ATLANTA — More than 400 Georgia 4-H youth, leaders and volunteers visited Atlanta for Georgia 4-H Day at the Capitol, sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, on Feb. 6 at the Georgia State Capitol Building and the Georgia Freight Depot. This annual leadership and civic-engagement event connects 4-H youth with Georgia legislators, provides students insight to the legislative process and allows them to thank legislators and donors. Georgia 4-H has participated in 4-H Day at the Capitol for more than 30 years.
“This annual event honors 4-H’ers who are leaders among their peers, recognizes national 4-H winners, and provides an opportunity of 4-H members to interact with their elected officials and learn about how our state’s governance is conducted,” said Arch Smith, state 4-H leader and director of 4-H. “The opportunity to visit and interact with legislators and community leaders as well as the Georgia General Assembly hopefully will encourage 4-H members to develop their leadership interests.”
Following the Capitol tour and visit, 4-H’ers enjoyed a luncheon sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. First Lady Marty Kemp, Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-11) and Sam Pardue, dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, encouraged the 4-H’ers to continue serving their counties and communities through 4-H participation. Bacon County 4-H’er Cora Jane Tyre and Gwinnett County 4-H’er Aromal Saji presented on their participation in One Georgia 4-H, an urban-rural 4-H exchange program, designed to teach students about the diversity of their home state. Several 4-H youth members were recognized for their outstanding achievements in leadership and citizenship as well as those who have excelled in contests on national levels.
“One of the highlights for our 4-H’ers is the chance to meet their legislators in person,” said Jason Estep, Extension 4-H specialist for leadership and civic engagement programs. “The legislators are very approachable, and meeting them helps youth to understand that these leaders are just regular people who have decided to serve their communities as elected officials. No doubt the experience has inspired some of our 4-H members to consider a future in public service themselves.”
The day’s activities concluded with a picture of the delegation with a number of representatives and senators.
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 242,000 people annually through University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org or contact your local Extension office.
–Cristina deRevere, University of Georigia