Local youth attend Tennessee 4-H Congress
Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 8:00 pm
The annual event, which took place April 1-4, gave 4-H’ers the opportunity to learn about the day-to-day functioning of state government by assuming the roles of state representatives and senators. Since its beginning in 1948, 4-H Congress has given some 32,400 4-H’ers and volunteer leaders firsthand experience in state government.
About 450 high-school-age 4-H’ers from all over the state met to become legislators and form a “junior” state Congress. They had an opportunity to debate and vote on youth-oriented bills in the House and Senate chambers. In addition to learning about government and their state capitol, delegates competed in public speaking, poster and essay contests. 4-H’ers also competed in the leadership and citizenship projects for college scholarship money and trips to the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta. The theme for this meeting and for all 4-H programs in 2012 was “Exceeding Expectations.”
“Tennessee 4-H Congress is one of the highlights for our 4-H program,” said Una Johnson, Obion County University of Tennessee Extension 4-H agent. “The event helps youth better understand government and the legislative process and how they can be a part of this citizenship experience in order to make a difference.”
In addition to taking part in project competition and learning about state government, delegates participated in a number of other activities, including the Tennessee 4-H Congress Pageant, a luncheon on the General Jackson Showboat, the election of the 2012 Tennessee 4-H Congress officers, the inaugural ball and a service-learning project.
The theme for the 2012 Tennessee 4-H Congress service project was “Our Hands to a Larger Service.” Delegates were asked to collect items for the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (Veterans Hospital) in Nashville. This healthcare facility is one of several across the state providing services and care to veterans in the Middle Tennessee area.
Four scholarships were awarded from area businesses, including Commercial Bank, Reelfoot Bank, First Citizens National Bank and the Union City J’Cettes. These scholarships allowed Obion County youth to attend TN 4-H Congress and gain vital life skills.
Representing Obion County at the 2012 Tennessee 4-H Congress were 4-H All Star member Zack Crews, 4-H Honor Club members Whittney Lee and Lauren Kendall, and Senior High 4-H’er Kealy Green. Also in attendance was Logan Stephens, who was elected Speaker of the House at the 2011 Tennessee 4-H Congress event. Obion County 4-H volunteer Kim Crews of Troy chaperoned the 4-H’ers during this event.
4-H is the Youth Development program for University of Tennessee Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship and service learning to more than 335,000 youth in grades 4-12. 4-H also has more than 15,000 adult volunteers. UT Extension is one of four units in the UT Institute of Agriculture.
Published in The Messenger 4.17.12