By Kevin Tatum
STATE 4-H CONGRESS
Each year, Georgia 4-H holds competitions called District Project Achievement (or DPA) for 4-H members. Senior 4-H members (9th-12th grades) who win first place or receive a sweepstake (second in a project with 8 or more participants) earn a trip to State Congress in Atlanta in July. Coffee County had two young men and four young ladies to earn this trip this year. They are: Savannah Cothern in the Dairy Foods project, Abby Hamilton in the Dairy Foods project, Kyya Johnson in the Workforce Preparation and Career Development project, T.K. McIver in the Photography project, Micheal Woods in the Environmental Science project, and Evie Woodward in the Performing Arts-Drama project.
At State Congress (July 24-27), they each had to present their project before their peers and the judges as well as sit through an interview over their DPA portfolio. The demonstration was worth 200 points of their score, the portfolio was 200 points, and the interview was 30. These 4-H members were competing against the winners from the other three 4-H districts. Most projects will only have four to six participants, but some may have 10 to 12 competing depending on how many sweepstakes winners there are.
The foods projects which involve cooking hold their project competition at Rock Eagle on the Friday of State 4-H Council in June. This is done to allow for the use of the kitchen space at Rock Eagle 4-H Center’s educational buildings. Therefore, Savannah Cothern and Abby Hamilton were able to get their demonstration over with in June.
Upon arriving at State Congress, participants attended the annual Georgia 4-H Scholarship Recognition Assembly where all Georgia 4-H Scholarship recipients are recognized along with their donors. After a district meeting, everyone prepared for the opening “Leadership Banquet”. At this event, all of the Leadership in Action project winners are recognized as well as the summer camp leadership counselors and camp facility leadership staff. After this banquet, several projects, including all of the performing arts, communications, and photography projects, had their competition. T.K. McIver (Photography project) and Evie Woodward (Performing Arts-Drama) had their competition on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday, the remaining projects have their project competition. Kyya Johnson (Workforce Prep.) and Micheal Woods (Environmental Science) had their project demonstrations shortly after noon. That morning, all six of our competitors had to go through a 15-minute interview over the contents of their DPA Portfolio. Around 4 PM, we all loaded buses to head to Six Flags Over Georgia for dinner, some time in the park, and the announcement of winners at 9 pm. T.K. McIver placed second and Savannah Cothern placed third in their projects.
On Thursday morning, we enjoyed a breakfast sponsored by Georgia Power Company. At this meal, the state winner in Public Speaking presented their speech. Then the project groups went out on various tours. I chaperoned two of the food projects to the Georgia Tech Food Innovations Laboratory where we learned of robotic technology that is being researched for working in the peanut fields, poultry houses, and poultry processing plants. Some of our group toured the Georgia EMC headquarters in Atlanta.
On Thursday evening, all of the state 4-H project and contest winners were invited to be recognized at the Annual Winners Banquet at State Congress. As the first place winner in showmanship at the State Market Hog Show, Cameron Kirkland was also invited to this banquet. This honor entitles him to be a Master 4-H’er and join the Georgia Master 4-H Club.
All of our kids did a great job and we are proud of their efforts. We are looking forward to what our 4-H members will accomplish in 2019.
If you have questions about the Coffee County 4-H Club program or questions around the farm or home, please feel free to contact the Coffee County Extension office at (912) 384-1402. Remember, we are YOUR local connection to the University of Georgia.
Savannah Cothern (left) and T.K. McIver (right) received third and second place (respectively) in their project at State 4-H Congress.