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2010 OSUEA Cooperator Award
Michele Rosier Bundy
Her award was presented by Vice Provest for Outreach and Engagement Scott Reed (left in photo) and OSU President Ed Ray (right).
Michele's nomination follows:
OSUEA Cooperator Award
Individual, fewer than 10 years of service
4-H Leader since 2006
Nominated by: Wendy Hein, 4-H Youth Development, Clackamas County
The first time I really noticed Michele was at our county horse fair in 2007. We were facing a dearth of leadership at the time – four key volunteer positions in the horse advisory committee were vacant, and the outgoing chairperson and I had had little luck finding anyone to fill them. My assignment was to speak at the morning meeting and let 300 youth and 100 leaders know that if they wanted to see things like horse fair, judging contests, clinics, and monthly meetings continue, somebody needed to step up to the plate. Soon.
As the meeting started, the chairperson told me that one of the new leaders was going to give a “pep talk,” and that she might also be willing to take on one of the vacant positions. This was Michele’s second horse fair and she had not yet become active in our county-wide events. But we certainly needed a pep talk, so I encouraged her to go ahead. Michele drew a lot of attention with her high-energy delivery and Southern California style. And people listened.
Michele led by example, agreeing to serve as the chair of the Horse Advisory. Many people took to Michele immediately, enjoying her informal style, unabashedly bad spelling on agendas, and persistent positivity. Others were not sure what to think about this person who told everyone they were “rock stars,” answered the phone with “ Yo, yo, yo, this is Bundy! “ and signed her emails with many x’s and o’s. The final verdict on Michele’s abilities as a chairperson can be readily seen at the monthly meetings; in the past three years, attendance has doubled, there is always laughing, and never yelling. She will tell you that her main goal has been to make the meetings fun, and she has succeeded.
At the same time she took on the chair position, Michele also agreed to head up the horse judging contest. The program has grown from only 18 youth the year she started to 40 youth last year. She encouraged her daughter and another teen member to take on leadership roles in the contest. Last year those youth put together the registration flyer, written test, and calculated the scores for the judging placements. This year she starting working with a committee including the youth and two adult volunteers to expand the contest to include both Horse Judging and Hippology events.
However, Michele’s greatest passion is helping out people in trouble. As a real estate agent, she saw first-hand how devastating the recession was for families in our county. She could see the writing on the wall – people who can’t afford to keep their homes are probably not going to keep their child’s horse, either. In early 2009, Michele approached me about starting a fund to help out our members whose families were struggling to afford their 4-H project horses.
We drew up an agreement and created the Horse Assistance for Youth (HAY) Fund. While this project emanated from Michele’s “horsey” side, she also offered to use her considerable real estate expertise to help families as well. As a personal contribution, Michele offered to donate a portion of her commissions from any clients who mentioned the HAY Fund. She also asked us all to let her know if we knew anyone who was slipping into foreclosure – she was very interested in helping them avoid that ending. She also promoted the HAY Fund at horse events during the year. Several clubs and individuals came forward with donations as well. The fund has earned about $2000 so far.
In 2010, we developed official criteria and started awarding grants. Another important aspect of the HAY Fund is that we develop partnerships with local businesses to procure the needed supplies and services. HAY Grants are not cash – they are hay harvested and donated by a 4-H club, vets who discount their services and bill the fund, and grain from a locally-owned feed store. These relationships are very important to Michele and she has cultivated them.
Michele breaks down into tears every time she relates a story about saving a member’s horse. In the first year of grants, we have helped two families through their financial instability and a leader whose illness jeopardized her ability to care for horses used by members.
Michele has big plans for the HAY Fund. Not only does she want to expand awareness of the program locally, but she wants to help other counties across the country develop similar programs to help their youth. She has presented a poster to 4-H agents at our spring conference and is applying to present at the Western Regional Leaders’ Forum next May. Michele’s contagious passion for this project will surely lead to greater community support of 4-H and allow members to realize their dreams by holding on to the animals they work so hard to train.
After the September Horse Advisory Meeting, our most senior (and most curmudgeonly) leader told me emphatically that Michele has really made a difference in our program and that we should find some way of recognizing her. I agreed, and could think of no one better suited to be deemed a Cooperator.
Photo: David Rosier, Michele's father (left), Michele, and Clackamas County 4-H Agent Wendy Hein (right)
Photos courtesy of Lynn Ketchum, OSU EESC