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Superheroes to meet challenges at 4-H State Congress


4-H delegates pose in the shape of a clover 4-H State Congress delegates assemble in the shape of a clover on Virginia Tech's Drillfield.

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 15, 2012 – This year’s 4-H State Congress theme, “Mission I’mpossible 4-H Superheroes in Training,” will allow teens to show their passion for the leadership, citizenship, and life skills they learn through 4-H.

More than 500 teens, volunteer leaders, and Virginia Cooperative Extension agents will gather at the 92nd annual 4-H State Congress at Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus from June 25 to 28.

As the youth development service for Extension, Virginia 4-H engages youth 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. Contact your local Extension office for more information about 4-H State Congress and other Virginia 4-H events in your area.

Maggie Bergin, director of brand development with the National 4-H Council of Chevy Chase, Md., will be the opening speaker on Monday at 4 p.m. She will share stories of 4-H youth who have a positive influence in their communities from across the country. She encourages young people to join the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility, a movement for pushing the country forward by making measurable differences.

Later that day, at 7:30 p.m., youth speaker, ballroom dancer and entrepreneur Brandon Lee White will be the guest speaker. He works nationally and internationally as an actor/model with commercials, film, runway, and print. In 2006, he founded Happy Rhino Clothing, a youth activist clothing line that focuses on raising awareness for philanthropic causes. He also encourages youth to seek a higher education in what they love to do.

During the event, 4-H delegates will participate in fun and educational workshops that cover animal science, communications and expressive arts, healthy living, environmental education, and technology and engineering. Whether 4-H’ers are learning about the history and care of alpacas, discovering the art of news writing, receiving first aid training and certification, finding out the basics of beekeeping, or building LEGO robots, they will have plenty of opportunities to show off their skills and expand their horizons.

For the second year, the State 4-H Cabinet is sponsoring a service project to support Heifer International, an Arkansas-based nonprofit dedicated to relieving global hunger and poverty. The Bills for Beef campaign will allow 4-H members across the commonwealth to support Heifer International’s work to provide gifts of livestock, plants, and education on sustainable agriculture to financially disadvantaged families around the world. The 4-H State Cabinet has asked each delegate to raise at least $5 to support this effort.

Virginia 4-H will also continue the Congress Heroes program. Through this initiative, youth share information with corporate and private partners to help generate funds to support Virginia 4-H and to provide an avenue for 4-H’ers to have their congress registration fee sponsored.

The 2012 4-H State Congress will also give participants a chance to compete for awards in dozens of areas, with the winners advancing to regional and national contests. There will also be dances, sporting events, and a banquet.

As always, 4-H delegates will experience what life might be like as a Virginia Tech student. In addition, Virginia Tech representatives will answer questions and promote their programs at a career and college expo. Other colleges, universities, and technical schools in Virginia have been invited to participate.

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings the resources of Virginia's land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth. Through a system of on-campus specialists and locally based educators, it delivers education in the areas of agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, community viability, and 4-H youth development. With a network of faculty at two universities, 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and six 4-H educational centers, Virginia Cooperative Extension provides solutions to the problems facing Virginians today.