Published on 05/31/11

Georgia 4-H participates in White House initiative

By April Reese Sorrow

In March, President Barack Obama charged his administration to participate in 100 roundtables to give youth across the country a chance to talk and debate relevant issues. On May 20, a group of senior Georgia 4-H’ers participated in one of those roundtables at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Ga.

“As soon as I saw information come out on President Obama’s roundtables, I just knew Georgia 4-H would be an excellent host,” said Richie Knight, the Georgia 4-H program specialist who organized the event. “For over 100 years Georgia 4-H has been empowering youth to identify community problems and work together to find solutions.”

The roundtable addressed how high school and college students could help their peers live healthier lifestyles. Students from across the state came together to talk about making healthy food choices, choosing water over sugary drinks, becoming active, protecting their skin and making nutrition labels and portion sizes more important to young people.

The group suggested teaching incoming college freshman how to prepare healthy meals in a dorm room and how to cook on a budget. Advocating water consumption, the group suggested students travel with a gallon of water in tow and try to finish it off by the end of the day.

“The problems identified and the solutions posed by this group of youth were a tremendous example of the high level of dedication that Georgia 4-H’ers show in improving our state,” Knight said.

President Obama appointed Hobby Stripling to attend the Georgia roundtable. Stripling is the Georgia director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.

“We were so blessed to be chosen as one of President Obama’s 100 roundtables, and we were even more blessed to have a federal appointee join us,” Knight said. “Mr. Stripling was a great asset to our session, and we are very grateful that he could attend.”

The roundtable participants are now members of the Georgia 4-H Healthy Living Task Force, which includes University of Georgia Cooperative Extension personnel, volunteers and senior 4-H members.

Georgia 4-H will soon kick-off Healthy Choices for Life, a program focusing on nutrition, fitness and decision-making designed to help Georgia’s youth live healthier.

For more information about Georgia 4-H’s Healthy Living programs, visit

April R. Sorrow is a science writer with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.

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