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Decatur County 4-H participates in annual state 4-H Congress

Decatur County 4-H students traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to participate in the July 20-23, 2021 prestigious 78th Annual State 4-H Congress. Representing the Southwest 4-H District and Decatur County were Corbin Austin (Public Speaking), Rachel Hayes (Veterinarian Science), Thomas Neal (Outdoor Recreation), and Omarion Smart (Human Development). They joined with over 350 high school age students from 95 counties in Georgia to compete in the 4-H Project Achievement State Competition.

The event began with a Tuesday evening Leadership Banquet where Omarion Smart was honored as one of the eight Leadership in Action winners for Georgia 4-H. Project competition took place all day Wednesday, July 21st, as Corbin, Rachel, Thomas and Omarion delivered 10-12 minute demonstrations to their respective judges. The 4-H’ers also met with judges for interviews about their portfolio of project work, leadership and service activities. The announcement of winners took place on Wednesday evening and Omarion Smart received 2nd place honors, Rachel Hayes took 3rd and Thomas Neal place 4th. Corbin Austin placed 1st qualifying him as a “Master 4-H’er.”

As the 1st place winner in the Public Speaking project, Corbin Austin presented his speech at the Georgia Power breakfast banquet on the morning of Thursday, July 22nd. The Annual Banquet on Thursday evening began with the Parade of Winners. Fifty project winners and more than 80 special events winners entered the banquet room filled with over 700 youth, donors and administrators present for the banquet. During the meal, Special Events winners who had placed first in state competitions during the 2020-21 year were recognized for their work. Special events are 4-H competitive events that include evaluation or judging programs, horse and livestock shows, shooting sports competition, quiz bowl contests and other programs. Decatur County 4-H’er, Corbin Austin was honored for earning Master 4-H status in the Communication and the Arts Dean’s Award state competition and Rachel Hayes was recognized for earning Master 4-H status as the Georgia Junior National Livestock Market Lamb Showman. State Project winners were also acknowledged. In addition, several special awards were presented including the Green Jacket Award, the GAE4HA Friend of 4-H Award and the William H. Booth Award.

Other Congress activities included tours within the Atlanta area, interaction with 4-H donors and UGA administrators, and opportunities for youth to interact with 4-H’ers from all over the state. These Congress delegates come from all corners of Georgia, and the opportunity to meet and spend time in Georgia’s capital is a unique experience for many competitors.

Georgia 4-H Congress is the premiere competitive and recognition event for high school age Georgia 4-H’ers. Coordinated by the University of Georgia College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension Georgia 4-H program, the 4-H Congress is financially supported by donors and contributors to the Georgia 4-H Foundation.

For more information about this or any 4-H activity, contact Lindsey B. Hayes or Teresa Adkins at the Decatur County Extension Office 248-3033 or email linsbell@uga.edu or teadkins@uga.edu.