UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Recently, 27 Pennsylvania 4-H members participated in statewide 4-H presentation and public speaking contests.
Held virtually, the contests were open to 4-H members ages 8-19. A junior category was added this year for members ages 8-13; the senior category was for ages 13-19.
“We have been exploring ways to grow these contests and were very pleased with the attendance this year,” said Amy Schultz Gregor, education program associate for 4-H youth development with Penn State Extension. “We were also excited to have so many juniors participate.”
The presentation contest is designed to challenge 4-H members’ skills and knowledge of giving demonstrations and to recognize their abilities in giving public presentations. This contest provides an opportunity for 4-H’ers to develop and use communication skills, build self-confidence, research and gain knowledge in a selected subject matter area, and teach and share current information with others.
The public speaking contest is intended to support county-level 4-H public speaking programs, challenge 4-H’ers’ skills and knowledge in public speaking, instill an understanding of the need for communication skills, and improve speaking skills.
Judges score participants and provide feedback during the contest. Participants can review the judges’ scoresheets to practice and prepare for future opportunities.
In the public speaking contest, Anna Payne, of Bradford County, earned first place; Levi Ferster, of Northumberland County, took second place; Melissa Griswold, of Chester County, achieved third place; and Maisy Funk, of Berks County, came in fourth place.
For presentations, John Bruner, of Indiana County, took first place in the senior division of the general category, while Funk earned first place in the senior division of the animal science category.
As a result of earning these top scores, Bruner, Funk, Payne, Ferster and Griswold qualified for and later participated in the Northeast States Regional Contest, a virtual event aimed at providing 4-H youth with a multistate platform to improve and showcase their presentations skills.
Youth ages 13-19 from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia were eligible to participate in the regional competition.
“Giving presentations and speaking publicly is not typically something most people are eager to do,” Gregor said. “However, it is a valuable and advantageous life skill. Giving youth the opportunity to learn about, practice, gain experience in and refine these skills is just one of the many opportunities the 4-H program offers to teach real-world life skills, explore careers, build confidence, and help youth find and pursue their passion in life.”
Administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Extension, 4-H is a nonformal educational youth-development program of the United States Department of Agriculture that helps young people develop knowledge and skills to become capable, caring and contributing citizens. To find your local program, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/
–Alexandra McLaughlin, Penn State University