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La. 4-H’ers attend 2014 National Congress

BATON ROUGE, La. – Thirty-six Louisiana 4-H Club members attended the 93rd annual National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Nov. 28-Dec. 2. The delegation earned the trip by winning contests at 4-H University, which took place in June 2014.

“One of the main things is they get to meet 4-H’ers from across the country and see the similarities and differences in our cultures,” said Leslie Moran, an extension associate with the LSU AgCenter 4-H Youth and Family Development Department.

Aubrey Jean Simmons and two teammates from Lincoln Parish earned the trip by winning the consumer food judging contest at 4-H U. The Congress, themed “Passport to Excellence,” offered fun opportunities for club members to interact with other youth, according to Simmons.

“We had an international night with food from all around the world. The Hawaiian delegation taught us hulu dancing, and the Puerto Ricon kids taught us Spanish dancing,” said Simmons. “I became good friends with a girl from Michigan, and we’re keeping in touch.”

Youth at the 4-H Congress participated in workshops that focused on health, leadership and science. They also participated in Zumba and Pilates classes and were able to tour points of interest in Atlanta.

“I’m a big fan of CNN’s student news anchor Carl Azuz. I follow him regularly, so I tweeted him, and he came down to meet us during the tour,” said Simmons.

The Louisiana contingent participated in community service-learning projects around Atlanta—working at food banks, cleaning city parks and visiting schools to mentor younger students.

The 4-H’ers learned new leadership activities to bring back and use in their local clubs, according to Simmons. Advisory teams also met every day to break down the latest national 4-H news to share with Louisiana clubs statewide.

“You could see them getting ideas from other states and saying ‘why don’t we do this in Louisiana?’” said Moran, who was an adult leader for the group.

Prior to the congress, a select group of 4-H members were chosen through a competitive process to be part of a team that would plan and coordinate the 2014 event. Allen Parish 4-H’er Kadan Guillory served as a member of the group.

Ty Zaunbrecher, of Vermilion Parish, was selected from a pool of national applicants to play his guitar during an evening session. The participants also were given opportunities to attend cultural sessions featuring bluegrass music, African dancing and square dancing.

The Louisiana 4-H Youth Development Program has consistently sent more 4-H’ers to the national congress than most other states. One reason is that the trip is funded primarily by money from the Louisiana 4-H Foundation, making it possible for many 4-H’ers to attend.

“We’re proud of these youth and their accomplishments and glad to make this trip available to them,” said Mark Tassin, AgCenter program leader for 4-H Youth and Family Development. “The friendships and life lessons they take from this national 4-H event will help them and inspire others.”

Louisiana’s National 4-H Congress delegates included:
Kaitlyn Babineaux, Jonathon Boudreaux and Bailey Poirier, St. Martin Parish; Stacey Baker, Elizabeth Irvin, Ashlyn Tullis and Miranda Weddleton, Caddo Parish; Stefani Barras, Katie Magar and Brittney Michelle Watson, Iberia Parish; Samuel Bishop and Alexis Sistrunk, West Carroll Parish; Marcus Broussard, Karli Darby, Alysse Hebert, Jessica Jarred, Bret Lee, Kelsee Thibeaux, Olivia Trahan, Kelsey Trahan, Connor Waits and Ty Zaunbrecher, Vermilion Parish; Stanley Celestine, Avoyelles Parish; Katherine Cole Daniels and Devin Garrett Wicke, Calcasieu Parish; Zoria Shanelle Findley, Aubrey Jean Simmons and Jamillia White, Lincoln Parish; Madelyn Hamilton, Lafayette Parish; Carman Latiolais, Red River Parish; Madeline LeBlanc, Iberville Parish; Clayton Moore, Morehouse Parish; Taylor Roberts, Natchitoches Parish; Victoria Rocquin, St. James Parish; Cameron Russell, Acadia Parish; and Megan Tassin, Rapides Parish.

Randy LaBauve

Last Updated: 12/18/2014 1:31:24 PM

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