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Posted: January 22, 2012 12:00 a.m.

4-H projects start youth on a path to the future

Rock Eagle 4-H Center continues to change as cabins are gutted, torn down and replaced with beautiful new cabins.

State 4-H Leader Arch Smith said he stood inside one of those gutted cabins, ready for demolition, and thought about the more than 50 years of memories created by thousands of boys and girls within those walls.

I can so easily recall many memories of my own in those cabins: gathering in the living room to await our milk cabin counselor, practicing demonstrations “just one more time” before heading off to compete, or staying up late giggling with the other girls about the boys we’d met that weekend.

However, as I returned home to watch demonstrations at the home school 4-H meeting on Friday, I was reminded of all the new memories waiting to be made at Rock Eagle over the next 50 years.

Over the last four months, I’ve watched several hundred demonstrations as 4-H’ers across the county prepare for County Project Achievement on Feb. 7 at Eastside High.

4-H’ers age 9 (as of Jan. 1, 2012) through the sixth grade will compete at 6:30 that evening in more than 50 project areas.  To sign up or learn more, contact the 4-H office.

Each time I watch a 4-H’er give a demonstration, it’s amazing to consider where that project may lead.

I remember watching an older 4-H’er practice his performance for our 4-H agent at DPA.  He was one of those teen leaders we loved to be around because he was so friendly and funny.

It’s no surprise that he now runs a music school with his wife. 

The year my project on newspapers earned my trip to National 4-H Congress, I was proud to be accompanied by a friend whose singing talent earned her the same trip.

Each time I Google her name today I find more glowing reviews of her acting and singing performances in North Carolina.

So on Friday, I couldn’t help but think about the future.

One youth gave his very first 4-H demonstration on bird nests.  

From his thorough research about the types of nests and the excitement as the talked about his topic, I could easily imagine him leading educational programs at a state park or zoo.

Another 4-H’er’s popcorn demonstration showed great talent for marketing.  He did so well, in fact, that I made popcorn with dinner that night. 

The 4-H’er with a demonstration on bananas may not go on to run a banana farm, but her colorful and creative posters make me think she’ll certainly find a way to use creativity in her future.

A sixth grade 4-H’er moved from a compost project last year to guitars this year.  I also moved between very different projects at that age, until I found the one that best suited me.

Seeing her ability to give an excellent demonstration on different topics lets me know she’ll do well no matter what she eventually decides.

In addition to Cloverleaf demonstrations, we’re also preparing for Junior-Senior District Project Achievement in March.

One of the club’s senior 4-H’ers practiced her demonstration on pointe shoes.

The younger 4-H’ers seemed even more excited to hear that beginning in the ninth grade, their projects could take them even farther.

First place winners at this level are invited to compete at State 4-H Congress each summer.  They interview and present for a chance at a trip to National 4-H Congress and Master 4-H status.

They attend donor tours, enjoy formal banquets, and spend an evening at Six Flags. National 4-H Congress brings together a thousand 4-H’ers from across the United States and Puerto Rico each fall, and is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Thirteen local 4-H’ers qualified to compete at Junior-Senior DPA.  

Junior 4-H’ers are Kacie Gartner and Kara Gartner of Liberty Middle, Mallori Johnson of Cousins Middle, MaKenzy McCord of home school, and Tiffany Shreve of the Georgia Cyber Academy.

Senior 4-H’ers are Cati Aevaliotis and Jamie Aevaliotis of Alcovy High; Ken Galloway, Michelle Lewis, and Solange Lord of Eastside High; Will Holder and Flannery Peay of home school; and Bradford Porter of Newton High. 

In projects ranging from piano to weather, they each inspire me to imagine a very bright future.

 

Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Educator through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010 or tkimble@uga.edu.

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