Pennsylvania youth become "catalyst of change" at 2011 National 4-H Congress
Posted: January 20, 2012
Local youth were part of a 40-member delegation of young leaders who represented Pennsylvania at the recent National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, GA.
The National 4-H Congress is an annual convocation of 4-H members from across the United States and its territories to participate in an event that includes exciting educational, service learning and recreational opportunities. Local participants include:
- Madeline Martin, of West Grove, with the Wiggles and Wags Dog Club.
- Cecilia Stuetz, of Gilbertsville, with the Noble Clovers 4-H.
Amy Gregor, Pennsylvania 4-H Youth Program Management Coordinator, said the congress was an excellent opportunity for youth to enhance their leadership skills.
"It was another wonderful National 4-H Congress experience," she said. "And we should all be proud of the 40 awesome Pennsylvania 4-Hers who represented our state this year."
The congress, which carried a theme of "Become a Catalyst of Change!", opened with motivational speaker Dan Thurmon, who entertained the audience with comedy, juggling and acrobatics. Afterwards, delegates participated in the ever-popular pin exchange where they bring pins representing their state and get acquainted by meeting new people and exchanging their pins.
One session featured a message from National 4-H Council member Maggie Bergin, who outlined the "Join the Revolution of Responsibility" project, a national initiative that encourages 4-H members, educators, and volunteers to tell their 4-H stories. Chosen stories will be featured on a National 4-H website.
Afterward, delegates participated in informational and skill-building workshops. Jennifer Fetter, watershed youth development educator for Penn State Extension in Dauphin County, presented "Living Upstream – Use 4-H Water Science to Be a Good Citizen". That evening, delegates were treated to an International Dinner and Dance, sampling food from Germany, Canada, China, England, France and Italy.
Another presentation, "Become a Catalyst to Inspire Others," included an emotional presentation by Holocaust survivor Dr. Eugen Schoenfeld, a professor emeritus at Georgia State University who also serves on the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. Dr. Schoenfeld shared his personal experiences as a young Jewish boy who was captured and forced to work in a concentration camp.
"The message he encouraged us all to take with us was that we are all human, but being humane is what makes us who we are," Gregor said. "That evening delegates were treated to "An Evening of Culture" at the Atlanta History Center that consisted of music, dance, comedy and various displays throughout the museum."
As part of the "Become a Catalyst for Service to Others" sessions, delegates dedicated the second National 4-H Habitat for Humanity House to a family in the Atlanta area. These houses are funded by 4-Hers' donations collected by the Clover House project, a National 4-H Congress service project.
Youth also were assigned to various service projects around Atlanta, including constructing wreaths for nursing homes, making tray favors for Meal on Wheels and writing and addressing letters to servicemen and women. The day ended with a formal dinner, dance and an appearance from Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan.
The wrap-up theme for the congress was "Become a Catalyst and Pay It Forward". Dan Clark, CEO, author, professor, songwriter/recording artist and award-winning athlete as well as a primary contributing author to the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series and author of "Puppies for Sale," was the guest speaker.
"Every year, Dan delivers an amazing, impactful and very insightful message," Gregor said. "While his message always focuses on being a positive and contributing member of society, he always ties it in to the 'Head-Heart-Hands-Health' mission of 4-H."
Pennsylvania 4-H is coordinated by Penn State Extension and the College of Agricultural Sciences.