By CHARLES TWEED
The UFA 4-H Alumni Service Awards committee rolled through Ponoka handing out a major award to one of our own.
Shayna Pugh was recognized as one of five outstanding volunteers throughout the province. The award identifies 4-H alumni who are between the age of 20 and 35, have pursued post-secondary education, returned to their rural roots and enhance their community as a 4-H volunteer for at least two years.
Pugh has been a member of the Silver Valley 4-H Riders for 10 years and was surprised by the award.
“I was shocked. I’m now in my fourth year as an instructor, 4-H has given me endless opportunities and I just wanted to give back to the kids and I received such a positive 4-H experience that I wanted to pass that along,” said Pugh. “It is quite an honor to receive it considering there is only a handful throughout the province who are picked for it.”
After completing high school in Ponoka she pursued education at NAIT in Edmonton and graduated with a diploma in the optical science eyeglasses program. Since then she has returned home to work in the optometric field at Ross Wilson Heimdahl. Pugh believes 4-H taught her many valuable lessons that helped her get to where she is today.
“It taught me about public speaking and the ability to approach people and be able to talk to strangers. It’s also given me the opportunity to meet people from all over the province and the country,” said Pugh. “I think it’s good for the kids to see that it’s something, if you continue on with 4-H, that it can excel and can provide you some benefit further on in life.”
“Shayna is young and full of energy with a positive attitude and forward thinking. The youth of our club look to her for leadership and fun, both of which she shows at all times,” said one 4-H alumni member.
Pugh teaches beginner levels 1 through 3 in the Silver Valley 4-H Riders. She teaches the basics about riding a horse and also coaches the junior drill team. The team trains once a month in the winter and ups their schedule to once a week in the spring leading up to their end of the year big show in Red Deer.
“I really enjoy working with the kids and I enjoy seeing the progress they make, knowing that I’m helping them become more confident riders.”
“We deeply value the UFA 4-H Alumni Volunteer Service Award because promoting, celebrating and investing in Alberta’s rural community is one of our top priorities. The award allows UFA to showcase the importance of volunteers; and 4-H volunteers are the backbone of Alberta’s rural communities,” said Bob Nelson, UFA president and CEO.