Eight Teton County 4-H members were “shipwrecked” recently at Montana 4-H Congress July 9-12 and “leadership” came to the rescue. The eight members and their chaperone, MSU Extension Agent Jane Wolery, were among 300 others who were, according to the themed event, “shipwrecked on a deserted island when our 4-H cruise liner went down. Our only way off the island was to make new friends, learn new skills and become leaders together before charting a course home.” Each year, 4-H members gather together on the MSU Bozeman campus to compete and learn together.
The eight delegates from Teton County included Daniel Asselstine, who was attending his last 4-H Congress as a member. Asselstine, a Teton County 4-H Ambassador, attended “Pre-Congress Weekend” where he assisted with preparation and final details. Asselstine did not compete in any events this year, but served on the tech crew managing stage lighting, sound, projection screens and computers for the event. Asselstine was the only returning delegate from Teton County. The other seven were new attendees at Congress.
Because of a recent change at the state level, 4-H members age 13 by Oct. 1 of the current 4-H year can now attend. Teton County delegates can attend their first year to observe and subsequent years must be actively engaged in a contest or serving, as Asselstine did, on a work crew.
Four Teton County 4-H members — Myles Allen, Taylor Asselstine, Golden Holmquist and Presley Holmquist — all attended as non-competitors. They each served as contest assistants on Wednesday morning of Congress. All delegates completed a service project for veterans.
Competing for the first time this year were Justin Forseth, Madeline Konen and Jersey Somerfeld. They represented Teton County very well. Forseth competed in the video contest featuring a video he produced about a year in the life of a farmer/rancher on the Rocky Mountain Front. The video, which was originally a 50th birthday gift for his dad, used a wide variety of techniques and equipment, including drones and time-lapse videos. It featured haying, fencing, working cows, branding and more. The audio was enhanced by the voice of Justin’s grandfather, Orville Forseth. Justin Forseth placed second overall for his work.
Madeline Konen, no stranger to the sewing machine or the stage, represented Teton County very well in the Fashion Revue contest. Her blue wool dress was judged on-the-model before a panel of experts. Konen, who was very poised, modeled under spotlights on stage in front of a crowd of more than 300 people. She received a blue rating.
Jersey Somerfeld competed in the quilt contest with a patriotic-themed Irish chain quilt she made for her brother, Zane, as a graduation gift. Somerfeld’s quilt had an interesting story. She knew she wanted a red, white and blue quilt for her brother. When she was looking through her Grandma Leona’s fabric stash, she found a piece with the right colors that had 2000 all over it, which denoted the year Zane was born.
Somerfeld interviewed with a panel of judges, explained her processes and left her quilt to be critiqued for construction. Somerfeld placed third in the state with her entry.
Joining Teton County for the final banquet were Caroline Roeder and her parents, Tracie and Brent Roeder. Caroline Roeder was one of five Teton County 4-H youth receiving scholarships from the Montana 4-H Foundation and various sponsors. Asselstine was also on hand to receive his scholarship. Others receiving scholarships were Hanna Antonsen, Delaynie Beadle and Watson Snyder.
Bruce and Cathy Maurer of Teton County were at the event to give a scholarship to Nathan Hessel of Cascade County. The scholarship is in memory of Cedric and Elfreide Maurer. Hessel, a state 4-H Ambassador, is a familiar face in Teton County having been in the BioScience program with Teton County youth, attending National 4-H Congress with Teton County delegates and assisting with most events during the Teton County 4-H Fair this year.
The 4-H youth program relies heavily on 4-H volunteers. Teton County had a volunteer recognized this year during Congress. Danelle Crary, accompanied by her son Connor, was honored as an Outstanding 4-H Alumni. Crary has been an integral part of Teton County 4-H for most of her life. Betty Ann Wolery, a 4-H leader from Liberty County, who has special connections to Teton County, was honored as she was inducted into the Montana 4-H Hall of Fame.
In addition to all the accolades and accomplishments, Teton County 4-H members were able to participate in classes that included the Museum of the Rockies, “Fact to Fiction: The Art of Visual Storytelling,” “Around the World with International Program for Young Adults,” “Beat Stress with Mindfulness,” “What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up” and more.
Wolery taught the knife skills portion of a “Put It Up” class on food preservation as one of the workshops where members canned salsa, learning kitchen and food safety techniques. The group also enjoyed an engaging keynote speaker, Brandon Lee White, with his message of “love the tough and own it.”
The Teton County delegates took every opportunity for education during 4-H Congress, touring the new Yellowstone dormitory and the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering building. One delegate was able to visit with Professor John Paxton, director of the Gianforte School of Computing, receiving advice for classes in preparation for college. The group also toured Goose Bay Handblown Glass in Townsend as they returned home from an eventful and successful Montana 4-H Congress.