National 4-H Congress
Posted: March 5, 2015
Each year, 4-H members from across the United States and its territories come together to participate in the event, which includes educational, service-learning and recreational opportunities. National 4-H Congress has been a 4-H tradition for more than 90 years. Forty-four states and Puerto Rico were represented in Atlanta, with approximately 800 delegates in attendance. Pennsylvania had the 6th largest delegation this year!
Friday night opened with the theme, Passport to Excellence: Ride to Opportunity. The guest speaker, Eric Chester, spoke about the importance of grabbing hold of today and living every second, knowing that we have entire lives to lead and shouldn't fret over the small things. He illustrated this idea by stretching a tape measure across the stage and showing us how miniscule just four years is in the grand scheme of things.
After the opening assembly, delegates attended the Get Acquainted assembly, during which they got to know one another better and exchanged pins, most of which are representative of the delegates' state or territory. These activities were designed to provide an opportunity for participants to forge new friendships that may last long after Congress.
Saturday morning’s guest speaker, Byron Garrett from Life Works Entertainment, encouraged delegates to take a creative approach to living a full and prosperous life and suggested a detailed way of looking at their lives using the ABCs.
The day continued with the theme, Passport to Excellence: Ticket to Learning, which included educational workshops such as healthy gourmet, leadership, Pilates, agri-science and the power of service learning. That evening, delegates were treated to an international dinner and dance, where they experienced different cultures by sampling food from countries such as Germany, Canada, China, England, France and Italy.
Passport to Excellence: Capture the Culture was the theme for Sunday, and events included a moving presentation by Holocaust survivor, Dr. Eugen Schoenfeld, professor emeritus, Georgia State University, Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. Dr. Schoenfeld shared his experiences as a young Jewish boy who was captured and forced to work in a concentration camp. Delegates then enjoyed an evening of culture at the Atlanta History Center that consisted of music, dance, comedy and various displays throughout the museum.
On Monday morning, delegates took part in the Passport to Excellence: First Class Service community-service event. Participants were assigned to various projects around Atlanta, such as helping to organize books to be sent to recipients in Africa, assisting in classrooms in local schools, and cleaning up parks and gardens.
In the afternoon, delegates toured various sites throughout Atlanta, such as the Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta Zoo and The World of Coca Cola. The day ended with the Congress Gala, which consisted of a formal dinner, a dance and guest speaker, Mohammed Massaquoi, co-founder of Higher Altitude Inc., a tech company created to build purpose-driven apps to empower people. Prizm, the first app, is a social discovery platform designed to inspire students ages 13 and up to pursue their goals.
The theme of Tuesday's final day was Passport to Excellence: Return with Results, which featured an address by Dan Clark, CEO, author, professor, songwriter/recording artist, and award-winning athlete. Clark, who is a primary contributing author to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and author of “Puppies for Sale,” shared his personal story and emphasized how perseverance and patience can help young adults have success in the world.
National 4-H Congress is considered to be the capstone event of a member’s 4-H experience. It is a premier program that 4-H’ers can attend only once. More information about National 4-H Congress is available online at www.national4-hcongress.com .