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4-H Family of the Year: Morrisons manage to stay active amidst pandemic

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
Pam and Dwayne Morrison, from left, and their daughters Delana and Adelyn, are the Jackson County 4-H Family of the Year.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has robbed many families of countless blessings this year, the Morrison family is a rare exception.

Dwayne and Pam Morrison, and their daughters Delana and Adelyn, of Blue Springs, are the Jackson County 4-H Family of the Year. And while their 4-H activities had a different approach, they were still able to enjoy the core values of the club by participating in local community activities, county council and state competitions during a year that presented unforeseen challenges.

“We certainly learned how to use Zoom,” joked Dwayne, who serves as a University of Missouri Extension council member, District 3 in Jackson County, as well as a 4-H Community Club Leader for Classy Clovers, which meets in Blue Springs each month.  

He also served as the 4-H County Council treasurer last year and helped with the fair as it transitioned into an online platform.

“There were challenges, but 4-H is a learning process where our members learn leadership skills by participating in a variety of activities,” Dwayne said. “I know that many people associate 4-H with agricultural activities, and there are still many agricultural associated programs, but they are also involved with other activities like STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), coding and learning about new technology.”

4-H, the largest youth organization in the world that was founded in 1902, has had a long tradition in Jackson County. Community clubs meet monthly and youth run their meetings by using parliamentary procedure.

While October is the start of a new 4-H year, youngsters are always encouraged to join at any time they want to focus on special projects that often include community service.

Delana, 15, is a freshman at Blue Springs South High School. She enjoyed a successful year, bringing home two blue ribbons in the equestrian sports of Western and English dressage at the Missouri State Fair.

Delana Morrison is active in equestrian sports as part of the 4-H Club. Her family was recognized as the Jackson County 4-H Family of the Year.

She also served as club president and participated in Classy Clovers and Silver Spurs clubs while completing award-winning projects, showing small animals, competing in livestock shows with dairy goats and making the successful showing at the Missouri State Fair.

“I really enjoy 4-H because of all the friends I’ve made,” said Delana, who is a member of the local Kaysinger Horse Show Circuit and Golden Circle, in which she competes in horse shows throughout the year. “And I enjoy showing our dairy goats. I’ve been taking riding lessons the past seven years and that has become a big part of my life, just like 4-H.”

Adelyn, 13, is a seventh grader at Moreland Ridge Middle School. She served as the 4-H Jackson County Council president. Though meetings changed in March and went to an online platform, she continued to lead them.

Adelyn Morrison shows off her 4-H catapult project that she showed at the State Fair in Sedalia. The Morrisons were named the Jackson County 4-H Family of the Year.

“I really enjoy 4-H and I like getting involved in all my projects,” Adelyn said.

She was recognized by her fellow youth members for creating the 90th annual Jackson County 4-H Fair theme in 2020, which was “Going Back Into 4-H History.”

Members also voted and selected a T-shirt design which she made and all youth fair participants received. Her projects this year were cake decorating, showing dairy goats and woodworking, which made it to the State Fair.

“It’s great to have all our family involved, including my wife Pam, who does a great job with our girls, making sure they can keep up with their busy schedule,” Dwayne said.

A select jury of members from the Missouri Extension Council and the University of Missouri selected the Morrisons as the family of the year.

Delana Morrison shows dairy goats as part of her 4-H Club activities.

“The Jackson County 4-H Family of the Year Award is awarded annually to a family who is nominated for their contributions to their 4-H Club and to the greater 4-H community,” Andrea Wikiera, Field Specialist in 4-H Youth Development, said in a press release. “Jackson County 4-H is honored to have the Morrison family’s active participation in our 4-H programs. Delana, Adelyn, Pam and Dwayne serve as excellent role models for the rest of our county by embodying the qualities 4-H strives for – leadership, citizenship, inclusivity and positive attitude.”

For information on 4-H in Jackson County, contact Wikiera at wikiearaa@missouri.edu. More information is also available online at 4h.missouri.edu.

Missouri 4-H