4-H State Leadership Conference

Over 500 young people descended on State College, PA during the last weekend of January. They were all in town for the PA 4-H State Leadership Conference. The weekend was an opportunity for 4-H’ers to come together for leadership training, networking, and learning experiences.

Northampton County 4-H had six delegates in attendance.

Northampton County 4-H had six delegates in attendance.

The weekend, themed “Lights…Camera…Leadership”, kicked off with welcome addresses by College of Agricultural Sciences’ Dean Roush, Director of Extension Dennis Calvin, Director of 4-H Christy Bartley, and State Dairy Princess Halee Wasson. Cumberland County 4-H Educator Logan Hall gave the opening address, using the film “The Great Gatsby” to explain the power of quiet leadership.

Saturday was a full day of leadership workshops, including topics such as stress management, interview skills, being a role model, parliamentary procedure, meeting planning, and more.

While the older teens were attending these workshops on Saturday, the Junior Conference convened with 10-13 year olds. This is a one-day version of the larger conference to give younger members a small glimpse into what they can expect to see when they are older. Workshops like confidence building, teambuilding, and public speaking were presented to this very enthusiastic group of budding 4-H’ers.

One of the highlights of the Conference is always the keynote speakers.

Saturday keynote Davey Muise talked about his early life experience of being abandoned by drug abusing parents and the influence of his adoptive parents on his childhood and love of music. Muise captivated the audience through his later struggles with depression, finding himself, and eventually reaching his goal of joining the band, Vanna.

The event concluded on Sunday with an ode to 4-H service.

Kevin Laue inspired the audience on Sunday with his incredible story of being born with one arm, and going on to become a basketball player throughout high school and college. An advocate for other young people with disabilities, Laue encouraged the teens to always do for others, stating, “If not you, then who?” Laue called up on stage one 4-H true leader in the room, Cavan McIntyre-Brewer, who started Socks for Vets to bring support to veterans around the country.

Delegates were also recognized on Sunday for shoes they had collected for the PA 4-H Statewide Service Project, Shoebox Recycling. The Penn State Collegiate 4-H Club also addressed the teens about the possibilities for joining the service organization at a college level.