LOGAN – Over 300 youth participated in the Utah State University Extension 4-H state contests Monday, July 15 through Wednesday, July 17 on the USU campus. Kevin C. Kesler, Director of 4-H and Youth Programs and Assistant Director of USU Extension says the campus hosted a variety of 30 different contests ranging from public speaking competitions to livestock judging to vocal talent to shooting sports competitions.
Members of the 4-H program are scattered all across the state of Utah and compete every year at the county level. The winners of their county contests move on to compete at the state level, which was hosted at Utah State this week. This year’s state winners will then move on to compete at the national level in January at Denver, Colorado for the Western Round-Up. Sponsors provided prizes for all first place winners at the state level which included cash prizes to help pay for nationals or donated goods.
“Every year we always compete heavily, and very well,” explains Josh Dallin, the State 4-H Program Coordinator about the competition among the Utah 4-H extensions.
Alyssa Clark Morgan, Morgan County high school senior and first year 4-H ambassador, has been a part of 4-H since the third grade and competed in the contest World of Work on Tuesday morning. The workshop forced participants to create a resume for a job they would apply for and then followed by conducted interviews. The best interview wins. Morgan placed as a top blue ribbon winner.
When asked about the benefits gained from being a part of 4-H, Morgan quickly responded, “I’m learning so many life skills. Being an ambassador especially, I have learned self-confidence, how to work hard, and just so many things. Public speaking, how to be around people, etiquette. So many things I know will help me in my life every single day.”
Contests aside, the state contests also present what they call “tracks”, which allow the participants to participate in an educational opportunity in order to give back to their community. A workshop called Sewing for Service took place on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in which the 4-H’ers made “Smile Bags” for Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization that provides surgeries for children with cleft lips and cleft palates. The bags will be given to the patients, which contain a mirror to allow the child to see their new smile, a coloring book, and sanitary items.
Sheri Anderson, the program’s Marketing Assistant, explains, “4-H strongly believes in giving back to communities and societies.”
Founded in Utah 1912, 4-H has been a part of a partnership between the federal, state, and local county governments and is run by 8,000 volunteers working with over 78,000 youth across Utah. Being one of the largest youth development programs in the United States, 4-H takes youth from the ages of nine to 19 and involves them in different types of subject matter areas while teaching them life skills. The 4-H’ers will target areas they need to acquire in order to become successful members of society in affairs such as careers, school, and family.