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Extension: Local 4-H’er places first at State Congress
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Wildlife and Marine Sciences first place winner, Sara Pawlik, poses with her 4-H Agent and project donors. From left, Heather Haines, Jane McDaniel, Sara Pawlik and Jennifer McDaniel. Photo courtesy of Heather Haines.

Georgia 4-H hosted the annual State 4-H Congress, a weeklong competition and celebration in Atlanta, on July 20-23, 2021. This year represented the 78th annual State Congress, as last year was canceled due to COVID-19 and replaced with a virtual competition.

After a year of virtual programming, students came together in Atlanta to celebrate the end of the 4-H year and all their hard work and dedication during a challenging year. To prepare for State Congress, youth must first select an area of study, and give an oral presentation before judges at a Project Achievement competition at the district level and participate in service and leadership events in their communities. Regional first place winners compete at the state competition in a variety of categories including history, horses, performing arts, and public speaking. Each student gives a 12-minute presentation before expert judges and prepares a portfolio detailing their research, leadership, and service projects. Overall, one individual 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 21.

During the 2021 State Congress, almost 250 youth competed at the state level of Georgia 4-H’s Project Achievement contest. The event also honored state special event winners, scholarship winners, Leadership in Action winners, and donors. The purpose of this event is to celebrate the Georgia 4-H youth for their project work, leadership, and service.

Forsyth County 4-H’er Sara Pawlik competed in the Wildlife and Marine Science Project and won first place! Her demonstration discussed marine life and focused on the skills needed to become a dolphin trainer. Sara has been active in the local 4-H program since she was in 3rd grade. She has competed at Project Achievement in various project areas since 2013. Sara has also competed in Forestry Judging, Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging, Wildlife Judging, and Poultry Judging. After she graduates high school, Sara hopes to move to Hawaii and pursue higher education. Her goal is to become a dolphin trainer.

The success of these events is a result of efforts that have been invested and skills that have been sharpened in 4-H youth for years. The growth of these young people is the direct result of positive mentorships with local Extension faculty, staff, volunteers, in addition to the support of the local community, parents, teachers, and mentors.

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships, and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 190,000 people annually through the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices and 4-H facilities.

For more information about the 4-H Program or how to get involved, please call the Forsyth County Extension / 4-H Office at 770-887-2418 or send an email to forsyth.extension@uga.edu. 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.