More than 700 sixth- through eighth-grade Georgia 4-H’ers gathered for the annual State 4-H Junior Conference at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga., Nov. 23-24.
The annual conference is planned by the Georgia 4-H District Junior Boards of Directors, with each district board comprised of eight grade students who are elected by their district peers. This year’s “Where Dreams Come True” theme focused on science-related topics tied to popular children’s movies.
Sara Wasserman, former 4-H’er and cast member in the Disney College Program, served as the invited speaker. Highlighting the professional skills she gained through 4-H Project Achievement, Wasserman shared how her involvement in the Georgia 4-H program prepared her to achieve her professional dreams.
“This is the premier event for middle school-aged 4-H'ers,” said Jeffrey Burke, State 4-H events and programs manager. “Junior Conference brings together 4-H delegations from across the state of Georgia, giving the chance for young people to meet new friends across county lines.”
Junior Conference attendees may exhibit a booth at the exhibition fair to share more about their project achievement work in their communities. They also participate in service projects by creating sketchbooks and packing art supplies, writing thank you cards to veterans, preparing healthy dog treats for humane societies, making quilts for senior citizens and planting flowers for nursing home residents. Educational workshops, community service and recreation are led by high school-aged teen leaders.
Each year since 2002, 4-H’ers have collected pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald Houses of Georgia. This year, more than 10,000 pounds of pop tabs, equating to more than $2,500, were donated to the Ronald McDonald Houses on behalf of Georgia 4-H.
Georgia 4-H’s performing arts group, Clovers & Co., provided energetic entertainment on Saturday night. The evening ended with a selection of movie viewings, board games, and a dance and pizza party. During closing assembly, two attendees received $300 summer camp scholarships in a raffle, the top counties with pop tabs collections received awards and the top winners of the talent show performed for the entire delegation.
Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth-leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 235,000 people annually through University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org or contact your local Extension office.