By Alexis Newman
Among all of the 4-H volunteers who could qualify for a place in the Hall of Fame, two residents of Lincoln Parish were recently chosen to be inductees.
A recent ceremony was held honoring both the 2020 and 2021 inductees into the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame. Among the 24 people recognized, two came from Lincoln Parish: Melissa Echols for 2020 and Amie Skipper for 2021.
Skipper began her involvement with 4-H in 2009 as a volunteer for the shooting sports program, and since then she has contributed much more to the organization. She now coaches multiple shooting sports as well as hunting skills. In 2016, Skipper was appointed as a board member for the Lincoln Friends of NRA. In 2019, Skipper helped organize the “Shoot 4 Youth” fundraiser, which continues to raise approximately $52,000 each year.
Over the years, Skipper has helped in several areas that are essential to running the organization, such as transportation, volunteering, organizing events, recruiting members, and coordinating projects. She has also received numerous awards, including the Achievement Day 2006 Hospitality Award and the Lincoln Friend of 4-H Award in 2013 and 2015.
The other inductee, Melissa Echols, has been a volunteer for the 4-H Youth Development Program since 2006. Over the past 15 years, Echols amassed an impressive list of accomplishments. Among them, she has acted as photography project leader and adviser, service learning project leader, AgMagic station leader, school club adviser, chaperone and volunteer. She has also been the 4-H University contest adviser, a shooting sports instructor, an NRA and Wal-Mart grant application writer, a scholarship and records parish workshop leader and regional training presenter.
Echols started as a member of 4-H in 1983, and her experience as a member played a role in her decision to continue her involvement as a volunteer.
“Because I was very active in my 4-H Junior Leadership club, I knew the impact that the adult leaders have on the youth,” Echols said. “When my daughter joined 4-H in the 4th grade it gave me the perfect opportunity to pay it forward, and I continued with my son.”
Echols acknowledged that there are many other volunteers who also deserve recognition, but she also said that she is honored by her place in the Hall of Fame and is proud to be a leader of the current generation of 4-H members.
“I am very honored that Lincoln Parish even nominated me for induction into the 4-H Hall of Fame,” Echols said. “I feel it is both a blessing and a privilege that the parish and state 4-H leaders allow me the opportunity to work with the youth and to give back to the great organization that had such an impact on my life.”
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