Clare County 4-H’er is buzzing with ideas and action for her community and her future
By Katie Alexander
A Harrison, Mich. 4-H’er “buzzes” when it comes to stepping up and making a difference in her community.
About five years ago, the organization that operated the milk booth at the Clare County Fair was unable to continue in its role. The milk booth gives out a variety of dairy products for a donation and the money is then used by Clare County 4-H for youth scholarships to Exploration Days, camp and other workshops. Left without the operator, the Clare County 4-H counsel was left to look for an alternative way to maintain the booth.
Eleven-year-old Remi Romanowski (now 16 years-old) volunteered to run the booth and has kept the milk flowing at the fair every summer since then.
“Remi stepped up and said she would run the booth, get volunteers and make sure the milk was ordered. She showed a lot of leadership,” said Michelle Neff, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator.
As part of her responsibilities, Remi interacts with all the booth’s suppliers, managing product orders and deliveries. This means working with a local grocery store to handle the milk donation from Bareman Dairy, Inc. and with Yoplait USA, Inc. for the donated yogurt. The MSU Dairy Store donates cheese and Schwan’s ice-cream is donated from Schwan’s.
In addition to maintaining relationships with the vendors, Remi manages volunteers from about 20 4-H clubs to make sure the booth is staffed and volunteers are trained. She also manages all of the funds from milk booth sales.
“It’s one less responsibility the 4-H counsel has to worry about,” Neff said.
Along with volunteering within 4-H, Remi runs her own honey business called Buzz Box Honey, with help from her father. Remi said the inspiration for the honey operation came to her after she saw a presentation about bees by a local nursery representative during a 4‑H club meeting.
Remi and her father sought out the presenter after the meeting to learn more about the business. The young entrepreneur now harvests one to five hives per season, then bottles and sells the honey herself. A local chiropractor office and a donut shop promote Remi’s honey.
“I learned that in the community I live in, because it is small, word [about a business] can spread quickly,” Remi said. “I get to know a lot more people. It’s great to live in a close-knit community and it’s been very positive to hear others talking about what I can provide.”Remi’s latest entrepreneurial effort has involved working with her aunt to use the honey to create a soap product. The two now work together to make and sell the all-natural soap.
Remi is part of the nationwide 4-H Revolution of Responsibility campaign. The campaign is an effort by youth across the United States to identify community issues and take action to defeat the standing obstacles and solve the problem. The aim of the uncommon youth efforts is to create a culture‑changing revolution nationwide by building strong, positive communities.