K-State Research and Extension News
May 28, 2013
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Local 4-H Hero, Wins Regional, National Volunteer Award

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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Twelve-year-old Auburn 4-H club member, Tamara McConnell, has a hero.  Her hero isn’t Superman or Captain America, and she doesn’t have super strength or laser vision.  Her hero, Lisa Pfannenstiel-Garrison, of Auburn, Kan., has the superpower of mentorship.

“Our school had a hero day last year and I knew exactly who I would dress up as,” said Tamara. “Lisa has been there to help me with whatever I needed help with.  She is my hero because of everything that she has done for me and 4-H.”

Pfannenstiel-Garrison was named the 2013 North Central Region 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year.  In addition, Pfannenstiel-Garrison also was named the National 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year award, announced recently during National Volunteer Week

As the Auburn 4-H Club leader, Pfannenstiel-Garrison encourages current and new members in everything they do. She believes in empowering youth to run their own programs and inspires the members to find their own strengths.  She guides the members and gives them the responsibility of being the leaders in the club.

One of the most powerful changes she made as a club leader was changing the way the club designed the purple seal goals.  Instead of the club leaders completing all of the paperwork for the club seal, she designed a training session for club officers to create the purple seal goals for the next year.

Pfannenstiel-Garrison also increased the number of record books completed by club members. She created a new simplified project record for noncompetitive youth record books and received permission from the 4-H Program Development Committee (PDC) to implement it as a trial in the Auburn 4-H Club.  After using the forms for two years, the club’s record book completion rate has increased and youth are finding them easier to complete on their own.

“Lisa saw the need for positive leadership and she did not shy away from the responsibility,” said Michele Henry, a former co-leader for the Auburn 4-H Club. “She holds a job that demands a lot of her time and energy, yet she amazes me by continuing to give to her community. “

In addition to being club leader of one of the largest clubs in her county, she also serves many other 4-H roles in her club, county and state.  She is a club and county project leader for the photography project.  Pfannenstiel-Garrison coaches the Horticulture Countywide Judging Team and volunteers as her club’s horticulture project leader.

She also served as President of the Shawnee County Extension Board and was an active member on the 4-H PDC, Extension Educational Foundation Board and Shawnee County Events Council.  Pfannenstiel-Garrison facilitated 4-H PDC’s five year strategic plan, where youth and adults created goals with emphasis on diversity, science, and growing the 4-H program.

Lisa Pfannenstiel-Garrison will be recognized by Kansas 4-H at the Emerald Circle banquet on May 30.  For being a regional winner, she will receive a plaque and $200.

“I will donate the money to the Shawnee County Extensions Education Foundation”, said Pfannenstiel-Garrison. “The donation will be reserved for scholarships for 4-Hers to fund events and activities that nurture leadership and support 4-Hers future education.”

She will receive $1,000 for the national award. The award will be presented at the National Galaxy Conference, with approximately 2,000 Extension educators in attendance, set for September 16-20, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Penn.  


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by: Kaitlin Morgan
K-State Research & Extension News

Pam Van Horn - pvanhorn@ksu.edu - 785-532-5800