National 4-H Council has just announced that Joe Major of Walpole has been selected as the 2017 National 4-H Salute to Excellence 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer honoree. Joe is the main leader of the Sunnyrock 4-H Club at Wards Berry Farm in Sharon.
Joe started a small 4-H rabbit club 37 years ago and it grew into one of the largest 4-H clubs in the state. Currently, the club offers 6 animal science projects to over 80 enrolled members. Joe is a true innovator and was the first volunteer in Massachusetts 4-H to set up a livestock leasing program in a very suburban area which then served as a model for the state. Growing up on a farm in Maine he learned to love animals and agriculture and selflessly shares his time and talents to pass this onto future generations.
Joe is known for his wonderful sense of humor and positive attitude. He has made his volunteer role of Educational and Program Director of Sunnyrock 4-H his full time work. He is responsible for the health and well being of the sheep, poultry, rabbits, goats and miniature horses as well as the educational and fundraising activities of the group. Volunteers have come and gone over the 37 years but Joe has the ability to recruit and train parents and other interested adults so there is always a great core group of volunteer 4-H leaders to guide and mentor the young people involved. He teaches the importance of teamwork, cooperation and a strong work ethic and stresses the value of every child and their own individual skills.
After more than 30 years away from being a student Joe went back to college and earned his Bachelor's degree in Psychology. He is a lifelong learner and is always searching for better ways to accomplish his goals and projects. Joe's work is a constant reminder that the life-changing 4-H youth development experience would be impossible without caring adult mentors like him.
The award will be officially presented to Joe at the 4-H Heritage Luncheon this fall at the National 4-H Youth Center in Chevy Chase, MD.