Johnny Morgan | 5/30/2016 8:25:12 PM
(05/30/16) BATON ROUGE, La. – Nearly 1,500 Louisiana youth are expected to arrive on the LSU campus from June 21 to 24 for 4-H University, an annual event where 4-H members between the ages of 13 and 19 compete in contests, win prizes, attend educational programs and explore careers.
“This year we will have our 40 traditional contests, plus a few new Clover College events,” said Janet Fox, LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth Development department head. “The theme this year is ‘Geauxing for the Gold’”
Some 4-H’ers will compete in contests, while others will participate in educational activities.
“Students can compete in contests that range from fashion design and cooking to outdoor skills and plant science,” Fox said. “Winners of several contests advance to national competitions or receive prizes such as educational trips.”
Ribbons and prizes, however, are just some of the benefits of coming to 4-H University, Fox said. For many 4-H’ers, this event lets them experience the university environment, discover new interests and learn skills that will help them become compassionate and responsible citizens.
During the assembly each evening, student leaders are in charge. Activities include entertainment, awards and motivational speakers, followed by a nightly dance.
Preparing for their contests is one way 4-H’ers learn life skills, said Leslie Moran, an AgCenter extension associate who coordinates the event.
“During 4-H U, the students work under the guidance of AgCenter agents, volunteers and older 4-H’ers who offer valuable mentorship,” Moran said.
Each year, about 300 4-H U attendees participate in Clover College, which is 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 may not be interested in the competitions,” Moran said. “It’s an educational component where they can take courses instead of being in the contests.”
The central goal of 4-H U is to prepare the students for careers, she said.
New educational programs this year include yoga, the Louisiana dairy industry, outdoor skills, good and bad microbes in food and healthy living.
Returning Clover College activities include Exploring the World of Sports, Horsemanship 101, Mapping Your World Using the ArcCollector App and Tracking Toxins: Investigations in Environmental Science.
The keynote speaker for this year’s meeting will be Kyle Scheele, who describes himself as a professional youth speaker, a full-time adventurous life-liver and an amateur beard grower.
A 4-H'er competes in the ATV contest during 4-H University in 2015. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter
4-H’ers participate in the Fashion Revue during 4-H University in 2015. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter
A 4-H'er celebrates winning an award during the closing ceremony of 4-H University in 2015. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter