Friday, November 2, 2018

Don and Carolyn Popelka - District 2 Volunteers of the Year

Kari Lewis

This fall, we had two of our 4-H shooting sports leaders, Don and Carolyn Popelka, honored as District 2 Volunteers of the Year!  Don and Carolyn were honored at the Montana 4-H Leadership Forum in Dillon, and as a result of their award, they received $100 for the Glacier County 4-H Shooting Sports program from the Montana 4-H Foundation!

Don and Carolyn Popelka were honored as the 2018
District 2 Volunteers of the Year at the Montana 4-H
Leaders Forum in Dillon this fall.  Photo by Sandra Germaan.
Montana 4-H Volunteers of the Year.
Don and Carolyn became involved with 4-H when they first moved to the community and their sons were invited to join 4-H.  Despite their children having since graduated 4-H, Don and Carolyn have continued to be involved and this past year they coached 21 youth, ages 9 to 17, in archery. 

Within that role, they provide instruction to each youth and run three hours of practice each week from November through March, in addition to time setting up and cleaning up the range.  They ensure that each youth has proper equipment that fits them and their discipline.  They conduct practice interview sessions to prepare youth for fair interviews and plan fun 3-D shoots and parties.

In her nomination, Bess Hjartarson wrote, “The Popelkas willingness to volunteer their time our archery program does not go unnoticed.  As a busy parent, I truly appreciate the time, energy, and resources that they devote to the weekly practices, the extra activities such as holiday parties and 3-D shoots, and the competitions – they have even attended the State Competition 5 hours away and supported our members.  This requires time away from their own daily schedules, making sure each child has the proper gear even if it means loaning an item of their own, and of course, helping them develop goals and work on their project books.” 

Kathleen Barbie, another 4-H parent said in her nomination letter, “Don and Carolyn are very deserving of this award because they go above and beyond for the kids; they really invest a lot into the program, and for me represent the very best of 4-H Leadership and Volunteer work.  Their care for our kids doesn’t stop after the archery season is over, they continue to look to the future of the program and needs of current and incoming 4-Hers.  They are always happy to see my kids and take the time to check in with them during the whole year.  I have a lot of respect for this family and I know Glacier County is very fortunate to have such outstanding leaders working with our 4-H youth.” 

Congratulations again to Don and Carolyn Popelka on their Montana 4-H Volunteer of the Year award, we are so blessed to have them and ALL of our volunteers who help throughout the year.  As I close today, I would encourage you to ask yourself where you can volunteer within the community.  I have several leaders who have consistently said they learn just as much from the kids as the kids do from them.  Whether it is 4-H or another organization within your community, I encourage each person to give of your time and resources in your community to ‘Make the Best Better,’ as the 4-H motto goes. 

To read more about Don and Carolyn's 4-H involvement, check out a blog post from last year,

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