Attending the 4H Congress was AWE-some. Our friends in the 4H really know how to have fun with agriculture education! Though the FFA and 4H are separate organizations, both student groups share a common interest in agriculture, student success, and having a great time in fellowship. During our visit, John, Caroline and I had a blast participating in the new and improved opening ceremony, getting to know some 4H members during a few workshops, and helping out the greater area of Raleigh’s food banks.
The first night of the three day conference was opening ceremony; what an event that was! I walked into the main conference room of the McKimmon Center to see crazy lights, jams bumpin’, and 4H members living it up! During this opening event, we got see the parade of flags, the induction ceremony of the new honor club members, and three amazing speakers. To help open up the night and introduce a speaker close to his heart, Dr. John Stewart, state progam leader, gave remarks and welcomed the three of us to congress. After his warm words, Dr. Stewart had the unique opportunity to introduce his son to the assembly. John brought greetings from the North Carolina FFA Association and gave a speech on the importance of agriculture education, leadership and the similar interests of the two student groups. Sitting in the audience with Caroline, I knew we were thinking the same thing, “dang.” John’s speech was right on target and made everyone in the audience burst with pride for the success of our groups. Most importantly, however, it united to the separate groups and set the tone for our time together.
The next day was filled with activities! I was able to attend the annual cook-off where I found loads of great food! Not only did I get to savor the flavors of the 4H, but I got to meet a few FFA members, who just happened to be representing the clover pride. My only regret was eating before I came to the cook-off, a mistake I will not be making next year. Shortly after the cook-off, I attended one of the workshop being presented inside the McKimmon Center. I picked a few ideas to use throughout the year! One name-game was both enjoyable and effective. Using tennis balls, beanie babies, and whatever else we could find to toss around. We learned the importance of two way communication and each others’ names! Though the second day of congress was a ball, my hands down favorite experience happened at the service project the following day.
During our last day at the conference, I was joined by one of my favorite people in the world, Miss. Caroline Tart. After picking me up in the Cadi, we made our way over to the State Fair Grounds. That days service project was location the J.C. Dorson Arena, where we packaged noodles and rice the would be distributed to food banks in the surrounding areas. After Caroline and I suited up for action, sporting our stylish plastic aprons and fancy hairnets, we found us a group and got to work! One of our group members was actually from my hometown and we didn’t even know it! Finally, after about two hours a quick-paced packing my group had finished up two HUGE boxes of rice and had done our good deeds for the day!
As my first official 4H experience, I have to say I learned a lot about 4H traditions, activities, and members. I was so surprised with the wide diversity of members, an attribute the FFA is working to improve and I feel we can learn a few ways to just that by continuing to with other student organizations like the 4H and Grange. I look forward to building an even stronger relationship with our 4H friends in the future and cannot thank them enough for inviting us to their conference!
Alyssa Ramsey, State Vice President