Future leaders gather at Pa. 4-H State Leadership Conference

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- "Leadership's the Word" was the theme as 276 members of Pennsylvania 4-H gathered to receive an advanced lesson in leadership at the 2011 Pennsylvania 4-H State Leadership Conference, held recently at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on Penn State's University Park campus.

The annual conference, now in its eighth year, provides 4-H members ages 13-18 with a state-level educational experience that builds on and enhances skills used throughout their 4-H careers and beyond.

"The State Leadership Conference has become a key event for 4-H members statewide," said Mya Rushton, state 4-H youth-development specialist. "These students already are learning to become leaders through their diverse 4-H experiences, and the conference helps them to refine these skills and learn new skills that will guide them through their academic and professional lives."

Rushton explained that teens who have demonstrated a willingness to learn and are committed to using leadership skills attended the weekend conference to work with leadership educators from around the country to further build and develop those skills.

Educators and business professionals led conference workshops that addressed civic engagement, critical thinking, stress management, marketing, conflict management, technology for leadership, role modeling, self-esteem, team-building, and values and ethics, among other topics. The conference also included a presentation by "The Brain Show," a national performance group that engages audience members in an educational and fun experience.

The conference also is the culmination of a statewide service project each year in which each county delegation collects aluminum pop tabs that are donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Danville, Pa., for recycling, in exchange for funds that benefit the "home-away-from-home" for families with hospitalized children.

"After our members leave the conference, they take these skills and experiences back to their communities and use them in their own environments," Logan Hall, state 4-H council president said. "They are learning lessons that will help them make an immediate impact now and remain with them throughout their lives.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011