Sixteen 4-H teens from throughout New Jersey attended the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia from November 29 to December 3. National 4-H Congress is the premiere educational and recognition event for the 4-H youth development program.
The New Jersey delegates attending National 4-H Congress representing nine counties included:
Amber Densten and Danielle Klaus from Burlington County; Scarlett Kinsey from Camden County; Stephanie Eastlack from Gloucester County; Zachary Majorossy, Ryan Mallea, Cecelia Ossi and Avery Schaefer from Hunterdon County; Jason Schwartz from Middlesex County; Hannah Dresher from Monmouth County; Johanna Pipoli from Morris County; Isabella Sardina from Passaic county; Kaleigh Brunner, Kate McHale, Eliza Rothenburger and Elijah Staats from Somerset County.
For nearly 100 years, youth from the United States and its territories have participated in this youth leadership development conference. Congress provides teens, ages 14-19, a quality educational and cross-cultural experience. The program combines a variety of sessions, seminars, discussion groups and a service learning experience for the delegates. The nation’s most outstanding community leaders, speakers and educators present current and timely information.
“The 4-H members selected to attend this leadership and recognition event have demonstrated outstanding achievement as a 4-H member in the areas of leadership, citizenship and personal development. National 4-H Congress provides a life-changing experience for youth to meet 4-H members from across America, as they participate in educational workshops focusing on diversity, cultural experiences, leadership, team building and personal development” says Jeannette Rea Keywood, state 4-H agent and national 4-H events coordinator.
“I learned a lot while at National 4-H Congress. In the workshops, I learned how to be charismatic, as well as how to overall become a leader. This experience was incredible. Hearing from many positive and influential keynote speakers, I realized that anything truly is possible if you set your mind to it. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to attend the National 4-H Congress,” said Avery Schaefer.
“National 4-H Congress was the perfect place to feel inspired and excited about 4-H,” said Scarlett Kinsey. “Not only did I get the chance to become much closer with the other New Jersey delegates but I met many new, great people who I already had something in common with. 4-H! Meeting 4-H’ers from other states gave me new ideas and perspectives for conferences and other activities for the future of NJ 4-H. Great people make for a great conference. The speakers were inspirational in many different aspects. The advice they gave to us was unforgettable and very useful. National 4-H Congress is definitely an eye-opening experience that gives you the opportunity to practice leadership skills and learn new ones.”
The theme for 2019 event was “Go Beyond,” focusing on the Cooperative Extension System’s belief that young people can be significant partners in addressing the issues that face our nation, especially those affecting youth. The educational programs were developed for National Congress by a design team of youth and adults from around the country. Exciting recreational and networking opportunities for the teens were included in the itinerary as well as a cultural evening where they engaged in a variety of forms of the arts at the Atlanta History Center. Other wonderful venues in Atlanta were also available to the youth such as Centennial Olympic Park, The World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta Zoo, CNN Center, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Aquarium and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center.
Community service is an important part of National 4-H Congress. During the “Day of Service”, the National 4-H Congress delegates were assigned a variety of community service projects in the Atlanta metro area. Each 4-H member had the opportunity to help others in a variety of ways and experienced really what it is like to be a catalyst for positive change.
The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. 4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades K-13(one year out of high school), on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status and any other category protected by law. For more information about the New Jersey 4-H Program, administered by Rutgers Cooperative Extension visit the website.