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Georgia 4-H Day at the Capitol connects youth with the civic process
The Georgia State Capitol turned shades of green on February 9 as it welcomed more than 400 students to 4-H Day at the Capitol. Outstanding 4-H’ers from counties across the state gathered to engage with their legislators, observe leadership in action, and learn about the civic process.
Civic engagement is one of three focus areas that Georgia 4-H provides to youth through in-school programming, after-school activities, project work, and camps. This unique opportunity brings 4-H’ers to Atlanta to experience the civic process in real time. A special partnership with Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and the Georgia 4-H Foundation makes it possible for hundreds of Georgia 4-H’ers to “learn by doing” with an in-person visit to the Capitol.
Youth began their day with a welcome and orientation at the Georgia Freight Depot. Senator Larry Walker served as the Senate Host for the 4-H delegation and he provided participants with an overview of how bills become laws plus helpful information about what happens at the Capitol each day. Senator Walker is the chairman of the Georgia Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.
County groups spent the remainder of the morning exploring the Capitol building through tours and a scavenger hunt. Numerous 4-H Agents arranged for meetings with senators and representatives from their own districts that allowed 4-H’ers to learn from and ask questions of those who represent them in the Georgia legislature. Georgia’s current slate of elected officials contains many 4-H alumni, 4-H parents, and 4-H supporters who were thrilled to welcome students to the place where government comes to life.
The day concluded with a luncheon that brought students and legislators together for a celebration of Georgia 4-H. Governor Brian Kemp delivered a keynote address and provided 4-H’ers with encouragement and motivation to become the next generation of leaders. Representative Rick Jasperse then acknowledged a group of 4-H honorees that have received state and national recognition for accomplishments throughout the last year. Representative Jasperse served as the House of Representatives Host for the 4-H delegation.
Katie Beth Brewer, Georgia 4-H State President, addressed the crowd to offer thanks to the leaders who dedicate their careers to serving youth. “Although 4-H is an organization by the youth, for the youth, and of the youth, none of our success would be possible without the County 4-H Agents, volunteers, parents, and elected officials who give their time and energy to support us,” Brewer said.
The program also included remarks from Decatur County 4-H’er Corbin Austin and Cobb County 4-H’er Venya Gunjal as they spoke about the impact that 4-H has made on their respective pathways in life. Both of these award-winning students have walked through doors that 4-H has opened for leadership, engagement, and community service.
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation invests in Georgia 4-H’ers by providing support for transportation, logistics, and lunch during 4-H Day at the Capitol. This event is often the first-ever trip to Atlanta for many of the participants and it makes an indelible mark on those who attend. Students are empowered to become leaders of the future when they are given the opportunity to engage with those who lead in the present.
Georgia 4-H enables youth to become excellent citizens by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships, and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 240,000 people annually through UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities.
For more information about how to get involved 4-H in your community, contact your local University of Georgia County Extension Office or visit www.georgia4h.org.
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (working cooperatively with Fort Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the counties of Georgia) offers its educational programs, assistance, and materials to all people without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation or protected veteran status and is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action organization.