Extension and Ag Research News


National 4-H Congress a Lifetime Experience

Four North Dakota youth attend the 4-H event held in Atlanta, Ga.

Attending the 2016 National 4-H Congress was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Marit Wang.

She was one of four North Dakota delegates to the National 4-H Congress. It’s a five-day conference held in Atlanta, Ga., that focuses on helping 4-H’ers develop leadership and other skills they can practice in their community and use in their adult life.

“I was able to meet some of the most outgoing 4-H’ers from around the country,” says Wang, a member of two 4-H clubs, the BC Blazers in Benson County and Ramsey Riders in Ramsey County. “This was a great opportunity to give back to the community and learn about the local Georgia culture. Overall, I enjoyed every aspect of this event, and I look forward to sharing my experience every way possible with 4-H clubs in my counties in hope that others will want to take part in this opportunity.”

Avery Breiland of Cass County, Isaac Joerger of Grand Forks County and Alexius Thorpe of Dickey County were the other three North Dakota delegates. They were among more than 900 youth from throughout the U.S. and its territories who attended the 96th National 4-H Congress.

This leadership experience provides a combination of educational, service and recreational opportunities. The delegates heard from motivational speakers and took part in community service projects. They also toured the World of Coca-Cola, CNN International, and many historic and modern Atlanta landmarks, including Centennial Olympic Park, Turner Field (home of the Atlanta Braves) and the home of Margaret Mitchell, the author of “Gone With the Wind.”

Eugen Schoenfeld, a Holocaust survivor, was Wang’s favorite speaker.

“His educational presentation about his journey of survival during World War II and the Holocaust was something I will never forget,” she says.

This event also was a learning experience for Breiland.

“National 4-H Congress taught me many lessons that I will apply to the rest of my life,” she says. “I had many opportunities to learn how to be a successful leader and how to be more independent. I will take these skills home to help others and myself.”

She adds: “The National 4-H Congress has been the most rewarding experiences I’ve had, and I hope many others get privileged with these experiences the same way I did.”

A visit to the Atlanta History Museum for a service project was a highlight of her experience.

“I learned about invasive species of ivy,” she says. “We were tasked with removing an invasive species that was causing problems to native plants there.”

Meeting other delegates and hearing about their 4-H experiences was one of Thorpe’s and Joerger’s favorite parts of the National 4-H Congress.

“The 4-H Congress is a 4-H event that every serious 4-H’er should attend,” Joerger says.

“The National 4-H Congress is an incredible leadership development event for North Dakota 4-H’ers,” says North Dakota State University Extension Service Director Chris Boerboom, who also is chair of the National 4-H Congress Board. “When I visited with our delegates at the gala banquet, they were so enthusiastic about their experience. I only hope that we can support more 4-H’ers to attend 4-H Congress in the future to benefit from this exceptional program.”

The North Dakota 4-H Foundation provided the funding for the North Dakota delegates to attend this leadership experience. Cindy Olson, a 4-H shooting sports program volunteer and administrative assistant in the NDSU Extension Service’s Ramsey County office, chaperoned the delegates.

NDSU Agriculture Communication - Dec. 13, 2016

Source:Rachelle Vettern, 701-231-7541, rachelle.vettern@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, 701-231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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