4-H encourages young people to set and achieve their goals. To that end, the Kentucky 4-H Achievement Program was created to reward ambitious and accomplished young people throughout the state.
This year, Harlan County 4-H Teen Club member Dakota Saylor was Harlan County’s first teen to be awarded the 4-H Gold Achievement Award.
In the program, young people can earn points toward the completion of each of five non-competitive levels by participating in various leadership opportunities, projects, activities and events. Points are given based on whether the activity occurred at the county, district, state or national levels, with point totals ranging from county level events earning one point to national events receiving four points.
The program’s non-competitive levels range from Level I which requires 25 points and being a sixth-grader to Level V where a 4-H’er earns 200 points and is in at least the 10th grade. Dakota earned the 4-H Bronze Award as a Freshman, Silver Award as a Sophomore, and Gold as a Junior. Dakota is currently a senior at Gateway High School.
Gold applicants must complete a community service project. Of the 70 statewide applicants, 30 are selected. Out of those 30, Dakota was one of 10 applicants selected to interview for the Emerald level. For the project, the 4-H’er interviews community members about problems in the community, decides on one problem to concentrate on, develops a solution and leads a group of individuals to complete it.
Dakota’s two year project was an anti-bullying campaign with a focus on prevention with elementary students. Dakota received a $160 scholarship to the State Teen Conference and a $750 scholarship to the 2014 National 4-H Congress.
As a top 10 gold winner from the current 4-H program year Dakota has been invited to apply for the Emerald level in March. These applications will go before a committee and the top 15 will take part in an interview and present their PowerPoint at Teen Conference. The four applicants selected for this level will receive a $1,000 scholarship to the annual National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C. and $1,000 college scholarship.
Dakota has been active in 4-H since third grade at Wallins Elementary School. He has won blue ribbons in county, area and state Communications Day in speech, demonstrations and variety show. He has won many blue ribbons in county and state fair projects since fourth grade.
He has served as president, vice-president, and reporter for all his 4-H clubs, including Harlan County 4-H Home School Club. He served two terms on the Kentucky 4-H State Teen Council. He is active in Binghamtown Baptist Church Youth Group and a member of the Beta Club at Gateway High School, where he is in the top 5 percent of his class.
Dakota enjoys playing the guitar and working in the Binghamtown Food Pantry. Dakota also enjoys working at WMIK-Radio station airing and writing ads. Dakota stays busy, working three part-time jobs during the summer and as janitor for Gateway High School during the school year.
He plans to attend college after graduation majoring in English and communications.
Dakota’s parents are Dannie and Tonja Saylor. His grandparents are Ruby and Dannie Saylor and Donna and Raymond Cox, all of Wallins.