More than 20 junior and senior 4-H’ers and the Bryan County Extension staff traveled to Rock Eagle on Feb. 4 for a weekend full of fun and competition. 2011 Junior/Senior District Project Achievement was held that weekend at the world’s largest 4-H Center, which is near Eatonton. After weeks of preparation and a year of project work, the 4-H’ers were anxious for this weekend full of activities
Animals, arts, photography, performing arts and sports were just some of the project areas 4-H’ers competed in. Nine ribbons were awarded to Bryan County 4-H’ers and one senior was awarded first place and a trip to State 4-H Congress.
Christopher Morgan, a Bryan County High School sophomore, competed in the Family Resource Management area and brought home the top honor. His participation at Georgia Youth Summit, sponsored by Georgia 4-H, and his involvement with Bryan County Family Connection’s Teen Line thrift store provided him with lots of experience and community service material for his portfolio. County staff recognized Christopher’s potential several years ago and have diligently strived to keep him involved in 4-H and other community programs.
I think Christopher is a natural leader and has a sincere interest in local needs. He is very well-rounded, and never complains about doing anything he is asked to do. We feel very fortunate to have Chris as a Bryan County 4-H’er. His involvement allows younger 4-H’ers to want to stay active and participate in all 4-H has to offer. He is one that definitely gives more than he gets most of the time.
But competition was definitely tough for the entire group. Bryan County 4-H’ers usually score very high on their demonstrations. The weaknesses seem to be in the portfolios, and this is half of the total Project Achievement score.
These portfolios are comprised of all activities the 4-H’er participated in relating to their project area. This includes learning, sharing, service, 4-H activities and other involvement.
Larger communities have more opportunities for youth whether it is community service, activities, educational resources, etc. Our 4-H’ers work year round planning activities to include in their portfolio. I think they have learned to be creative when developing activities for their project area.
Some of the activities have been baking cookies for the county commissioners, classes for younger 4-H’ers, donation drives, publishing literature and many more. Their attendance also opens up other opportunities. For instance, during a presentation at a monthly commissioners’ meeting, a 4-H’er who competes in the air science project area was asked to visit a local airport and go flying.
These are the kinds of things that make great portfolio material. We need more community members to realize how these 4-H’ers, young Bryan County residents, benefit from their expertise and life experiences. Even though these youth are great students, you can never go wrong by having a mentor, someone with more maturity but with common interests.
I would love to see each 4-H’er have a mentor with like-interests where both could benefit from the relationship. The young person would learn from the mentor, and the adult could possibly have someone assist them with tasks related to the shared area. The extension staff would like to assist in developing mentor/mentee relationships. If you are interested in becoming a mentor to a 4-H’er, please call the 4-H office at 653-2231 for more information.
Myself and the other extension staff, including agriculture agent Don Gardner, 4-H program assistant Becky Stewart and extension secretary Barbara DuBose, were very proud of the group attending Project Achievement.
Although everyone did not bring home a ribbon, they are all winners because they did their best. I encourage all of them to get started planning for next year right now. As always, the entire staff at the extension office extends its services “to make the best better.”
Special appreciation is extended to the Bryan County commissioners for their support of the 4-H program and to the County Board of Education for providing a much-needed place for 4-H’ers to meet in Richmond Hill.
Other 4-H’ers participating in the weekend activities were: Molly Berland - Performing Arts (vocal); Kate Bosen – Performing Arts (third vocal); Nadia Gaines – Sports (running); Kaitlyn Grant – Human Development (third); Stephanie Hahn – Photography; Coby Herndon – Poultry (second); Sinamen Magee – Performing Arts (instrumental); Gabby Moore – Dairy Foods; Josh Neagley – Arts (2nd ), Helena Parsons – Festive Foods for Health (3rd), Katelyn Robertson – General Recreation (ballet); Jakob Romberg – Sports (soccer); Christian Shellman – Dairy Foods; Dalton Sims – Target Sports; Kristen Sparks – Sports (volleyball); Dustyn Stewart – History (third air science); Lindsey Stewart – Festive Foods for Health; Jasmine Tapper – Health; and Allison Waters – Veterinary Science (third).
Davis is the 4-H coordinator for Bryan County.