The Monroe County Legislature recently recognized Mary Hull, of Churchville, for her volunteerism through 4-H and service to area youth.
Friends and family were present as Hull accepted the honor for her 40-plus years of service in 4-H.
The proclamation states, “Mary Hull is one of the leaders and mentors that ensures our youth are in good hands. She started her journey with 4-H as a youth member, but would return as a young adult to help give a new generation the sense of belonging and generosity that she had discovered. Mary has dedicated her life to ensuring future generations are provided with the care and knowledge to grow into successful leaders.”
4-H members, parents and alumni shared personal accounts of Hull’s guidance and exemplary conduct with 4-H, especially the horse program.
“I met Mrs. Hull as a teen 4-H member myself 30 years ago,” said Niki Whilden, a volunteer 4-H leader. “She was a leader of another horse club in our county and was always present at county equine events. Mary’s welcoming and kind demeanor helps both children and horses feel at ease around her. She is an amazing teacher to our youth, as she understands how to keep activities fun, challenging and safe for all involved, at all levels and ages.”
Experiences with Hull’s generosity are personal for some, like Posh Ponies 4-H Club member Molly Krotz.
“She has helped me on multiple occasions that really matter to me,” said Krotz, 12. “The one that stands out most recently was my trip to the State Fair for the horse judging competition. Last year, she brought me to state horse judging when my mom had to work. My mom dropped me off early in the morning and we didn’t get back until late at night. She does things out of the goodness of her heart and always encourages people to have fun. I have known Mary for a long time and would not be where I am today without her help.”
Molly’s mom, Kate, said, “Mary sees the potential all kids have. She uses her life and 4-H experiences to help the county 4-H program. She believes in the motto ‘to make the best better.’ She is a positive role model to all who meet her. She leads by example, creating a positive environment at all times. She has a phenomenal impact on the 4-H program, stressing education in the atmosphere of fun. She creates a safe inclusive environment at all times.”
Each year, state 4-H programs nominate volunteers through the 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards. The Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award goes to those demonstrating a positive impact on the lives of 4-H youth, such as the ability to work with young people in a way that promotes youth empowerment, decision-making, problem-solving, meeting challenges and mastery.
Nominees must be dedicated to youth/adult partnerships and developing mentor-learner relationships, as well as promoting innovative approaches to engaging new youth and increasing diversity among participants. Also important is dedication to providing a safe and inclusive environment for youth.
The award goes to an individual who spent 10-plus years as a 4-H volunteer. As this year’s winner of the state award, Hull will be honored in a ceremony at the New York State Fair.
“It is really impossible to put into words the deep impact Mary had on us,” said Marcha Graffin, a parent to a former member of Hull’s club. “It was so much more than just 4-H. It was the value of serving others, the impact you can make on the world around you, the foundations of developing good people, techniques for getting people to connect with each other so you can build a stronger community. Maybe the most significant thing we got from Mary is knowing she genuinely cared about us, about every kid and parent in her club.”
Hull has been connected to 4-H in Monroe County since her youth.
“I was in 4-H as a kid,” she said. “I always thought that I’d want to get involved with it as an adult leader, because I loved it.”