Olivia McClure, Fox, Janet E. | 6/10/2015 1:38:03 AM
News Release Distributed 06/09/15
BATON ROUGE, La. – More than 1,500 Louisiana youth will converge on LSU’s campus from June 23 to 26 for 4-H University, an annual event where 4-H members between the ages of 13 and 19 can compete in contests, win prizes and explore careers.
“4-H U is the first time many of these students are on a college campus,” said Janet Fox, department head of LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth and Family Development. “It is a time to focus and develop new skills, and share what they have learned with others.”
Students can compete in 41 contests that range from fashion design and cooking to outdoor skills and plant science. Winners of several contests advance to national competitions or receive prizes such as educational trips.
Prizes, however, are just one benefit of coming to 4-H University. For many 4-H’ers, Fox said, this event is where they discover new interests and learn skills that will help them become responsible, compassionate adults.
Some of those lessons come while students are preparing for their contests, said Leslie Moran, an AgCenter extension associate who coordinates the event. They work under the guidance of local extension agents, volunteers and older 4-H’ers who offer valuable mentorship.
About 300 4-H U attendees participate in Clover College, a hands-on learning experience featuring courses on topics such as forensics, fitness and bioproducts.
“Clover College was developed for those kids who want to come to 4-H U but competition may not be their thing,” Moran said. “It’s an educational component where they can take courses instead of being in the contests.”
Career preparation is a central goal of all aspects of 4-H U.
“Learning how to prepare for and give a presentation or getting constructive criticism whether they win or don’t win a contest is important,” Moran said. “Long-term, they may find an interest here that may be their major when they come to college.”
Many students also make lifetime friends at 4-H U, Fox said. The four-day program provides a number of experiences designed to encourage teamwork and respect for others.
New events include a tailgate highlighting nutrition and fitness and a Stomp Out Bullying rally being held as part of this year’s 4-H service learning theme.
LSU President F. King Alexander and Vice President for Agriculture Bill Richardson will address 4-H U attendees during the opening session on June 23.