Marty Zwifka and Erik Seielstad honored by Cooperative Extension

Provided photos: (Left) Kristina Gabalski, 4-H program coordinator, presents Erik Seielstad of Albion with the “Outstanding 4-H Leader of the Year” award. (Right) Marty Zwifka, right, is presented with the “Friend of the Extension” award by Zack Welker, president of the board of the directors for the Extension.

Posted 6 January 2023 at 9:42 am

Press Release, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orleans County

ALBION – Two long-time volunteers were recognized with special awards during the Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension’s annual meeting last month at Maison Albion.

Marty Zwikfa of Albion was presented with the Friend of Extension Award. He has served as manager of the Orleans County 4-H Fair for the past six years.

Zack Welker, OCCCE Board of Directors president, commended Zwifka for his dedication to Cooperative Extension and his ability to solve problems, especially during fair week.

“Anything we need at the fair,” Welker noted, “… a lot of things, that if they break during the fair and are magically fixed…. Marty often is the one who is in charge of that.”

Welker said Marty’s expertise was especially helpful during the uncertainties of the past few years during the pandemic.

“It has been quite the ride,” Zwifka said of his experience. “Most people don’t realize how much work goes into a fair, I couldn’t do it without a team, the fair board is a team.”

Zwifka also thanked his father-in-law, Mike Elam, for being his “right-hand man” during the fair.

“I am going to miss it,” Zwifka said of the fair manager post.

Erik Seielstad of Albion received the Outstanding 4-H Leader of the Year award. Seielstad formed the Orleans County 4-H Robotics Club in 2011 to provide an opportunity for Orleans County youth to participate in the FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology Robotics Competitions.

In presenting the award, Kristina Gabalski, 4-H Program Coordinator, said, “The vision of the robotics program is to provide an opportunity for students to learn and demonstrate skills in leadership, responsibility, citizenship and life skills. In addition to team building, problem solving and developing an inventor mindset, Erik makes sure that robotics youth are actively involved in community service. This includes programs at local libraries, farmers markets and the 4-H fair.”

The FIRST Lego League team – the Robusters –  recently won the prestigious “Core Values Award” at a qualifying tournament in Spencerport. The team will be advancing to the FLL Championship in Buffalo on Feb. 18. Seielstad brought the trophy the team won and shared it with guests as he accepted his award.

The FRC-4093 Hardwired team consisting of older youth is currently preparing for the robotics competition coming up in March at the Rochester Institute of Technology.