LAFAYETTE — Brett Wicke Bordelon grew up as a “4-H kid,” embracing the club’s slogan of learning by doing.
As a volunteer with the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana, she shares her love of the outdoors with Cameron Parish 4-H students.
“I grew up with 4-H,” she said. “My father for over 30 years was a county agent, a 4-H agent. My mom also was volunteered with them as we were growing up … I wanted to be able to come back and be able to help give those kids the same experience I had.”
For her volunteer work with children, Bordelon received the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children’s First Lady Award on Thursday.
The award program recognizes those who positively affect the lives of the state’s children.
First lady Supriya Jindal surprised Bordelon with the award — and a rod and reel and other prizes — at her workplace at LHC Group in Lafayette on Thursday.
Bordelon, of Lake Charles, is employed as the company’s leadership development coordinator.
Bordelon’s work inspires an appreciation of the outdoors and encourages quality time between children and the adults in their lives, Jindal said.
“She’s done incredible things helping to motivate our youngsters to get involved in coastal preservation and protection, but also to just to go outside and enjoy the outdoors,” Jindal said Thursday.
Bordelon created a partnership between her local chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association of Louisiana and 4-H clubs in the Lake Charles area so volunteers could share their expertise with the students. The program has been duplicated by the CCA across the state.
Volunteers teach the students how to properly handle the fish, types of bait, places to go fishing, types of casting lines and how to cast.
“All of those things that you don’t see in a classroom,” Bordelon said.
Bordelon serves as president of the Lake Charles area chapter of CCA Louisiana and also coordinates the chapter’s annual “Trout Shootout,” a fishing tournament for children.
“The work that Brett has done on the 4-H program alone has made such a difference in the lives of so many kids around the state,” stated Julie Grunewald, assistant director of CCA Louisiana in a news release. “The best part is that it gets kids excited about being outdoors and they immediately go home to their parents and ask them to take them fishing … and that’s what we love to see.”
Bordelon admitted she was “speechless” after receiving the honor from Jindal.
“This is not just me,” she said about her work and acknowledged her CCA chapter, her friends, family and 4-H students involved.
“So y’all got to miss school today?” she joked with the three Cameron Parish 4-H students Thursday.
To them, Bordelon has been a role model on and off the water.
“She’s helpful and caring and someone you can look up to for anything,” said Maeleigh Conner, 11, a sixth-grader at Grand Lake High School.
“She’s a person you want to be around,” said Jakin Morales, 12, a seventh-grader at South Cameron High School.
Bordelon is the second “First Lady” award winner of 2011 and joins Louis “Louie” Tregre of Ponchatoula as a contender for the grand prize: a four-day cruise for two, compliments of Carnival Cruise Lines. Tregre was recognized in April for his work coaching Special Olympics athletes.
Jindal said a grand prize winner will be selected at the end of the year, and the foundation accepts nominations for “First Lady” awards at: http://www.JindalFoundation.org.