Louisiana 4-H volunteer wins national award

Brandy Orlando, Shirley, Karen  |  5/28/2015 8:18:39 PM

Carolyn Whisonant Lang, right, of Atlanta, Louisiana, in Winn Parish, has been named the 2015 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer. She was nominated by her 4-H agent, Karen Shirley. Photo by Rick Bogren

News Release Distributed 05/28/15

WINNFIELD, La. – Carolyn Whisonant Lang, of Winn Parish, has been named the national winner of the 2015 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer award.

She is one of four regional winners and the first winner of the national award from Louisiana, according to Karen Shirley, LSU AgCenter extension agent in Winn Parish. The award is given to an individual who has spent 10 or more years as a 4-H volunteer.

“We are so proud of Carolyn,” Shirley said. “We have had winners for the South but never a national winner. We have a stronger 4-H program through her example of professionalism, leadership and creativity. She is unique, and her perseverance is contagious.”

Lang has dedicated 39 years to 4-H, first as a club member. She joined 4-H in Winn Parish when she was 12 years old. “I fell in love with it. 4-H has developed the person I am today,” she said.

Her first 4-H leader was Carolyn Phillips, who now runs the Louisiana Political History Museum in Winnfield.

“Under her guidance and leadership, my love for learning was shaping me into a lifelong learner. Even after 39 years I am still excited to learn something new with 4-H,” Lang said.

Lang became a 4-H leader because she wanted to motivate and inspire children to learn.

“I have a desire to help children seek opportunities, and 4-H is a way for them to step outside the box and explore their world. In 4-H we learn by doing,” she said.

Lang has enjoyed watching her club members “grow and blossom.”

“We make sure everyone has a job. We focus on their strengths, which we call gifts. This really encourages them to take ownership and play an active role within the club,” she said.

Service-learning projects are a big part of the 4-H experience, Lang said.

“I try to get the students to see where the need is. This year they chose to focus on veterans, the elderly and kids in need. They named the project the Tour of Kindness,” she said.

In addition to the award, Lang was given a $1,000 stipend to use for her club. After much discussion, they chose a trip to Baton Rouge to learn more about state government and LSU.

In addition to this award, Lang has earned numerous awards in Winn Parish and across Louisiana, including her induction into the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame in 2013.

Brandy Orlando

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