February 2014
Youth Matters

4-H Extension Corner: Reporting on Congress and Conference

  Alabama delegates attending the National 4-H Congress were (from left) Josine Walter (chaperone), Seth Rankins, Allison Riddle, Kayla Mitchell, Cheyenne Hartin, Taylor Parker, Maggie Killen, Sabrina Garrett and Tanya Bales (chaperone).

Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2013, seven Alabama youth attended National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Ga. The event was an award trip the youth received after competing in the Alabama State 4-H Achievement Interviews at last year’s 4-H Mid-Winter Teen Leadership Retreat. The youth turned in record book portfolios highlighting their year’s project work, achievements, community service and leadership experiences. Once the portfolios were evaluated by state 4-H staff, the youth were invited to interviews where they were later named the State Achievement Winners.

The winning youth included Allison Riddle, Covington County; Kayla Mitchel, Covington County; Cheyenne Hartin, Covington County; Sabrina Garrett, Shelby County; Seth Rankins, Lee County; Taylor Parker, Cherokee County; and Maggie Killen, Lauderdale County.

While in Atlanta, the youth attended various leadership workshops, project classes and community service events alongside youth from 45 states and Puerto Rico.

When asked about her experience, Mitchel said, "It is hard to choose just one thing that was my favorite about my time at National 4-H Congress, but I would definitely say I enjoyed all of the workshops and inspirational speakers. The International Dinner was also very exciting because we were able to experience foods from across the world, some of which I had already eaten before but had not thought about where they were actually from."

Riddle said her most rewarding experience of the week was "getting to help revitalize an underprivileged school in the Atlanta area as part of the National Congress Day of Service."

The 2014 National Congress Delegates will be announced in February. Teens interested in getting involved in the Alabama 4-H Program should contact their local Alabama Cooperative Extension System office or visit www.alabama4h.com.

Special thanks to event leader Molly Gregg and chaperones Josine Walter and Tanya Bales.

National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference

The 2013 National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference was held in Louisville, Ky., where 4-H members were recognized for excelling in their poultry activities and projects. The conference consisted of activities and contests designed to introduce participants to poultry and the poultry industry. This year, Alabama had two outstanding young men who were recognized as state winners and competed for national awards. Jacob Walls, DeKalb County, won 9th place in Turkey Que.

"I had a great experience representing the state of Alabama at the national level in 4-H. Competing with the best of the best in the United States is like nothing else that I have ever done. I am ready to go back for round two at any time," Walls said.

Miller Kinstley, Shelby County, won 8th place in Chicken Que.

"It was a very rewarding experience, not only because I had the opportunity to learn more about the poultry and egg industry but also make connections and meet people from across America. I was extremely honored to represent Alabama at a national conference and could not be more thankful for the support and encouragement I received from my brother David who represented Alabama in 2012 as well as 4-H and Alabama Cooperative Extension System," Kinstley said.

Preparation for the various contests helps these young 4-H members learn life skills and workforce development. The conference is used to make participants aware of careers in poultry and the allied industries. The chicken and turkey barbecue contests involve skills in barbecuing, preparation of a product, and a presentation demonstrating knowledge of the poultry industry, food safety and product attributes. Some of the life skills learned during this competitive event are becoming an informed consumer, food safety, leadership, communication skills, problem solving and decision making.

Special thanks to the event leader Amy Burgess and chaperones Joy Maxwell and Kristen Roberson.

Tanya Bales, Josine Walter, Joy Maxwell and Kristen Roberson are all regional 4-H agents for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.