Two local 4-H'ers headed to National Congress

November 18, 2003|JENNIFER BRUMMETT

Lincoln County Extension Agent for 4-H Steve Howerton remembers his trip to National 4-H Congress years ago and is anticipating a similar trek to Atlanta later this month.

"It was the best trip I ever went on," Howerton says. "Now I get to go with them this year as one of three adult chaperones with (a) group of 25."

And with him will be two local 4-H participants: his daughter, Joanna, a junior at Lincoln County High School, and junior Beth Gooch of Danville High School.

The group, whittled down from more than 80 applicants, will be in Georgia Nov. 28-Dec. 2. The other two chaperones with the Kentucky delegation will be Jann Burks, a state 4-H specialist, and Kathy Lauer of Campbell County, who represents the leaders' council.


Howerton says 4-H participants from all over the state will go to Atlanta, where they plan on dining together at the Hard Rock Caf there.

Attendees must complete at least a bronze level in the 4-H honors program in order to go through the interview process that leads to National 4-H Congress. Silver and gold levels also are attainable by individual 4-H participants.

"The Kentucky 4-H senior honors program replaced what 4-H'ers used to do, which was record books," Howerton explains, adding record books are delineations in book form of the projects with which the individual 4-H participant has been active.

"The junior 4-H'ers, 9 to 13 years old, still do record books."

To achieve a bronze level, Howerton says, 4-H participants aim to get as many points as they can. Part of the points come from projects and activities.

More points come from how long the student has been involved with 4-H as well as the number of projects the individual works on each year.

Other categories for acquiring points are 4-H communication activities - giving 4-H talks and demonstrations - and exhibits.

The latter includes diverse areas such as livestock, clothing, foods, vegetables, tobacco and hay, which are displayed at a country fair or at some similar venue.

"They get points for other activities they participate in, such as a livestock judging team, teen confrence and 4-H camp," Howerton adds.

"They also pick up points for leadership and citizenship - if they served as a leader, have done citizenship or community service projects for their community, or are helping younger 4-H'ers."

To get to the interview process on the road to National 4-H Congress, applicants must write a one-page essay telling about their most rewarding leadership experiences through 4-H.

"Going to the National 4-H Congress is one of the ultimate levels you can reach as a Kentucky 4-H'er," Howerton says, adding the interview process was done last spring.

Applicants, most of them juniors and seniors in high school, sent in videotapes for entertainment. His daughter sent in a video exhibiting her piano-playing prowess.

"She's been selected to play piano at the closing event," Howerton says.

While in Atlanta, participants from the 50 states as well as Puerto Rico will attend workshops with outstanding speakers from across the country.

Pianist Dan Clark of Iowa and Miss America Ericka Dunlap are a couple of the speakers.

For the last few years, organizers of the congress have encouraged participants to bring money to donate toward a Habitat for Humanity house being built in Atlanta.

It will be called "The House that 4-H Built," and tentatively is scheduled for completion around 2007.

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