The Successful Farming/Loren Kruse Outstanding Iowa 4-H Leader award is presented each year to an adult volunteer who has encouraged, challenged, and inspired Iowa 4-H members to achieve at their fullest potential. This year’s recipient is Kay Schmitt of Fort Atkinson in Winneshiek County. Schmitt is the current leader of the Turkey Valley Clovers 4-H Club.

Schmitt was nominated by Jacqueline Langreck, parent of current 4-H club members.

Langreck said, “Kay brings out the best in her club and community. Kay is not only their 4-H leader, but she is also an adult that they know they can trust. As a parent, there is nothing more important. She has not only influenced me, but has influenced everyone she works with to become a better person. In my nine years as a 4-H member, and now as a 4-H parent, I have not witnessed anyone who symbolizes to ‘Make the Best Better’, more than Kay Schmitt.

Schmitt has been a 4-H leader for more than 25 years and is committed to help her 4-H club members get involved in their community. From assembling holiday wreaths to coordinating the annual bake sale to planting community flower pots, Kay’s 4-H’ers are not only gaining valuable skills, but learning how to contribute to their community. Kay always goes the extra mile and leads by example, always working alongside 4-H’ers. Her influence and countless hours of effort helps 4-H members to see the importance of serving and caring for others.

Langreck continued, “I have seen the lasting impact Kay has had on past 4-H members. These individuals become confident, strong leaders who continue service work and volunteerism in their own communities. Ask any one of them, and they will tell you that Kay is one of the biggest influences in their lives.”

Schmitt has been honored in the past for her commitment to 4-H, receiving the 2018 4-H Alumni Award in Winneshiek County.

“We’re proud to honor Kay for her work to support 4-H’ers in Winneshiek County,” said Emily Saveraid, Executive Director of the Iowa 4-H Foundation. “Her selfless efforts exemplify the spirit of this award.

The Successful Farming/Loren Kruse Outstanding Iowa 4-H Leader Award comes with a $1,000 grant, which the honoree can designate back to Iowa 4-H through their club, county or state foundations. The award was established by Meredith Corporation and the Edwin T. Meredith Foundation through the Iowa 4-H Foundation in honor of Loren Kruse’s retirement as editor-in-chief of Successful Farming magazine. Kruse credits the outstanding guidance provided by his 4-H club leader for the successes he achieved as an adult.

The Iowa 4-H Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and provides  private financial resources to develop and deliver quality 4-H youth programs throughout the state of Iowa. These opportunities help young people enhance their ability to use critical thinking, leadership, communication, and social skills – tools that will give them a competitive edge in their future endeavors.