By Heather Haines, 4-H Program Agent
Since 1942, State Congress has been the premier competition and recognition event for high school Georgia 4-H’ers. Held each year in Atlanta, State Congress is a four-day event that hosts various contests, recognizes 4-H scholarship recipients, and honors state 4-H winners in a variety of projects and competitions.
The cornerstone of the week is the state level Georgia 4-H Project Achievement competition. Over 200 youth from across Georgia delivered 10- to 12-minute presentations in various project areas and meet with judges to discuss their portfolio of project work, leadership, and service.
Every summer, 4-H’ers also attend State Council at Rock Eagle 4-H Center to elect a new State 4-H Board to represent students on the state level. However, due to COVID-19, these yearly gatherings were not possible. Instead, Georgia 4-H hosted a virtual series to announce and honor this year’s winners.
All the essential components from State 4-H Council and Congress were combined into the Georgia 4-H 2020 State Achievement Series. The five-day series included the campaigns and election of new state officers, state-level competitions, and announcements of winners in Leadership in Action and Project Achievement.
The Leadership in Action program is designed to recognize the work of 4-H’ers as leaders in their communities.
These 4-H’ers have identified issues or needs in their community and have developed and implemented ways to make a difference. Eight finalists were selected to compete on the state level.
The 2020-21 4-H Leadership in Action winners who received Master 4-H’er status are Amelia Sale from Oconee County, for her project focused on connecting youth with special needs and 4-H, and Nicholas McKinley of Paulding County, for his project focused on STEM and its human connection.
Nearly 250 youth competing in the state-level Senior Project Achievement were permitted to submit 10- to 12-minute presentations in their various project areas online. Participants also conducted a video interview with judges to discuss their yearlong project.
Overall, one winner in each of the 50 project categories was selected as the winner and received Master 4-H’er status during the announcement of winners on July 24.
Forsyth County 4-H is proud of our 3 4-H’ers that competed at the state level. This summer, Trent Wright, Sara Pawlik, and Keenen Clark have practiced their presentations at home, prepared for interviews, and recorded their presentation to be judged.
While it was not the week in Atlanta that they had originally planned, they stuck with it and overcame a lot of adversity to get to this point. Sara placed third in the Wildlife and Marine Science project, Keenen competed in the Arts and Crafts project, and Trent competed in the Outdoor Recreation project.
To view the full online series, visit youtube.com/Georgia4H.
For more information on local activities and how to get involved in Forsyth County 4-H this year, contact the Forsyth County Extension Office. In Forsyth County, 4-H is supported by The University of Georgia, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners, Forsyth County Board of Education, and United Way of Forsyth County. For more information on the 4-H Program, please call the Forsyth County Extension Office at 770-887-2418 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.