4-H 5k & the future of photojournalism

Posted 10/23/19

HORTONVILLE, NY — Sunday, October 13 was the morning that Small Town Country 4-H came face to face with students from the famed Eddie Adams Workshop during the local 4-H chapter’s second …

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4-H 5k & the future of photojournalism


HORTONVILLE, NY — Sunday, October 13 was the morning that Small Town Country 4-H came face to face with students from the famed Eddie Adams Workshop during the local 4-H chapter’s second annual “Live. Love. Serve.” 5k run. The run brought participants along the backroads bordering the whispering tranquility of Callicoon Creek and through the small hamlet, as the seasons once again began to transition in one of nature’s inexorable rites of passage.

Hortonville records its place in the history books as the birthplace of Frederick Cook, the noted explorer who claimed to be the first man to reach the North Pole on April 21, 1908.

Meanwhile over in neighboring Jeffersonville, NY, the community hosted the 32nd annual Eddie Adams Workshop (October 11–14), during which 100 of the top up-and-coming shooters in the world are selected on the merit of their work, thus helping to ensure the future of documenting events around the globe.

Adams (June 12, 1933–September 19, 2004) covered 13 wars zones from Korea to Kuwait in his varied career, and is perhaps best known for being awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography and a World Press Photo award in 1969 for a shot recording the brutal summary execution of Viet Cong suspect Nguyen Van Lem, by Nguyen Ngoc Loan, a South Vietnamese major general and chief of the national police during the Tet Offense of 1968.

The 4-H 5k run was far from any battlefield on that sunny day in Western Sullivan County, but the spirit of competition to see which of the 53 registered runners crossed the finish line in first place ruled the event.

Doing the math, last year there were a reported 25-some runners, so the numbers had doubled.

While most folks think of runners as thinclads, that’s during the summer months. By mid-October, mittens, caps, sweatshirts and leggings were the order of the day, although a few hardy souls stripped down to the basics, perhaps recalling warmer weather.

The top-ten overall 5K finish list: (1) Erick Sellstrom 20:58, (2) Austin Nystrom 22:45.2, (3) Bill Schneider 22:46.1, (4) Doug Woods 23:01.9, (5) Rosario Gennaro 23:42.9, (6)  Dylan Scardefield 23:50.6, (7) Kristy Sigelakis 23:51.7, (8) Sean Welsh 24:08.4, (9) Byrce Bressler 24:12.4, (10) Karl Bressler 24:12.7

The top-ten overall walkers: (1) Martin Nowak 28:50.0, (2) Karen Ufret 39:11.2, (3) Karen Reilly 46:55.6, (4) Carmen Rivera 47:08.1, (5) Victoria Fairbaim 47:27.9, (6) Jake Sheldon 48:35.3, (7) Vanessa March 48:37.9, (8) Edna Simpson 50:06.9, (9) Casey Ciraulo 50:13.8, (10) Adrienne Davis 50:14.2.

The youngest male (12 and under age group) to place first was Dylan Scardefield, 10, of Callicoon (23:50.6) while in the 60 to 69 age category, Callicoon Centers’ Doug Woods, 62, took first place honors (23:01.9).

Sammy Hellerer (27:11.7) came first in the females 12-and-under bracket, and Cheryl Hinkley ranked first in the 60 to 69 set (35:13.2)

Erick Sellstrom, 48, of Liberty took the first-place overall trophy, after starting running in about 1990.

“You’re just out there, it’s the freedom, and I just enjoy going out running every day,” he said.                              

Doug Woods of Callicoon Center is another familiar face on the local running circuit, whether it uphill, downhill of mostly flat.

He began running in 2003 at the age of 45 and has competed in fivee NYC marathons, and he recalled about his first race in the Big Apple, “I did a lot of things wrong but I got it done,” and of Sunday’s 5K, “We had a good turnout.”

Father-and-son team Josh Tanner, 38, of Callicoon (20th overall at 27:51.5 and first in the 30 to 39 male age group) and his son Silas, 8, crossed the finish line running side-by-side, earning Silas third place in the 12-and-under bracket.

“We just decided to do it this morning,” said the elder Tanner, adding, “I didn’t exactly win, but he does it all the time… He really pushed hard and was about ready to pass out. It was fun for both of us.”

Kristy Sigelakis, 40, of Jeffersonville, NY was the first woman to break the electronic tape at the finish line after starting to run last year.

The 1997 grad of the former Jeffersonville-Youngsville High School works in local county law enforcement as a probation officer, and serves as living proof the old adage that while you might want to run from the coppers, you’re going to get caught.

“It was a great to win at 40,” she said. “It was my best time ever. Every race I seem to be doing better and better, which is good.”

Asked what’s it’s like to push yourself to the edge, Sigelakis, replied, “You’re pushing your body to do something that you didn’t really think you can do… I run on behalf of our department.”

A couple of the 2019 Eddie Adams Workshop students were part of a team tasked with covering the daily goings-on at the Mountain Ash Farm in Callicoon, a fourth generation farming family that specializes in hay, cage-free brown eggs, roasting chickens, raw honey and homemade jams and jellies.

During the Small Town Country 4-H 5K, as part of their assignment, they focused on Jenny Phelps, one of the race organizers and her quiet-spoken daughter Maylee, a member of the local 4-H group.

Hope Alvarez of Denton, TX was encouraged by her photojournalism professor to apply to the workshop, and in July, “I got the email, saying congratulations, I was accepted.”

Her take on shadowing the Phelps farming family over the weekend?

“It was pretty nice to get to know them, they welcomed us into their home, and it was really interesting…” to observe the mother-daughter relationship.

And of the Eddie Adams Workshop?

“It is very intense… I’m actually here,” replied the 23-year student who aspires to “get more into long-term documentation.”

Adil Boukind hails from France and came to the workshop from Montreal, the Canadian province of Quebec.

“The workshop is very intense, you don’t sleep a lot,” said the 30-year student, adding, “It’s exciting, you’re among amazing photographers… You learn a lot by just being around them, it’s great.

Boukind has a broad view of the reality of today’s world of photojournalism, and hopes to land a job with one of the lofty big dogs such as the National Geographic, the Guardian or the New York Times.

“As a photographer, you need to educate people about your job… People don’t understand how much time we spend in the field and on the computer,” he said.

And so the torch of photojournalism passes from the old guard to the next generation, fueled by the passion to document the world and its diverse peoples, whether going about their daily lives or in seemingly never-ceasing conflict.

4-h, run, hortonville


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