Terril D. Faul, Merrill, Thomas A., Gautreaux, Craig | 6/15/2006 7:44:56 PM
Hundreds of young people from across the state are headed for 4-H University next week on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.
Students from 63 parishes will participate in a variety of contests and educational programs during the event being held June 20-23.
"4-H University provides an opportunity for students to experience college life here on the campus of LSU," said Terril Faul, head of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development program.
The events, which include 44 contests, six learning tracks, 18 educational programs and a variety of other activities, are expected to attract more than 3,500 youngsters, parents and volunteers.
It will mark the 92nd time 4-H members will meet in Baton Rouge to compete, learn and participate in a variety of activities. Formerly known as 4-H Short Course, what’s come to be known as 4-H U this year will attract youngsters from every parish in the state except Orleans – since the 4-H program there has yet to be reorganized since last summer’s devastating hurricanes.
Among the features in this year’s program will be a Thursday evening (June 22) appearance at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, who is credited with organizing successful relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Honore also is a Pointe Coupee Parish native and was a 4-H participant for eight years. He credits 4-H with helping him learn how to make good choices in his life, and his presentation for this year’s 4-H’ers will focus on leadership and making the right life decisions.
The theme for this year’s 4-H University is "Living the College Life," and that is what the students will do during their four days and three nights on the LSU campus.
Dr. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor for extension, says some of the goals of the event are to expose students to the many opportunities available through 4-H and to give them a taste of what college life is all about – as well as insights into future career choices available at LSU or other universities.
"4-H gives students a chance to learn and to make a difference in their schools and communities, and by having 4-H University here at LSU, it exposes them to an environment that many are experiencing for the first time in a very positive way," Coreil said.
One new component incorporated into this year’s events will be a tour of the LSU campus to see the facilities that are available to students attending LSU. Students will also be able to participate in a workshop that gives details on a variety of aspects related to college life – including living in dormitories, class scheduling, degree opportunities and financial aid options.
In addition to those activities and competition in a variety of contests related to their 4-H project work, 4-H University participants also can take part in Clover College, which offers six educational tracks for students to choose from.
Now in its third year, Clover College gives students an opportunity to learn about program development, service-learning projects, leadership and social skills and other topics. Each track requires students to attend seven hours of instruction.
But the events also will include activities that are fun and entertaining.
Among those will be an opening performance Tuesday (June 20) by the Georgia 4-H Performing Arts group, Clovers & Company. In addition, motivational speaker Rick Rigsby will address the participants Wednesday (June 21).
Clovers and Company consists of 43 singers, dancers and instrumentalists from across the state of Georgia, who range in age from 10 to 18. The group has been performing at a variety of events for 25 years.
Rigsby is a faculty member in the Department of Speech Communication at Texas A & M University, where he is also a special assistant to head football coach Dennis Franchione. Rigsby’s motivational speech will focus on character, teamwork, leadership and effective communication.
The 4-H University events will culminate with the final session on June 22, where awards will be presented to competition winners and newly elected state 4-H officers will be recognized.