ATHENS, Ga. — More than 700 Georgia 4-H ninth through 12th grade youth members gathered for the annual State 4-H Fall Forum at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia.
The conference is planned by the Georgia 4-H State Board of Directors. The State Board is made up of tenth through 12th graders who are elected by their peers each summer. This year’s “#trending with Georgia 4-H” theme focused on social media-related topics.
Katie Comer, former 4-H’er and Facebook Regional Community Development Manager, served as an invited speaker. Highlighting the essential elements of 4-H (Mastery, Generosity, Independence and Belonging), Comer shared how her involvement in the Georgia 4-H program has prepared her to continue to achieve her professional dreams.
Fall Forum attendees may exhibit a booth at the exhibition fair to share more about their project achievement work in their communities. They also participate in service projects by creating friendship bracelets for nursing homes, holiday cards for foster children, and preparedness animal care kits for pet owners evacuating from natural disasters. Each year, the 4-H’ers also collect non-perishable food items for 4-H Cans Hunger.
Several volunteers were honored at the Annual Volunteer Dinner, recognizing several award-winning programs and initiatives led by volunteers, as well as recognizing extraordinary Georgia 4-H volunteers for lifetime service.
During the evening assembly, one attendee received a $300 summer camp scholarship in a drawing, the State Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging Winning Team received recognition, and the Georgia 4-H delegation for the National 4-H Conference in March 2020 in Washington, D.C. was announced. Georgia 4-H’s performing arts group, Clovers and Co., provided energetic entertainment, and the evening ended with a dance and pizza party.
During the closing assembly, Stedman Graham, chairman and CEO of S. Graham and Associates, gave a keynote speech on identity leadership. “Identity leadership is based on the philosophy that you can’t lead anyone else until you first lead yourself,” said Graham. “It is about self-mastery. If you did the same thing you did yesterday, as you will to today, as you will do tomorrow, what have you done? Nothing. And nothing from nothing is nothing.”
“I just want to thank 4-H for the work that they do to prepare these students,” said Graham after the assembly. “If you aren’t focusing on helping young people, you aren’t doing anything, because they are the future. We’ve got to be able to help them understand who they are. I teach identity leadership for that reason, to give people the process of success. Because the process for success is the same for everybody, the difference is that some people know it and some people don’t. I’m glad to be able to share my work with 4-H and over 700 students here today”
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 the 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 Georgia