way to broaden a child’s horizon, there’s nothing better than 4-H to start the process.”