Students honored as 4-H State Congress convenes at Clemson
CLEMSON — More than 100 young people from across South Carolina, along with county agents and advisers, gathered at Clemson University Friday night for the Clover Awards Banquet, a culmination of the 54th annual 4-H Congress.
The banquet signaled the end of a week where 4-H’ers learned about leadership, citizenship, community service, as well as workforce and career preparation. Robbie Caldwell, keynote speaker and Clemson football offensive line coach, praised the 4-H’ers for their positive influences on society.
“You are a wonderful group of people,” said Caldwell, a 4-H alumnus. “4-H is a wonderful activity for you to be involved with. What you learn while being involved in 4-H can help you create a culture of wonderful, respectful people. Give it your best effort. Be proud. Stand tall.”
Caldwell continued his praise of the 4-H’ers by saying they’ve gotten to where they are because of hard work.
“That’s what makes you different,” he said. “A lot of today’s youth don’t want to work for what they desire. They want instant gratification. But you, you’ve learned how to work for what you want. Most of life is about how you react to what happens to you. Being involved in 4-H has taught you the skills you will need to react effectively to what life hands you.”
In addition to Caldwell’s speech, awards and scholarships were another highlight of the banquet.
The Presidential Tray, South Carolina’s most prestigious award, was given to Katherine Ellig of Kershaw County; and Allison Harmon, Micah Metts and Andrew Owens, all of Saluda County. Each recipient received a silver presidential tray and a $1,500 scholarship.
4-H’ers named National 4-H Conference winners were: Carey Herndon of Bamberg County; Morgan McManus of Florence County; and Micah Metts and Andrew Owens, both of Saluda County. Each winner received a $500 scholarship and a trip to the National 4-H Conference, March 25-30, 2017, in Washington D.C.
South Carolina State 4-H Conference winners were: Ian Adams and Ashlyn Whittenmore, both of Charleston County; La’Terrica Springs of Chester County; Nikole Rivers of Dorchester County; Morgan McManus and Savanna Hill, both of Florence County; Bailey Morgan of Lexington County; Geneffer Sweatman of Orangeburg County; and Carrie Trotter of Saluda County. Each winner received a $500 scholarship and a trip to the National 4-H Congress, Nov. 25-29 in Atlanta.
The Glen Krohn Volunteer Award, named for the late Glen Krohn, retired assistant director of family and youth development, recognizes outstanding volunteer leadership in the 4-H program. Winners of the award this year were Daisy Moore of Chester County, Connie Hall of Laurens County and Maria Bolen of Lexington County.
This year’s South Carolina 4-H Congress theme was, “4-H: It’s Not a Pastime, It’s a Passion!” These words help emphasize the importance of developing a strong 4-H plan for the organization and for life, said Pamela Ardern, 4-H state leader.
“We are all very proud of you and what you have accomplished,” Ardern told the 4-H’ers. “You have worked hard all year in your homes, your schools and your communities. You have demonstrated what ‘passion’ means.”
The 4-H program is one of the oldest and largest aimed at youth development programs. In 2008, the South Carolina 4-H Youth Development Program celebrated its 100th anniversary. The four “H’s” stand for head, heart, hands and health: the key areas 4-H strives to develop in young people.
In South Carolina, 4-H operates through the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service, employing county agents who work closely with state extension specialists and researchers at the various research and education centers located statewide. Agents facilitate youth programs and provide information in a range of topics, including animal agriculture and veterinary science, natural resources and the environment, gardening, leadership and citizenship, personal growth and development, and science, engineering and technology.
The program uses a learn-by-doing approach, involves caring adult volunteers and draws on the knowledge and resources of Clemson University and the land-grant university system to empower youth to become healthy, productive and contributing members of society.