Williams wins at 79th Annual 4-H State Congress in Atlanta


Georgia 4-H celebrated excellence during the 79th Annual 4-H State Congress with competitions and recognition as top 4-H’ers from around the state gathered in Atlanta.

State Congress, which took place from July 19-22, includes the state-level Project Achievement and Leadership in Action contests, as well as recognition of youth development professionals, supporters, and public officials for their contributions to the success of 4-H in Georgia.

Three Emanuel County 4-H’ers competed at State Congress this year, including Nataleigh Belcher in the Beef project, Wallee Kersey in the Dog Care & Training project, and Jack Williams in the Food Safety & Preservation project. Williams placed first in his project while Belcher and Kersey placed third in their respective projects.

Students who place first at state-level competitions in Georgia 4-H earn the title of “Master 4-H’er.” During State Congress, 204 delegates competed in 50 Project Achievement areas. Special event Master 4-H’ers from the 2021-22 program year were also recognized at State Congress.

Savannah Reynolds, the 2022 winner of the Georgia 4-H Deans Award for Civic Engagement, was also recognized during the Annual Banquet.

More than 48,000 youth participated in Project Achievement this year through 4-H programs at the county level. This essential Georgia 4-H program element empowers young people with leadership, creativity, public speaking, and record keeping skills that will last a lifetime. At the high school level, students choose a project of interest from a list of areas that include agriculture, human development, performing arts, communication, engineering, and workforce preparation. They subsequently research the topic, create a detailed presentation, and participate in related community service and civic engagement activities. State Congress competition also includes individual interviews with qualified professionals who engage with 4-H’ers about their project work.

Georgia 4-H recognizes stakeholders who provide guidance and support to Georgia 4-H throughout the year at State Congress.

The Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) received the 2022 Friend of 4-H Award. This award is presented annually to organizations or individuals that demonstrate outstanding support of Georgia 4-H with exemplary contributions towards the mission and vision of the program by the Georgia Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (GEA4HYDP). GAEL supports Georgia 4-H through long-standing partnerships with educators that allow for in-school 4-H programming to continue to be the cornerstone of the organization. Collaboration between GAEL and 4-H makes positive youth development possible for hundreds of thousands of Georgia 4-H’ers.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp received the 2022 Georgia 4-H Green Jacket Award. This prestigious award is presented to individuals who have shown outstanding, significant, and ongoing statewide support to the program. The Kemps have been proponents of Georgia 4-H for decades, through legislative funding and hands-on programs such as the First Flock, tours, pet adoption days, and activities for youth at the Governor’s Mansion. Governor Kemp served as the keynote speaker for the 2022 Georgia 4-H Day at the Capitol

State Congress is made possible by generous contributions from organizations that support positive youth development in Georgia. Major sponsors include Georgia EMC, Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation, Inc., Premium Peanut, Georgia Power, Georgia 4-H Foundation, and Georgia Master 4-H Club.

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships, and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 225,000 people annually through UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities.

For more information on Emanuel County 4-H and how you can get involved as a member, volunteer, or donor, contact Emanuel County Extension by calling 478-237-1226 or visit the office located at 129 N. Anderson Drive in Swainsboro.