BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A couple Bridgewater residents were named outstanding volunteers by the Somerset County 4-H for 2018.
They, along with several other Somerset County residents, were recognized July 18 during a 4-H Association meeting, as well as a dinner reception in their honor July 25.
Betty Sommerville, of Bridgewater, has been with the 4-H program for 25 years, starting as the leader of her son's Prep club. She works to bring 4-H to the kids with a variety of interests in the arts, and started a 4-H Clown Club, Country Line Dancing Club, Puppetry Club, a Magic Guild, a Theater Club and an Anime Club.
According to the release, the Anime Club holds an annual mini-anime convention called "CloverCon," which is open to the public.
In addition, the release said, for 18 years, Sommerville has been superintendent of the 4-H Arts Tent at the fair.
As a member of the Somerset County 4-H Association, Sommerville has been the chairperson of the 4-H Fair Entertainment Committee for 18 years, and books family friendly acts to give new artists a chance to engage with the audience. She is also a driving force behind 4-H Association fundraisers, like the Rummage Sale Book Room and the Clover Tricky Tray Basket Auction.
Sommerville also coordinates spring and fall club camps at the 4-H State Camp in Stokes State Forest.
In addition, the release said, Sommerville has organized Puppetry Day for several years, and facilitates workshops at 4-H TOPS camp.
Also honored was Melissa Smutko, of Bridgewater, who started in the 4-H as a fourth grader. In 2014, the release said, she became a Junior Club leader of the 4-H Crazy Frog Hoppers Double Dutch Club, and helped many younger members learn the craft.
Smutko was a TOPS camp counselor for years, and officially became a member of the Somerset County 4-H Association in 2016, during which time she has been an intricate part of the planning and running of the Clover Tricky Tray Basket Auction for 10 years.
"I am always happy and have so much fun working at all the different 4-H fundraisers," she said in the release. "I love working with the children and with all the friends I've made. Being a volunteer in 4-H has really made me come out of my shell of being shy."
Also honored were Judy Hennessy, formally of Pluckemin, and Alyson Weiss, of Flagtown.