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4-H communications projects empower young people

It is the time of year when 4-Hers across Kentucky prepare their speeches and demonstrations for upcoming local communications contests. These programs offer so much more to youth than just ribbons. They give young people the opportunity to develop important life skills and receive a sense of accomplishment in a job well done.

Communications programs are a long-standing tradition of 4-H. As part of these programs, members are able to deliver a speech, give a banquet address, lead a community service project, demonstrate skills associated with project work or show a younger member how to do a project-related task. All of these help 4-Hers master communications skills, become more independent, gain a sense of belonging and generously share their expertise. Senior 4-Hers also have the opportunity to compete in mock job interviews.

When young people learn the logical way to prepare a speech or present information, they develop organizational and critical-thinking skills. Competitive events give 4-Hers the opportunity to practice what they have learned and receive positive, constructive suggestions to improve.

Delivering a speech or presentation develops self-confidence. These experiences help youth overcome the fear of speaking in public. 4-H members know that success is due to preparation and presentation skills.

People have the opportunity to bond with others when speaking with ease in front of large groups or a few individuals. The ability to speak in public can open many doors in terms of personal friendships and professional advancement as young people grow into adults.

When youth master skills, they often want to share their achievements by initiating and leading a service project in the community or helping other youth in various ways. Building the capacity for generosity is an innate part of all aspects of our 4-H youth development program.

Each summer, young people who have excelled at communications events at the district level are invited to the University of Kentucky to showcase their public speaking skills during the State Communications Day. This year’s date is July 14.

This year 42 youths from Woodford County participated in the 4-H Communications Contest, which is supported by the Versailles Kiwanis, Midway Toastmasters, Woodford County Homemakers and the Woodford County 4-H Council. Category champions include:

• 9-year-old speech - Gabby Gampper

• 10-year-old speech - Bradford Lacefield

• 11-year-old speech - Norah Hanley

• 12-year-old speech - Sawyer Gribble

• 13-year-old speech - Brianne Lacefield

• 14-year-old speech - Kathryn Reams

• 15-year-old speech - Gracie Metzger

• 16-year-old speech - Chloe Wagener

• 17-18-year-old speech - Turner Reynolds

• Junior digital media demonstration - Elizabeth Vanzant

• Junior foods - Addie Patterson

• Junior science, engineering and technology - Norah Hanley

• Junior family and consumer sciences - Manus Lavin

• Senior animal sciences - Cole Vanzant

• Senior natural resources - Matthew Vanzant

These youth will move on to compete at the area contest with the chance to then advance to the State Communications Day. Special thanks to all of the volunteers and parents/guardians for supporting the youth with their speech/demonstration project.

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