Five hundred teens, volunteer leaders, and Virginia Cooperative Extension agents will gather at Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus June 17-20, for the 93rd annual 4-H State Congress. This year’s theme, “The Path to Success, Luck Has Nothing to Do with It,” draws on the six pillars of character that are the foundation of the 4-H philosophy and demonstrates how young people can live as exemplary citizens through the life skills they learn as 4-H members.

Miss Virginia 2012, Rosemary Willis, will open the congress on June 17. She will share her experience as a high school student who overcame great adversity after sustaining a brain injury that left her sedentary and unable to engage in regular exercise. Her experience caused her to discover the significance of exercise in her life and was a catalyst for her desire to educate the public about the importance of physical activity through her “get moving today for a healthier tomorrow” initiative.

During the event, 4-H delegates will participate in The Great Summer Showcase — a series of fun and educational workshops that includes animal science, communications and expressive arts, healthy living, environmental education, technology, engineering, and math. In previous congresses, 4-Hers have studied the secret lives of alpacas, discovered the art of storytelling, learned the basics of lifestyle trends like yoga, and built robots from LEGOs.

This year, participants will have even more exciting hands-on workshops to choose from, including large animal veterinary science at the Virginia Tech Dairy Cattle Center, graphic design, GPS/GIS mapping, and more. Another fascinating workshop will let 4-Hers test their mystery-solving skills by studying their own DNA from cheek cells.

New in 2013 is the opportunity for participants to explore college and career tracks at Virginia Tech; Virginia State University, the commonwealth’s other land-grant university; and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. Virginia Tech colleges that will offer in-depth views of their departments and programs include the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Natural Resources and Environment, the College of Science, the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, the Pamplin College of Business, the College of Engineering, and the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

The service learning project this year benefits the nonprofit Project Linus, an organization that donates new, washable, handmade blankets to children in need. Delegates are encouraged to bring 2 yards of fleece fabric to congress. Finished blankets will be sent home with local units to distribute to area chapters of Project Linus.

The 2013 4-H State Congress will also give participants a chance to compete for awards in dozens of areas such as culinary arts, forestry, soil and plant science, and drama. In some competitions, winners will advance to regional and national contests.

Delegates will also enjoy dances, sporting events, a midweek pizza party, and an ice cream social.

As the youth development service for Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia 4-H engages youths ages 5 to 19 in hands-on educational programs and activities designed to help them gain the knowledge, life skills, and attitudes needed to further their development as self-directing, contributing, productive members of society. 



Written by Amy Loeffler.
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