Skip to main content

Utah 4-Hers Named Top Youth Volunteers

Thursday, Mar. 07, 2013

Utah 4-H member Steven Olsen making benches

Steven Olsen making benches for the county fair.

Utah 4-H member Dallin Bunnell preparing to plant trees

Dallin Bunnell planning and preparing to plant 100 trees after a fire.

Two Utah 4-H members were named Utah’s top youth volunteers of 2013 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism.

Dallin Bunnell, 14, son of Brent and JoLene Bunnell of Lindon, was nominated by Utah State University Extension 4-H in Utah County, and Steven Olsen, 18, son of Darrel and Corinne Olsen of Ephraim, was nominated by USU Extension 4-H in Sanpete County.

Bunnell and Olsen will each receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., in May where they will join the top two honorees from each state and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. Their medallions were awarded to them by the Prudential representative at the statewide 4-H Leadermete awards banquet held Feb. 28 in Provo.  

“We are proud of our 4-H youth volunteers,” said Kevin Kesler, director of 4-H and youth programs for USU Extension. “This award is an indicator of the quality of kids we have in Utah, and we are so pleased that they are part of the 4-H Program.”

Bunnell, an eighth-grader at Oak Canyon Junior High School, has been working since 2010 to conserve and improve nature areas at Utah Lake State Park. His service projects included removing invasive vegetation, planting trees and constructing and maintaining new boardwalks to provide river access for fishermen. Bunnell sought donations of equipment and supplies, and then recruited 57 volunteers from 4-H, his scout troop and a neighborhood church. Later, he removed more non-native plant species and placed 10 new fire pits in a campground area. After a fire burned through the nature area last year, he repaired damaged boardwalks and planted 100 new trees.

“I have become aware of the beauty of our wild places and want to keep them that way,” he said.

Olsen, a senior at Manti High School, has devoted hundreds of volunteer hours to promote and strengthen his county 4-H program and county fair. Several years ago, he felt that interest in his local 4-H club was waning. He made posters and flyers, helped build parade floats and conducted workshops on various topics including music, puppetry, robotics, solar exploration, dinosaurs and entomology. He has led 22 workshops for more than 1,200 people.

Olsen also worked on large agricultural and science exhibits for his county’s fair and taught visitors about farming and science through hands-on activities. In addition, he led a club for those with special needs, helped teach free writing classes for young people and recorded more than 150 books onto CDs to help Hispanic youth improve their English skills.

“When I see a need in my community, I try to make a difference,” he said.

Prudential Financial conducts the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 18th year, in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards represents the United States’ largest youth recognition program based solely on volunteer service.

Contact: Kevin Kesler, Utah 4-H program director, Utah State University Extension, (435) 797-0930,

Post your Comment

We welcome your response. Your comment or question will be forwarded to the appropriate person. Please be sure to provide a valid email address so we can contact you, if needed. Your submission will NOT be published online. Thank you.

More News

All news


Utah State Today is available as a weekly e-mail update, with links to news, features, and events. Subscribers stay connected, whether on campus or off.

To receive Utah State Today every week, simply enter your e-mail address below.

Unsubscribe here.

Visit our social media hub

Visit our social media hub to see a snapshot of student life and find more USU social media accounts.

Learn more About USU