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NDSU Extension Service, Published December 29 2010

National 4-H Congress provides a learning experience

FARGO - Four North Dakota 4-H'ers joined youth from throughout the U.S. and its territories at the 89th annual National 4-H Congress in Atlanta this fall.

The four North Dakotans selected as delegates to the Nov. 26-30 conference were Hannah Brummond of Havana, Morgan Longtin of Cavalier, Rebecca Martin of Emerado and Alicia Widhalm of Milnor.

The program is a mix of educational, service and recreational opportunities that help participants develop leadership skills, take home ideas on how to improve their state's 4-H program and make friends. Congress delegates attended a variety of workshops and listened to speakers.

"I learned about teamwork by doing team-building activities," Martin says. "I brought back a lot of good ideas. We learned a lot about community service and helping others. I will also bring back all my experiences - because we did a lot of activities -- to share with our counties. "

For example, she attended a science workshop that provided some suggestions for fun activities that 4-H clubs could do.

Longtin also thought the workshops were very informative.

"I will be showing all the 4-H'ers in my Junior Leaders group and my own 4-H group everything I learned," she says. "They really gave you some great ideas for involving younger kids in projects. I also want to start more volunteer work in our area, and even more recycling would be great."

Delegates also explored Atlanta resources, including the Carter Presidential Library, Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Change, Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta Zoo, CNN Center, Atlanta History Center, Georgia Aquarium and Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, and took part in service-learning projects.

"My favorite activity was the service learning project my group took part in,"

Widhalm says. "We went to an elementary school in Atlanta and got to help kindergarteners and second-graders make props for their Christmas concert."

David Twist, the delegates' chaperone and a Dunn County Extension agent, agrees the event was a fun-filled and rewarding experience for the participants.

"There is no doubt that leadership is being developed," he says. "With more than 1,300 kids staying at the same hotel, 4-H members have a great opportunity to network and make new friends."

The North Dakota 4-H Foundation sponsored the trip.