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North Pole 4-H leader Wins National Award


Fairbanks, Alaska—For the second year in a row, an Interior Alaska 4-H leader will receive one of two national awards presented to 4-H leaders.

Nancy Graff, the leader of the North Pole Ptarmigan 4-H Club, will receive the National 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year award at an Oct. 8 ceremony in Chevy Chase, Md. She was chosen from four regional winners for the award, which 4-H presents to one volunteer with less than 10 years of service.

Graff is the main leader of the North Pole Ptarmigans as well as two after-school clubs at North Pole elementary and middle schools. Kids new to 4-H think it’s all about animals, cooking and sewing, Graff said, but she loves it when they get excited about doing something new, such as volunteering in the community or giving presentations on snakes.

“That’s what keeps me going,” she said.

The North Pole Ptarmigans garden, raise a variety of animals for the fair and work on leadership skills. A common thread for all of her clubs is community service. Graff is also involved with the local and state leadership of 4-H, hosts animal clinics and is helping to plan a Western Region 4-H conference in Fairbanks in 2016.

Marla Lowder, the Tanana District 4-H and youth development agent, was one of several people who nominated Graff. She notes that Graff is always willing to help out, whether it’s teaching kids in Tok about rabbits or working with a new club. Lowder also nominated Priscilla Rice, a Fairbanks leader who won the same national award last year.

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