Michigan 4-H announces Lake County's 2021 essay winner 

4-H Mark of Excellence essay contest part of the Michigan 4-H State Awards Program.

LAKE COUNTY — Every year, counties across Michigan offer 4-H youths age 11-12 the opportunity to participate in the 4-H Mark of Excellence essay contest which is part of the Michigan 4-H State Awards Program. As part of the contest, each county may select two essays to be recognized as winners.

The essay theme is “Because of 4-H, I can …” and the youth referred to their 4-H experiences as ones that have allowed them to make new friends, try new projects, explore new places and help their dreams come true. Some credited 4-H with helping them increase their public speaking skills, confidence, and time management skills. Other 4-H’ers wrote with excitement about their club meetings, events, exhibits and community service projects.

Lake County’s 2021 4-H Mark of Excellence essay winner is Lily Putkela. She is a first-year member of the 4-H Learning Kit program, Furry Friends 4-H Service Club, and the 4-H Pen Pal Club. She is in the seventh grade and the daughter of Eric and Christina Putkela, of Baldwin.

In her essay, Lily mentioned that because of 4-H she has had the opportunity to do many fun and exciting things such as learning how to care for animals. Right now, she is raising chickens, rabbit, and goats on her family’s farm.

She also likes to get involved with volunteer programs in her community such as making pet toys for the Lake County Animal Control and writing letters to residents of the Grand Oaks Nursing Center.

Being is 4-H has taught her to stay healthy and strong with virtual programs as 4-H Clover Chasers Running Club and 4-H Goosechase. She is excited to take part of all of these programs and can’t wait for more years with Lake County 4-H.

“These young members look forward to the future and are eager to see where 4-H will take them next,” said Jake DeDecker, Michigan 4-H state leader. “The Mark of Excellence essay contest not only provides a space for youth to think critically about their experiences but also recognizes them for engaging in these learning experiences.”

Overall, 20 members from 16 counties were honored as 2021 Mark of Excellence county winners.

To learn more about Michigan 4-H Youth Development, visit www.canr.msu.edu/4h.