Junior conference is a state wide event designed for Junior 4-H’ers to experience belonging to a group of peers, demonstrate generosity through service projects, master subject matter through classes and workshops, and exercise independence as they learn about possibilities available through Georgia 4-H. Also providing an opportunity to build leadership skills, youth have the chance to represent their peers by serving on a Junior Board of Directors which works with an adult committee to plan the conference. Senior 4-H’ers can also take part in the conference by instructing workshops in their particular areas of expertise. This year there were 74 teen leader spots available and 124 high school applicants.
Classes instructed by high school 4-H’ers and adult volunteers included curriculum on peer pressure, bullying, portfolio development, and robotics. The conference also provided a variety of entertainment and recreation such as a dance; a scavenger hunt; a performance by Clovers & Company, the Georgia 4-H Performing Arts group; and multiple games such as miniature golf, flag football, ultimate Frisbee, relay races, and a talent show. Speakers included the State 4-H Leader, sharing a piece of the history of Georgia 4-H and a Hancock County high school 4-H’er telling his 4-H story of coming from the south side of Chicago to Georgia 4-H, which has made him into a successful high senior.
Service projects, which were designed by 4-H’ers, provided participants with the opportunity to exhibit generosity and benevolence. Together, the 4-H’ers, 4-H staff, and teen leaders collected over 1000 coloring books for the Children’s Hospital at Memorial University in Savannah, made over 300 cards for the children at the hospital, and donated 736 jeans for teens for the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home. In addition to the outstanding service projects, 4-H’ers continued their ten year tradition of collecting and selling pop tabs to benefit the Ronald McDonald Houses of Georgia. This year 4-H’ers collected 13,871.5 pounds of pop tabs for a total donation value of around $7,000. This year the donation will go to the Ronald McDonald House of the Coastal Empire in Savannah. The project began in 2002 when 7th and 8th grade 4-H’ers presented the idea to 4-H administration. Since that date, 4-H’ers have raised over $70,248 to support Ronald McDonald Houses across the state by selling 129,236 pounds of pop tabs.
The date for next year’s Georgia 4-H Junior Conference is set for October 26-27, 2013. Georgia 4-H provides fun, exciting, and educational events year round for all youth ages 9 through 19. For more information contact Gordon County 4-H at 706-629-8685