4-H Club leader wins warm praise 'He . . . made us do the best we could'


John Sies of Millers is one of 7,386 volunteers who worked with 38,000 young people involved in 4-H in Maryland last year.

He has led the Outdoor Fun 4-H Club for five years. The club now has an offshoot, the Hotshots.

Mr. Sies has also helped at the state 4-H office, planning training programs and youth activities related to forestry and wildlife. He helps organize the Maryland State Natural Resources Camp and the Carroll County 4-H Summer Camp.

Organization's comments: "You can't find a better person," sai Bob Shirley, a Cooperative Extension Service agent who works with Carroll County 4-H clubs. "I don't think we can do too much to praise this guy."

He said Mr. Sies is concerned about environmental stewardship: "He wants to make sure the next generation also has that concern."

Mr. Shirley said Mr. Sies offers a good mix of caring about th environment and caring about people.

He takes pains to encourage leadership potential in young people, Mr. Shirley said.

For example, he is encouraging nine teen-agers who went to a natural resources camp on the Eastern Shore last summer to plan local activities for others, using what they learned at the camp.

arti Fair, 18, a 4-H Club member who attends North Carroll High School, said, "He pushed us and made us do the best we could.

She said Mr. Sies emphasizes that young people should learn and be trained, so they can pass on what they learn to others.

"All of us are very confident because of Mr. John," she said, "because he pushes us and tells us that we can do it."

Her brother, Ben Fair, 17, also a 4-H member, said Mr. Sies "never stops going."

Ben Fair said that when he was 14, before he had a drivers license, Mr. Sies used to make sure he had a ride to shooting practice.

Mr. Fair also credited Mr. Sies with building his confidence.

"When I first started 4-H I was very shy," he said. "I'm just mor open now. He's gotten me introduced to so many people."

Volunteer's comments: Mr. Sies said he got into 4-H when hison, Dean, joined the Air Force, leaving him an empty-nester.

When he was introduced to 4-H, he said, he saw a need but wasn't sure he could handle it.

"You've got to be on your toes all the time to make sure you do set a good example," he said.

said he hears many young people complain that there's "nothing to do."

"There's things to do," he said, "but sometimes they need somebody to show it to them."

Mr. Sies said 4-H is good for youngsters because they are no told what to think, but they are helped to mature and develop their own unique ways of thinking for themselves. He said he has never known a young person who became involved in 4-H who didn't grow in some way as a result.

"We do it by working together," he said.

Locally, he said, the Agricultural Center and the Cooperative Extension Service provide excellent support. "People back us up when we need help," he said.

Volunteer's background: Mr. Sies and his wife, Deanna, have one son, Dean.

Mr. Sies, 49, is a chief inspector and computer specialist with the Congoleum Corp. in Finksburg. He is a member of the Carroll County Forest Conservancy District Board. He also teaches hunter safety courses and has been active with the Carroll County County Sportsmen's Association and with Carroll Earth Care.

To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Week, call 751-7900 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nominations may

be faxed to the office at 751-7916.

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