Published on 04/14/14

National 4-H Council Recognizes Sen. Saxby Chambliss

By Merritt Melancon

National 4-H Council recognized Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) with the 4-H Champion for Kids Award today during a 4-H Congressional Breakfast on Capitol Hill. Chambliss received the award in honor of his work advancing 4-H youth development in Georgia.

Chambliss, of Moultrie, Ga., serves as co-chair of the U.S. Senate’s 4-H Caucus. A U.S. Senator since 2003 and in Congress since 1995, Chambliss grew up in Tennessee’s 4-H program and was inducted to the National 4-H Hall of Fame in 2009. He attributes his success as a public speaker and as a politician to early 4-H experiences, including giving his first public speech at school in Tracy City, Tenn.

"My first public speech was as a sixth-grader in a 4-H competition, standing on a table in the lunch room. Since then, I have delivered many speeches, but I will never forget that experience 4-H afforded me as a child. It is truly an honor to receive this award and a privilege to support the mission and principles of 4-H," Chambliss said.

Chambliss co-hosted the breakfast along with Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). The purpose of the event was to spotlight the importance of positive youth development programs in addressing urgent challenges facing America's youth. Congressional speakers included Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

“This is the first 4-H Congressional Breakfast for National 4-H Council and we were thrilled to have such great response from dozens of congressional leaders, including 10 who are 4-H alumni and know the power of positive youth development firsthand,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO of the National 4-H Council. “We were particularly pleased to have the chance to honor Senator Chambliss for his years of support as a true champion for youth.”

During the event, National 4-H Council thanked Congress for their support of positive youth development and recognized the Congressional 4-H alumni who in attendance.

Georgia 4-H, which is operated as part of University of Georgia Extension, currently serves more than 170,000 young Georgians each year through local 4-H club activities, youth challenge and development programs and environmental education programs. While 4-H was founded in the early 20th century to encourage the development of better farming and home management techniques, the program has evolved over the last 100 years. Today’s 4-H focuses on the development of youth leadership, public speaking and team building skills. In 2013, 4-H announced a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics campaign that would use its unique structure to encourage 1 million young Americans to choose careers in science and technology.

Many notable Georgians attribute their success at least in part to the time they spent in 4-H. Jennifer Nettles, female vocalist for the popular duo Sugarland, demonstrated the evaluation skills she learned in 4-H while selecting the top finalists in the new ABC singing competition show "Duets". Nettles received the National 4-H Alumni Medallion as did Nancy Grace, CNN Headline News commentator.


About 4-H

4-H is a community of seven million young people around the world learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills.

National 4-H Council is the private, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within the United States Department of Agriculture. In the U.S., the 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension implement 4-H programs through more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the U.S., 4-H programs operate through independent, country-led organizations in more than 50 countries.

Georgia 4-H is operated through UGA Extension in every county in Georgia. Georgia 4-H programs are open to students in fifth grade through high school who attend public and private schools and are home schooled. To learn more about Georgia 4-H, visit or find them on Facebook.

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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