Published on 03/11/96

Paralympics Counting on 4-H'ers

When those inspiring athletes claim their Paralympic Games victories, they will celebrate under the watchful eyes of 70 Georgia 4-H'ers who volunteered to help with the Games.

"4-H is the only youth organization recruited to work at any event," said Jennie Jordan, 4-H and youth specialist with the University of Georgia Extension Service

"That alone shows a lot of what people believe about 4-H," Jordan said. "After all, 4-H is an international organization, just like the Paralympics."

The Paralympic Games is the second largest sporting event in the world. It's second only to the Olympics.

Disabled athletes from more than 100 countries will compete in 17 events in and around Atlanta Aug. 19-23.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for our 4-H'ers because the Paralympics always follow the Olympics at the same site," Jordan said.

Georgia 4-H'>ers have been learning about the Games since 4-H Council, a statewide event last June at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center.

The event was dedicated to the Paralympic Games. Competing athletes made speeches. And they simulated events that helped 4-H'ers see the skill and will of these world-class athletes, Jordan said.

"These athletes are so inspiring," she said. "We think it's important for the 4-H'ers to be a part of these events. They can see and meet people who have never let adversity slow them down."

The 4-H'ers will work at three venues: the equestrian events at the International Horse Park in Conyers, basketball in the Omni in Atlanta and shooting sports at Wolf Creek.

They will be ushers, ticket-takers, cleanup crew, escorts and concession stand workers. They will be housed at Camp Fulton, a 4-H camp in Atlanta.

Jordan will accept applications from 4-H'ers through April 1. The cost for meals, rides, rooms and other expenses is $75.

Adult volunteers are also needed. Get applications from the county Extension office.

"This is one of the most inspirational events our 4-H'ers will ever see," Jordan said. "We're also a little bit selfish. We want to show off to the world the incredible kids we have in the Georgia 4-H program."