A tour of Atlanta, Ga., and meeting with Miss America were just part of the events experienced by Madras resident Caroline Weber, Nov. 22-27, during her trip to the 79th National 4-H Congress.
Weber, who is a senior, underwent a rigorous selection process, which included submitting a resume citing her community involvement, citizenship and leadership activities, and a six-page story about her 4-H career to the state 4-H office. The 50 state finalists then attended a June conference at OSU where they were interviewed by a selection committee. Twenty-five Oregon 4-H youth were eventually chosen to attend the 4-H Congress.
In 4-H, Weber is working on sheep and veterinary science projects, is a Junior 4-H leader with the Mt. Jefferson Livestock Club, writes articles for the Jefferson County 4-H Newsletter, helped with National 4-H Week and 4-H Recognition Night, and in the community, volunteers regularly at Mountain View Living Center playing the piano for residents.
"Attending National 4-H congress is the highlight of many 4-H members' careers," said Jim Rutledge, OSU Extension 4-H Youth program leader. "It is quite an honor to be selected as an Oregon delegate."
The Oregon delegates joined 1,200 other teens from all over the nation for four days of leadership training and fun at the conference, which this year had the theme of "Celebrate the Possibilities."
"There were workshops on everything from global leadership to ballroom dance," Weber noted, adding, "I did global leadership and Irish two-step dancing, which was pretty fun."
In a "Power of Youth" workshop on food, she said the teens discussed what the food industry could do to improve food safety, and ideas from the workshop were being taken back to Washington, D.C.
As the youth delegate advisor for Oregon, Weber and another student advisor ran nightly state meetings to update Oregon delegates on the agenda and activities for the coming day.
Activities included a trip to the CNN TV studio, where she and other Oregon delegates appeared on the "Talk Back Live" TV show, which discusses current event issues.
They also got to tour the city of Atlanta and see the "Cyclorama" one of the first movie theaters, where the audience sits in the middle, and a circular movie screen revolves around them.
Other points of interest included a tour of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, and the "World of Coke," national headquarters of Coca Cola.
The group got to meet Miss America, Katie Harmon of Oregon, and hear her speak and sing with the Army Band during the convention. Another touch of Oregon was the red plaid woolen scarves donated to the Oregon delegates by Pendleton Woolen Mills.
Community service was also a part of the weekend, and Weber's group participated in two events.
"We had all brought along children's books and donated 1,300 books to a Children's Hospital. Then we helped with the Arts of the Season event in Atlanta. They had a huge building with 30 activity centers where children could do Christmas crafts and have their picture taken with Santa. We helped with the crafts and I helped kids make bird feeders," Weber said.
Back home again, Weber said she will be giving workshops on how to fill out resumes to help 4-Hers interested in attending next year's convention. For more information, contact her through the OSU Extension office at 475-3808.