Record number of White County 4-Hers attend 4-H Congress
by Kim Swindell Wood | April 12, 2018 6:41 am
A dozen White County 4-Hers recently attended the 71st Tennessee 4-H Congress. That’s a record number of local students to attend the annual event, which gives participants the opportunity to learn about state government by assuming the roles of state representatives and senators. Since its beginning in 1948, 4-H Congress has given some 37,000 4-H’ers and volunteer leaders firsthand experience in state government.
“Tennessee 4-H Congress is one of the highlights for our 4-H program,” said RoseAnn Dodson, White County 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 project competition and learning about state government, delegates will participate in a number of other activities, including the Tennessee 4-H Congress Pageant, a luncheon on the General Jackson Showboat, the election of the 2019 Tennessee 4-H Congress officers, the inaugural ball, and a service-learning project.
White County 2018 Tennessee 4-H Congress delegates are Dalton Bilbrey, Max Bouldin, Raylee Colwell, Justin Davenport, Daniel Gentry, Bo Hartman, Nick Plunkett, Morgan Quick, Kassidy Roberts, Rhett Robinson, Kyla Sparks, and Maria Templeton. Volunteers who accompanied the delegates were Annette King and Wendy Quick.
Approximately 400 high-school age 4-Hers 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 contests, and essay contests. 4-Hers 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 was “Tennessee 4-H: Branching From our Roots,” which is also the theme for all 4-H programs in 2018.
The theme for the 2018 Tennessee 4-H Congress service project was “Our Hands to Larger Service.” Delegates collected items to benefit families who are being served by the Ronald McDonald House, in Nashville. Tennessee 4-H Congress delegates collected more than 3,000 items, which will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House to benefit children and families.
“Service opportunities are a very important component of the 4-H program,” said Dr. Richard Clark, assistant dean and department head for 4-H Youth Development/ALEC. “Last year, 4-Hers statewide performed 627,396 hours of volunteer service at an estimated value of $12.6 million. Through the service-learning projects, our 4-Hers learn that they can really make a difference in their communities.”
4-H is the Youth Development program for University of Tennessee Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship, and service learning to more than 179,000 youth in grades 4-12. 4-H also has more than 5,000 adult volunteers. UT Extension is one of four units in the UT Institute of Agriculture. Contact RoseAnn Dodson at (931) 836-3348 to find out more about the 4-H program or to become a volunteer.