Congressman helps celebrate 100 years of 4-H

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- 4-H members from across the state gathered Aug. 7 at Penn State's Snider Agricultural Arena to kick-off 4-H State Achievement Days -- emphasizing "Amp It Up!," the youth organization's new community service initiative.

Among the crowd was U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, of Pennsylvania's 5th Congressional District, who stopped by to meet with 4-H members and wish the program a happy centennial.

"You guys look really good for being 100 years old," he joked.

In his remarks, Thompson welcomed participants to his alma mater and emphasized the importance of the program and the many great contributions of its members.

"4-H is just a wonderful program," he said. "It builds skills and leadership. As 4-H members, the experience you have in this program prepares you to make a difference. There are 4-H'ers all over the country doing great things."

The congressman, who sits on the House Agricultural Committee, also talked about the debate surrounding the nation's energy crisis and the important role programs such as 4-H play in creating innovative solutions.

The event was aimed at providing about 700 4-H members who participated with the opportunity to engage in a meaningful and purposeful project that embodied the 4-H motto, "Making the best better."

Before his speech, Thompson mingled with participants, some of whom were putting together foot-care packages for men and women serving in the military, back-to-school packs for Operation Military Kids (a 4-H initiative), and birthday packs to be distributed to local food banks and shelters. Others made blankets to be donated to homeless shelters, women's shelters, children's hospitals and veterans' homes.

Hannah Geiger, Lehigh County 4-H delegate, said she felt Thompson put into words what 4-H members work toward.

"We just want to make a difference and to help other people. I like Achievement Days because it gives us all a chance to come together and work toward a common goal."

A Penn State Berkey Creamery ice-cream booth distributed the specialty flavor crafted just for the 4-H centennial -- mint with Oreo cookie bits.

A disc jockey, provided by Local Motion Entertainment, also was present at the event to keep the energy high in the arena.

"I'm having so much fun!" said Gracie Henderson, a delegate from Westmoreland County.

Henderson emphasized how much it meant to her to have Thompson at the event. "I'm glad that he believes in us and that he thinks we really can make a difference."

Delegates from Kentucky also were on hand Tuesday to visit with their Pennsylvania counterparts and gain an understanding of how 4-H programs work in the Keystone State.

4-H State Achievement Days is a three-day educational event that gives members a chance to interact and to compete in a variety of contests, from air pistol to tractor driving. Members give presentations about issues they find pertinent to their counties and attend other educational workshops.

Closing ceremonies are scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday.

Administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Extension, 4-H is a community of young people across America who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. The program serves more than 204,000 Pennsylvania youth each year.
 

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Last Updated August 13, 2012