Megan Burda's Weekly Article

Nebraska National 4-H Congress

 The history of the National 4-H Congress goes back more than eighty years. An educational tour to Chicago was the forerunner to what would eventually become known as National 4-H Congress. This annual tour was held in the Union Stock Yards during the International Livestock Exposition. There, over 100 young men and women met to exchange ideas and receive recognition for individual accomplishments and community service.

 The number of participants steadily grew, and by 1922 this annual event was designated the National Boys and Girls Club Exposition. This meeting is officially considered the first National 4-H Youth Congress.

 Exhibits, demonstrations and a popular parade became the annual program for 4-H during the International Livestock Exposition. For 73 years, National 4-H Congress gave over 100,000 delegates, Extension staff, volunteers, partner representatives, exhibitors and other friends of 4-H the opportunity to participate in a special event. There was no National 4-H Congress in 1995, but two invitational events were hosted by the Southern Region and Western Region states. 1996 saw the rebirth of National 4-H Congress in Memphis under the leadership of the Extension Service – USDA. Memphis was the home of National 4-H Congress until the event moved to Atlanta in 1998.

On Thanksgiving weekend more than 1,000 delegates from throughout the United States and its territories meet in Atlanta to participate in National 4-H Congress. The program is a mix of educational, service and recreational opportunities.

The City of Atlanta and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta roll out the red carpet to make the event memorable. Located in the heart of the south, Atlanta combines traditional Southern Hospitality with the energy of a world-class international city. It has a culturally diverse history. Atlanta has through the years been the home to a variety of celebrities and statesmen. The Congress program provides opportunities to explore a variety of Atlanta resources. 

The schedule typically includes:

· Workshops designed to develop leadership skills

· Plenary Sessions with outstanding speakers and entertainers

· A Service Learning Experience 

· Tours and recreational opportunities throughout the city

Nebraska sends delegates to National 4-H Congress each year. Nebraska delegates are selected for a trip to National 4-H Congress by submitting their 4-H Career Portfolio for state competition. 

Twenty-three applicants are chosen for partial scholarships to attend National 4-H Congress. Alternates are also selected and may attend National 4-H Congress at their own expense.

Youth must be

· Enrolled in 4-H to attend National 4-H Congress. 

· All applicants must turn 15-19 during the calendar year in which the trip to National 4-H Congress is actually taken. 

· 4-H'ers must have completed at least two years of a 4-H project in order to attend National 4-H Congress in that project curriculum area.

· The applicant must also be enrolled in a related project at the time of the application and remain enrolled through National 4-H Congress.

 4-H'ers may only attend National 4-H Congress once. 4-H'ers attending National 4-H Congress are ineligible to win future awards to attend. However, if a 4-H'er was awarded a trip to Congress and declined the award, they are still eligible to win future awards.

York County has been proud to send at least one delegate to National 4-H Congress of the past several years. This year, we would like to congratulate William Wilton as he will be representing York County on this trip in November. We look forward to sending many more delegates in the coming years!

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