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History of Program

History of Program

Author: Mary Sue Sanders

Dreams?! Visions?! Dreams and visions of an Oklahoma 4-H Ambassador Program were in the minds of several people long before it came into existence. In fact at one time a proposal was written, but never completed due to 4-H staff member changes.

In August 1993, Shannon Ferrell requested a place on the agenda of the Oklahoma 4-H Agents Association. He shared his great experience in the National 4-H Ambassador Training as a National 4-H Conference delegate and his frustration with learning upon his return that the six trips to National 4-H Conference would be eliminated from the State 4-H budget due to cuts in Extension budgets. His purpose for speaking to the 4-H Agents Association was to rally support toward reinstating the National 4-H Conference trips for Oklahoma 4-H members. In his presentation Shannon emphasized the need for Oklahoma to be involved in the National 4-H Ambassador training. Of course, there was a great deal of discussion.

Jim Rutledge, who was State 4-H Program Leader, asked for volunteers who would like to serve on a committee to examine the possibility of a State 4-H Ambassador Program. Extension 4-H Agents, Barbara Hatfield, Carol Laverty, and Becky L. Bedwell volunteered. Jim asked me if I would chair the committee. (I was in my first year of voluntary early retirement.) I told him that I would chair the committee if I could have Shannon Ferrell and Vernon McKown as members of the committee. (Vernon McKown, a 4-H Alumni, had served as State 4-H President and had been a to National 4-H Conference in the National 4-H Ambassador Training; presently, he is a businessman in Norman.) Jim agreed.

Another reason I was glad to chair the State 4-H Ambassador Planning Committee was the fact that I had a vision of a State 4-H Ambassador Program for Oklahoma. This vision stemmed from having two Members (one being Vernon McKown) and a volunteer attend the National 4-H Ambassador training, as delegates and a chaperone to National 4-H Conference. Vernon was State 4-H President when the first proposal was written, but not completed.

The first meeting of the committee was October 30, 1993 after I had met with Jim Rutledge and reviewed all the files that the state 4-H staff had on State 4-H Ambassador programs in other states. From the beginning, we pursued the task to establish a strong, viable State 4-H Ambassador Program. Our discussion at the first meeting included:

  1. Overall objectives of the State 4-H Ambassador Program Planning Committee (The objectives were: make the 4-H Ambassador Program self-sustaining and establish County 4-H Ambassador programs.)
  2. Objectives of the State 4-H Ambassador Program.
  3. Who can apply?
  4. Selection Process.
  5. Suggested Roles and Function of Ambassadors.
  6. Obligations (Commitment) of 4-H Ambassadors.
  7. Training.

At our next committee meeting on December 11, 1993, the committee approved the rough draft of these items. We were informed by Jim Rutledge that we should plan on selecting the first team of State 4-H Ambassadors at the 1994 State 4-H Round-up. We had not planned on this happening so soon. The committee's goal was by the end of summer. The committee had to really get into high gear. We had to put together a State 4-H Ambassador Application Form, brainstorm some more on training curriculum and possible instructors, and decide upon the number of training meetings for the State 4-H Ambassadors.

Our next meeting was by telephone on January 13, 1994, to discuss a rough draft of a State 4-H Ambassador Application Form.

All materials that the committee had developed were compiled, and I presented the State 4-H Ambassador Program to State and District 4-H Staff on January 18, 1994. They accepted the committee's ideas with just a few minor changes.

In October, 1994 Jim Rutledge left Oklahoma and Charles Cox began a term as Interim State 4-H Program Leader for 4-H. He was supportive of the timeline for moving the program forward and pledged to assist the committee until a staff member was added to the State Staff who would work with the volunteer coordinator.

On February 19, 1994, we finalized the State 4-H Ambassador Information Sheet and Application Form to distribute to counties. We also finalized training curriculum and instructors. Judges for the different parts of the selection process were also discussed, as was who was to make the contacts, etc., and some marketing strategies.

Before State 4-H Round-up we had a telephone conference to report on the number of applicants, who had been contacted to do the training (John Paul Murphy, Utah State 4-H Staff), what judges had been selected to judge the letter writing component, the schedule for judging, creating score cards for the various parts of the selection process, and when to announce the first Oklahoma State 4-H Ambassadors. We also decided not to try to put together a resource handbook at that time.

At the 1994 State 4-H Round-Up we planned on taking all 25 applicants through he entire selection process. We had 23 applicants involved. From the total of the scores 14 young people were asked to serve as State 4-H Ambassadors. We also made Shannon Ferrell an Honorary State 4-H Ambassador. With a great group of State 4-H Ambassadors and a great trainer, John Paul Murphy, one could not ask for a better start for a new program.

Great things did not stop there. The Bockelmans and the Lavertys invited the Ambassador Team to northwest Oklahoma to the Bockelman Ranch for a retreat. They, along with the Sherrers, made our retreat very special.

Shannon Ferrell and Lindsey Sherrer were State 4-H Officers and State 4-H Ambassadors the first year, 1994-95. They presented to the 4-H Officers the idea that the green jackets needed to be spread among 4-H groups. It was decided that the State 4-H Ambassadors could wear the green jacket, but would need to choose a different color for their skirts and pants. The State 4-H Ambassadors chose navy blue.

The State 4-H Ambassadors also choose a name tag (which was changed the 2nd year) and ask Derrick Ott to design a crest to wear on the green jacket. The design is similar to the cover page of this handbook.

Training meetings were scheduled for the last Sunday in October and March, at State 4-H Round-up, and a retreat to be held sometime between the end of July and August 10th. The first year they were held in Norman on October 30, 1994, in Oklahoma City on March 26, 1995, and at State 4-H Round Up in May 1995. Training topics covered and the speakers included: “Salesmanship - Selling the 4-H Program” by Vernon McKown, “Media Relations” by Rhonda Chapman McKown of Channel 5 in OKC, Etiquette by Mary Sue Sanders.

The State 4-H Ambassador Program Planning Committee met in early 1995 to preview the Information Sheet. Some changes were made. Missy Conner and Ryan McMullen were added to the committee.

A special plaque was designed to give to the Ambassadors who had completed a year of the program. Each year the plaque will be given to first year Ambassadors. A disk with the year, which goes on their plaques on it is given to Ambassadors completing two, three, etc. years. In 1996, the plaques were given in memory of Dana Smith a 4-H Ambassador who was killed in a car accident going to school. This will be continued each year.

The second year we had 25 applicants. Twenty-two went through the entire selection process. Twelve young people were asked to serve as State 4-H Ambassadors with ten from the first group remaining active or partly active for 1995-96. (One of the items the planning committee added was that an Ambassador must declare their intentions about their involvement each year.)

The 2nd Retreat was held at the Bockelman ranch. Other training meetings were held in Stillwater, Tulsa, and at the 1996 State 4-H Round-up. The training included “Facts about 4-H” and Extension, “Being a Leader” and “Leadership Qualities” by Dr. Fred Rayfield and “Leadership Ethics” by Joe Francis, a 4-H Alumni.

Dr. Fred Rayfield joined the State 4-H Staff in 1995. He was given the assignment of working with the State 4-H Ambassador Program. Mary Sue Sanders continued as Volunteer Coordinator.

The only change made in the selection process was that 20 or less would be selected from the application forms to go though the interview, extemporaneous speech presentation, and letter writing evaluation process. For the first time 3 judges reviewed the application forms. Before only 1 or 2 judges reviewed them.

In May 1996 eight members were asked to serve as State 4-H Ambassadors. These new Ambassadors were out of 25 applicants of which 19 were asked to go through the entire selection process. The Ambassador Team totals 22 in number, with only 1 of these serving part time. We also have 7 alumni, including Shannon Ferrell.

All 1996-97 training meetings were held in Stillwater except for the retreat. It was held again for the 3rd time at the Bockelman Ranch. Training included responsibilities of Ambassadors, “Proper Way to Ask For Money From Banks” and “Business, Leadership Life Skills” by Don and Pam Sherrer and “Communication”. The Ambassadors wrote their first proposal to help the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation with the Bankers Campaign. The proposal was approved. Even though the Campaign was not a huge success, the Ambassadors, Advisors and Foundation learned a great amount of knowledge that will be helpful in the future. Also, the Ambassadors joined State and District Officers for a training retreat in June 1996 and worked with the State Officers on the first Legislative Day at the Capital for 4-H in the Spring of 1997.

In the Spring of 1997, forty applications were turned in. After reviewing the applications independently the three judges selected twenty applicants to go through the rest of the selection process. At the 1997 State 4-H Roundup eleven 4-H members were asked to serve as State 4-H Ambassadors. The Ambassador Team totals 27 members, with six of these serving part time. Ambassador Alumni numbers 12.

Shortly after the 1997 State 4-H Roundup, it was announced that Dr. Fred Rayfield was leaving the State 4-H Staff for a job in Georgia. Dr. Rayfield in a short time helped the Ambassadors get a booklet with their picture and information to send across the state. Also, a handbook will be completed in the summer to be introduced at the 4 th Retreat at the Bockelman Ranch in August 1997.

The theme of the 4th Retreat was “Right Now”. Again goals were set on the State, District and personal level for the Ambassador Program year of 1997-98. Other items covered at the Retreat were “Commitment to Being an Ambassador”, “4-H Image Especially Begins with Ambassadors”, “Social Savvy”, “and Banquet Speaking Ideas”, introduce the idea of a Vision and Mission statement for the Ambassador Program, Team Building Activities, “Commitment Booster”, and reviewing the new Handbook. The topics were presented by Ryan McMullen, Derrick Ott, Matt Barton, Tracey Cox, Lacey Clampet, Kristy Curtin, Pam Sheerer, Billie Chambers and Mary Sue Sanders.

Billie Chambers served as the State 4-H Ambassador contact for the year of 1997-98. Because of her involvement many ideas were shared. One of her ideas was section dividers for the Ambassador Handbook, which is being implemented. She also suggested that the National Conference Delegate provide training for the Ambassadors. In October, the training was conducted by Derrick Ott on “Attitudes of Advocacy”. The training in March was preparation for 4-H Day at the Legislature, which was done with State and District Officers. In May, the training was conducted by Charlotte Richert on “Diversity”.

Thirty-five applications were received trying for State 4-H Ambassador in the Spring of 1998. Thirteen were selected to join the team. We will have 27 Ambassadors with 25 being active and 2 semi-actives. We had 22 Ambassador Alumni.

The State 4-H Ambassador contact for 1998-99 was David Sorrell, Executive Director, Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, Inc. Because of his position some of the training at the 5th Retreat at the Bockelman's was on “Ambassadors and The Oklahoma 4-H Foundation”. Other topics covered at the Retreat were: “Expectations of State 4-H Ambassadors” and “Are You Responsible and Committed?” by Mary Sue Sanders, “Trust and Team Building” by Elizabeth Kinney, “How Do I Look As a State 4-H Ambassador?” by Barbara Hatfield and Carol Laverty and “Energy Boosters” by Pam Sheerer. With these ideas and the Energy Sparks through out the Retreat sent the Ambassadors home “ENERGIZED”.

In October the training was on “How To Ask A Person To Support The 4-H Program With $'s”. The Spring training held in February was on preparation for the 3rd 4-H Day at the Legislature. The May training on Selection Process Day was on activities the Ambassadors and possible future Ambassador could use when working with groups.

Action projects to meet the 3 Ambassador objectives were: Car License Tag, Food House for State Fairs (still being worked on), Ambassadors adopting donors to the 4-H Program with which they keep in touch (successful), have a county and/or district and state 4-H Clover Quiz Bowl Contest (1st one held at 1999 State 4-H Round-Up & was successful), and create a story/coloring book about 4-H for younger 4-H members (dropped & will be tried in a county or counties).

In the Spring of 1999, thirty-five applications were submitted by 4-H members trying for State 4-H Ambassador. Twenty went through the entire selection process. Thirteen were selected to join the Ambassador Team. We will have 24 Active and 8 Semi-Active Ambassadors in 1999-2000. The Ambassador Alumni group has grown to 30 members.

The theme of the 6 th Ambassador Retreat was “True 4-H Grit”. The Retreat was held at the Bockelman Ranch in late July 1999.

Items presented at the Retreat were reviewing the Ambassador Handbook, commitments and expectations of State 4-H Ambassador, Ideas on Presenting Yourself, Youth as Fund Raisers, setting action plans for the Ambassador Program Objectives, Trust and Team Building Activities, and an ending program that encouraged True Grit 4-H Ambassadors. Presenters were Mary Sue Sanders, David Sorrell, Roy Lee Lindsey, Shannon Ferrell, and Pam Sherrer. Several fireside chats were led by the Ambassadors or Barbara Hatfield and Carol Laverty.

The action plans to meet the 3 Ambassador objectives were; Food House at each 4-H District Conference (somewhat successful), continue working on the 4-H car license tag (passed in the house & senate¡­.now ready for artwork, etc.), poster calendar with pictures (this was dropped after several months of research because of the cost & details involved), continue Ambassadors keeping in touch with donors via mail, telephone, and/or visits (very successful), Donor Appreciation Day (decided for Ambassadors to work with the State 4-H Foundation on events they plan), continue the 4-H Clover Bowl at State 4-H Roundup (this was done), and a kiosk to promote the 4-H Program in the Gallagher Iba Historical Hall or some place on the OSU Campus (the kiosk in Gallagher Iba Historical Hall was dropped and plans are for a display in the OSU Student Union in October, 2000.

Lindsay Sherrer, Ambassador Alumni, did the training in October 1999 on “Motivation”. The spring training was on preparation for the 4 th 4-H Day at the Legislature. A lot of credit for the $1.6 million increase in Extension funding was given to the State 4-H Ambassadors and officers who made contact with legislators during the 3 rd 4-H Day at the Legislature in 1999. The May training for Ambassadors is helping conduct the Ambassador Selection Process Day.

Thirty-five applicants were submitted in the Spring 2000. Twenty applicants went though the entire selection process. Thirteen were selected to join the Ambassador Team. Four more were added after the State Officer election because four Ambassadors were elected as State Officers. We will have 26 Active, 5 Semi-Active, and 4 State Officers in 2000-2001. The Ambassador Alumni group has grown to 42 members. Mary Sue Sanders will continue to serve as volunteer coordinator, Shannon Ferrell as assistant volunteer coordinator, and David Sorrell as the State 4-H Office Contact.

The 7 th Ambassador Retreat was held at the Bockelman Ranch August 4-5, 2000. Colonel Sanders' Ambassador Boot Camp: Survival of the Greenest!!! was the theme of the retreat. The retreat covered Vision & History, A Personality Test, reviewed Handbook, committee and expectations, what it means to be a State 4-H Ambassador, working with the State 4-H Foundation Board, State action plans, District and Personal Goal Setting, Scavenger Hunt, Get Your Elbows Off the Table, Operation Green Thunder and several cadet calls. The presenters were Rachel Keeling, Julie Coulter, Caleb Winsett, Tucker McConnell, Mary Sue Sanders, Nathan Stone, David Sorrell, Gwen Shaw, LeAnn Kenneda, Marcy Grundmann, Will Barth, Kirby Teachey, Leigh Ann Tracy and Shannon Ferrell.

The three Ambassador Objectives will be met by the following action plans: Sell Clover Cards to businesses over the state through the county offices (about a dozen Ambassadors ended up doing this making approximately $1,000.00 for the Ambassador account); Write articles for the Foundation Quarterly Newsletter (this did not happen); Develop 4-H Flyer (this is still in progress) and continue Ambassador keeping in touch with donors via mail, telephone and/or visits.

At the October 2000 training, Mary Sue Sanders visited Trustworthiness from the Character Counts materials. The ideas were based on “Principle ¨C Centered Leadership” by Stephen Covey. Preparation for the 5 th 4-H Day at the Legislature was the Spring 2001 training. Again credit was given the State 4-H Ambassadors and Officers for increase in Extension Funding in 2000. Ambassador Selection Process Day is used as the training in May 2001.

The numbers of applications for Ambassador in 2001 was twenty-six. Twenty applicants went through the entire selection process. Fourteen were selected to join the Ambassador Team. We will have 26 active, 11 semi-active and 4 inactive. The ambassador Alumni group has grown to 50 members. David Sorrell will continue as the State 4-H Office contact, Mary Sue Sanders as Volunteer Coordinator and Shannon Ferrell as Assistant Volunteer Coordinator.

In early August 2001 the 8 th Ambassador Retreat was held at the Bockelman Ranch. The theme of the retreat was “The Great 4-H Adventure: Down Under”. The following items were covered: Handbook, Responsibilities of Ambassadors, Goals for 2001-2002, Getting to Know Team Members, Writing Thank You Notes and Letters, and Escaping the Down Under and Moving On to the Future with Pride and Enthusiasm.

The October 2001 training was “How Character Counts Principles Apply to 4-H Leadership Teams” led by Mary Sue Sanders. The February Training was preparation for the 6 th 4-H Day at the Capitol presented by David Sorrell, Karla Knoepfli and Mary Sue Sanders. The May training was carrying out the Ambassador Selection Process Day.

The Ambassador Team for 2001-2002 worked on meeting the three Ambassador Objectives with the following action plans: 4-H Alumni, 100th Birthday of 4-H, continue 4-H Clover Bowl, 4-H Clover Cards and Ambassadors keeping in touch with donors via mail, telephone and/or personal visits.

In April, 2002 the most ever 4-H Ambassador Applications were received ¨C 49 applications with all districts represented. Twenty applicants were selected to go through the rest of the selection process. Eleven were selected to join the Ambassador Team. We will have 25 active, 5 semi-active and 3 inactive Ambassadors for 2002-2003. The Ambassador Alumni group has grown to 64 members. David Sorrell, Mary Sue Sanders and Shannon Ferrell will continue to work with the Ambassadors in 2002-2003.

The 9th Ambassador Retreat was held at the Bockelman Ranch, August 9 ¨C 10, 2002. “Uncover The 4-H Mystery” was the theme of the retreat. The items covered were reviewing the objectives of the Ambassador Program, the handbook, and responsibilities of Ambassadors, set goals for 2002 ¨C 2003, Teamwork & Togetherness, How to Tie a Tie Correctly, Writing Thank You Notes and Letters, “Scrappin' in Style”(etiquette), and “C” clues found at Y-Bar Ranch (send-off with enthusiasm). Those involved in planning, discussions, workshops were Kendra Anderson, Annie James, David Sorrell, Mary Sue Sanders, Jamie Weber, Laura Townley, Zeb Barth, Kirby Teachey, Josh Grundmann, Magan Smith, Jennica Kinney, and Pam Sherrer.

Gina Schutte presented the training for October 2002 on “Marketing The 4-H Program”. The February 2003 Training was preparation for the 7 th 4-H Day at the Capitol. Presenters were Karla Knoepfli, David Sorrell, and Mary Sue Sanders. Carrying out the Ambassador Selection Process Day was the May 2003 training.

The Ambassadors participated in the 2002 Team Leadership Retreat, “Septemberfest”, “Our Kids World”, and a Christmas Get-to-gether at Gwen Shaw's home in Edmond. They also worked on contacting 4-H alumni, conducted 4-H Clover Bowl at 4-H Round Up and kept in touch with donors via mail, telephone calls and personal visits.

Fifty (50) 4-H Ambassador Applications were received in April 2003. This was one more than was received in 2002. All districts were represented in the twenty (20) selected to go through the rest of the selection process. Thirteen (13) were selected to join the Ambassador Team. We will have 24 Active, 6 semi-active and 6 inactive Ambassadors for 2003-2004. The Ambassador Alumni group now has 88 members. Continuing to work with the Ambassador Team in 2003-2004 will be Shannon Ferrell, David Sorrell and Mary Sue Sanders.

On August 2 ¨C 3, 2003 the 10th Ambassador Retreat was held at the Bockelman Ranch. The theme was “4-H Factor: Conquer Your Fears”. The objectives were: 1) Create a bond between all of the ambassadors so that they are a team representing the 4-H Program; 2) Learn to conquer your fears when being interviewed and/or making a presentation about the 4-H Program; 3) Learn to set attainable and measurable goals for the State Ambassador Program for 2003 ¨C 2004; 4) Understand the importance of focusing on the basics of the Ambassador Program. Those involved in planning, discussions, workshops, etc. were Kirby Teachey, Jennica Kinney, Christina Mays, Heidi Robison, Will McConnell, Jarrett Hutton, Jonathon Knopfel, Courtney Hargis, Kyle Foster, Emily Gregory, Jered Davidson, Nathan Thompson, Pam Sherrer, Carole Laverty, Melanie Matt, Mary Sue Sanders, David Sorrell, Shannon Ferrell, and Gregg Owen.

The Ambassadors had training in October 2003 and in March 2004. Again the May 2004, training was carrying out the Ambassador Selection Process Day.

The Ambassadors participated in the 2003 Leadership Team Retreat, “September Fest”, and 4-H Day at the Capitol, April 2004. They worked on visibility by presenting the video, “4-H: Get In It, Stay In It” at every opportunity. They also continued to contact 4-H alumni, and conducting 4-H Clover Bowl at 2004 4-H Round Up. Gwen Shaw hosted a Christmas Get-To-Gather at her home in Edmond.

Thirty-six (36) 4-H Ambassadors Applications were postmarked before and by April 1, 2004. The twenty (20) selected for the rest of the selection process represented all Extension Districts. Ten (10) were selected to join the Ambassador Team. We will have 24 Active, 4 semi- active, 2 inactive Ambassadors in 2004 ¨C 2005. The Ambassador Alumni group now has 97 members. Continuing as State Office contact will be David Sorrell and Shannon Ferrell and Mary Sue Sanders as volunteers.

The theme for the 11 th Ambassador Retreat was “Can You Hear Me Now?” It was held at the Bockelman Ranch, August 6 ¨C 7, 2004. Those helping Jennica Kinney carry out the theme were: Jered Davidson, Courtney Hargis, Kyle Foster, Mary Sue Sanders, David Sorrell, Shannon Ferrell, Sarah Brockhaus, Greg Owens, Emma Sikich, Chelesa Dieman, and Rochele Landwehr. Janet Herren, Ambassador Alumni, Jeremy Bockelman, past State 4-H Officer, Pam Sherrer and Carol Laverty, hostess, gave outstanding presentations. Items covered were: reports, writing good thank you notes to donors, setting goals, the importance of the Ambassador Program and “Are You Ready To Answer The Call. The Retreat included good food, fun, games, scrap booking and just plain good visiting and bonding.

An Ambassador Advisory Committee was organized in the spring of 2004. The first meeting was held in May. Members were: Nathan Thompson, Carrie Highfill, and Emily Gregory representing active Ambassadors; Kayla Nieman and Melissa Bugg representing semi-active Ambassadors; Cathleen Taylor, Joni Puffinbarger, and Christina Mays representing Ambassador Alumni. Due to the Advisory Committee impute some additions and changes were made in the Ambassador Information Sheet and the Selection Process.

The October 2004 Training/Meeting was chaired by Nathan Thompson from the Advisory Committee. The training was done by the Visibility Committee with Kyle Foster taking the lead. He presented the power point program developed by this committee and David Sorrell. The program is on the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Program. A disk was given each county to use with groups to make 4-H and the Cooperative Extension Programs more visible.

Preparation for 4-H Day at the Capitol was the April 3, 2005 training/meeting. Carrie Highfill from the Advisory Committee chaired the meeting. May training/meeting was carrying out the Ambassador Selection Process Day. This year all of the Ambassadors were involved in scoring the special activity for the applicants. Emily Gregory from the Advisory Committee chaired the “Check Signals” meeting.

All of the new Ambassadors and many continuing Ambassadors participated in the 2004 Leadership Team Retreat. Several were involved in “September Fest” and 4-H Day at the Capitol, April 2005. The Ambassadors worked on the objectives of the Ambassador Program by developing the power point program on the Cooperative Extension Program for visibility, getting alumni to join the Oklahoma Alumni Association, writing donors and alumni, conducting 4-H Clover Bowl at the 2005 4-H Round-up, and showing the video, “Get In It, Stay In It” every opportunity they had when they were telling the 4-H Story. The Christmas Party was held at Gwen Shaw's home in Edmond for Ambassadors and Ambassador Alumni.

The National 4-H Agents Meeting was held in Oklahoma City, October 30 through November 3, 2004. Several Ambassadors were involved as greeters at the airport, putting material in bags, assisting with tours, and host/hostess at the Donor Reception.

In March and April, 2005 twenty-nine (29) Ambassador Applications were received. All Extension Districts were represented by the nineteen (19) selected for the rest of the selection process. Thirteen (13) applicants were selected to join the Ambassador Team. The 2005-2006 Ambassador Team consists of 25 Active and four Semi-Active members. The Ambassador Alumni group now has 101 members. Shannon Ferrell will continue as a volunteer coordinator with two new volunteer coordinators. Barbara Hatfield and Gwen Shaw started working with the program at the end of May 2005. The State 4-H Office contact will be the Assistant Extension Specialist serving as Ambassador Advisor. David Sorrell returned to County Extension work in October 2004 after six years with the Ambassador Program. Mary Sue Sanders retired the summer of 2005 after serving as volunteer coordinator for almost twelve years. Jim Rutledge returned to the Oklahoma 4-H Program as the Executive Director for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation and became the staff contact for the State 4-H Ambassador Program.

(Mary Sue Sanders wrote the preceding portion of the history, so it's more complete! The remainder of the history is not nearly as complete or as well written, but the essentials are included)

Mary Sue Sanders was recognized at the 2005 Roundup for her years of service to the 4-H Ambassador program. Many past and current ambassadors contributed to Mary Sue's fund to support the program. Mary Sue was presented a bouquet of flowers and many past ambassadors were present to wish her well. About $1,500 was collected from alumni and friends to continue building the fund that Mary Sue started for ambassador uniforms and program support.

During the remainder of the 2005- 06 year the new team of volunteer advisors and the new state advisor tried to live up to the standards that were set by Mary Sue, but all agreed they needed to work harder for the four of them to equal Mary Sue! The year included the selection of 13 new first year ambassadors, team leadership retreat, ambassador retreat at Bockelman's Ranch, and quarterly meetings in the fall and spring. Several ambassadors also participated in Septemberfest and Discovery Unlimited. The ambassadors and alumni all enjoyed the annual Christmas Party at Gwen Shaw's.

During the spring of 2006 there were 39 applications for state ambassador and 20 were interviewed the day before Roundup with ten new ambassadors being selected. Ten new ambassadors were selected and the total number of ambassadors stood at 23 active and 9 semi-active. Committees set some ambitious goals, but many things were accomplished. Sarah Brockhaus led an effort to promote 4-H through a video and commercial contest. The contest was small, but several very good commercial entries were submitted for judging at the 2007 4-H Roundup. Alea Sharp and Carrie Highfill led an effort to promote donor relations through two campaigns. All ambassadors were challenged to raise at least $100 for the Mary Sue Sander's fund and each was asked to provide prizes for the annual 4-H Clover Classic Golf Tournament. Both campaigns were very successful. During the year, ambassadors helped with some new programs, including the Pork Council Annual Meeting and the OSU day at the Oklahoma Youth Expo. Both of these gave ambassadors additional visibility and helped thank some of the 4-H Foundations best donors. Ambassadors continue to support the Discovery Unlimited and Septemberfest programs as well as many county and district programs.

In 2007, there were 23 applicants from all four districts. Seventeen were interviewed the day before Roundup and 12 were inducted as new ambassadors. Thirteen ambassadors joined the ranks of the alumni, so the 2007 team will include 23 active and 7 semi-active ambassadors. During 2007, the ambassador advisory group will change again as the State 4-H Office is hiring a new curriculum coordinator who will become the state office advisor. Jim Rutledge completed his two year appointment with the 4-H Foundation, and is going to part time until a new Executive Director can be hired. He will continue to assist with some of the donor relations issues but the new curriculum specialist will assume the day to day responsibilities for state 4-H office coordination. That person will be announced in June.

The 2007 State 4-H Officer elections showed that being an ambassador can be good for your political aspirations, as five of the eight new officers were ambassadors first. These include Cody Clovis, NE State Vice President, Stephanie Bowen, SW State Vice President, Tanya Steidley, SE State Vice President, Matt Taylor, State Secretary; and Alyssa Latty State Song Leader. We've come a long ways since the days when state officers did not want us to have an ambassador program!

The State 4-H Ambassador Program is not a dream or vision now. It is reality!!! You are now living the vision. What the State 4-H Ambassador Program becomes is up to YOU!

2008 proved to be another great year for twenty-nine active 4-H Ambassadors. In August the group traveled, with bus driver Shannon Ferrell, to the Bockelman's Ranch for their annual Ambassador Retreat. Ambassador responsibilities, proper letter writing, and a terrific program presented by Don and Pam Sherrer were all part of the wonderful retreat experience. Though out the year Ambassadors were seen across Oklahoma telling the 4-H story at 4-H Day at the Capital, Clover Classic, OYE, and meeting donors and newly hired Oklahoma Foundation Director, Cathy Shuffield. Also, Cathy Allen, 4-H Curriculum Coordinator, joined the volunteers Gwen Shaw, Barbara Hatfield, and Shannon Ferrell as Ambassador Advisors.

The 2008-2009 4-H Ambassador year again proved successful. Twenty-eight active and semi-active Ambassadors comprised the team. Ambassadors started their year off with the Leadership Team Retreat on campus, followed by recognition at 4-H Roundup in July and finished off the summer with the traditional retreat at the Bockelman Ranch. Ambassadors worked hard to gather outstanding prizes and auction items for the Clover Classic Golf Tournament in the fall. In December current Ambassadors and alumni filled advisor Gwen Shaw 's home for the annual Christmas party. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to visit with Mary Sue and Carl Sanders, while reliving the memories and impact this program has had. In April, Ambassador Whitney Dockrey addressed the House and Senate floors during 4-H Day at the Capitol to receive a standing ovation. Thirty five 4-H members submitted applications to become a future Ambassador and continue the outstanding tradition.

Last Revision: June 5, 2008