• By Ryan Farley, Extension Agent

4-H/Youth Development: Teens explore UK during 4-H teen conference

For a lot of high school students in Kentucky, the idea that just a few weeks after getting out of school they would head to a college campus for a weeklong conference, including plenty of great learning opportunities, is something that might sound crazy. However, between now and the beginning of May around 500 4-H youth will sign up for just that, as the Kentucky 4-H Teen Conference is just around the corner. Sign-ups have begun and are due the beginning of May. This conference, held on the University of Kentucky’s campus, provides interested youth a taste of the college experience while providing a great leadership opportunity and networking event for participating students.

The 4-H Teen Conference is a four-day, three-night conference running from June 11 to 14. It offers students a chance to not only network with teens from around the state, but to also get a small taste of what being a college student is like. Delegates from counties all over Kentucky travel to Lexington to experience all that UK and Lexington has to offer. Whether it is staying in dorms, eating at “The 90,” UK’s new dining facility, or attending presentations at White Hall, participants leave with a better understanding of college life and all that comes with it.

Delegates also get to select tracks and workshops that match their own interests. The track they select takes place both Tuesday and Wednesdaymornings and allows a more in-depth look at a topic or subject, while the workshops are more focused and only last for one day. Track offerings include trips to horse farms, tours of the UK dairy program, visiting the UK fitness center, learning how to play racquetball, or improve lessons with the Central Kentucky Community Theatre. Workshop offerings include ultimate Frisbee and flag football, embroidery, sausage or cheese making, babysitting basics, astronomy, yoga, and dulcimers. No matter what your interest, there’s a track or a workshop for you at Teen Conference.

The night activities are the other highlight of 4-H Teen Conference. Delegates trek across campus several nights for two dances and one banquet, with the banquet also offering a time to recognize those 4-H participants who participated and reached one of the different levels in the 4-H achievement program. Tuesday serves as District Night Out where each of Kentucky’s seven districts choose a fun activity in Lexington, such as a trip to Champs, bowling, or the Fayette Mall. Wednesday night offers a chance to recognize the newly elected state officers chosen by district representatives at each Teen Conference every year.

4-H Teen Conference has something for everyone and offers a great chance to get to know Lexington and the UK campus. Registration applications are available and due by early May. Contact the Woodford County Extension Office or email the Woodford County 4-H Agent, Ryan Farley, atryan.farley@uky.edu, for more information.

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