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Pottawatomie County OSU Extension

Oklahoma 4-H delegation returns from National 4-H Congress

Oklahoma 4-H delegation returns from National 4-H Congress

Left to Right: Amy Larson, Cathleen Taylor, Rachel Dockrey

By Trisha Gedon

STILLWATER, Okla. – A group of Oklahoma 4-H’ers did not have an opportunity to munch on leftover turkey and dressing this year after Thanksgiving. Instead, they traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to take part in one of the 4-H program’s premier experiences.

Amy Larson and Rachel Dockrey Pottawatomie County 4-H’ers served as delegates to the 96th National 4-H Congress. Oklahoma’s delegation of 18 club members joined more than 1,000 other 4-H’ERS from across the country Nov. 25-29 for a mix of educational, service-learning and recreational opportunities. This year’s theme was “Excite, Spark, Ignite.”

“I got to learn about other cultures through hands on activities and cultural night activities.  This is something that a small town girl from Tecumseh never gets to experience.” Said Larson of her experience at National Congress. 

“I enjoyed learning how 4-Hers can make an impact.  Over the last 5 years, National Congress delegates have helped build 5 houses in the Atlanta metro area with Habitat for Humanity.  4-Hers are making a difference in all communities.” Said Dockrey. 

For nearly a century, 4-H’ers from all parts of the country have gathered to celebrate the successes and accomplishments of 4-H at this national event in one of the country’s largest cities. Held for many years in Chicago, National Congress also took place in Orlando, Florida, and Memphis, Tennessee. National 4-H Congress has called Atlanta home since 1998.

In addition to Oklahoma’s delegates attending National Congress, Oklahoma also was represented by Garfield County 4-H’er Madison Deeds, who took the stage and sang as part of the entertainment.  Cathleen Taylor, Pottawatomie County 4-H Educator got to serve as a chaperone for the event.

Tracy Beck, events and activities coordinator in the State 4-H Office at Oklahoma State University, said the 4-H Youth Development Program has a long-standing tradition of providing club members with opportunities to travel outside of Oklahoma and experience life in another part of the country.

“While in Atlanta, our delegates had a wide variety of educational opportunities, along with cultural experiences and opportunities to develop their leadership skills,” Beck said. “This trip also was a chance for our club members to learn about 4-H programs in other states.”

Some of the educational workshops in which club members took part included healthy eating, the importance of exercise, science, service learning, physical activity for people with mobility challenges, using social media, leadership and group development. All of the workshops are designed to help club members further develop and enhance their leadership skills.

Club members have been taught about the importance of community service from the time they joined 4-H, and delegates to National 4-H Congress had an opportunity to reach beyond the borders of their home states through a variety of experiences.

Some of the community service options for National Congress delegates include spending time helping at Piedmont Park Conservancy, Food Bank Center, Books for Africa, as well as various schools throughout the area.

In addition to the numerous educational workshops and community service activities, Oklahoma delegates had the opportunity to do a little sightseeing while in Atlanta. Tours included the Atlanta Zoo, Carter Presidential Library, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change, College Football Hall of Fame, CNN Center, Centennial Olympic Park, New World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium.

 “The 4-H program has long been known for providing club members with opportunities to see other parts of the country,” Beck said. “Serving as a delegate to National 4-H Congress is not only an honor, but a learning opportunity for our youth, who will then take that knowledge back home and continue to make the best better.”

Opportunities such as this are made possible through the generous donations from the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, as well as many donors to 4-H.

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

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