4-H State Congress to be held June 20-23 at Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 7, 2005 – Youth from across the commonwealth will “Go Wild with 4-H” during Virginia’s 85th annual 4-H State Congress June 20-23 on Virginia Tech's campus. Fran Harris, former professional WNBA basketball, will be the keynote speaker at the closing session at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 23.

Harris, who played on the Houston Comets' first WNBA championship team and also was an alternate to an Olympic games team, will share her experience of helping people transform their personal lives, said Robert Ray Meadows, director of the state 4-H youth development program. “4-H gives young people the opportunity to realize their full potential, and prepare themselves for the future, and Harris gives them the inspiration through her own life experiences.”

About 600 youngsters from all parts of the state along with about 100 adults who work with them will come to the university and participate in programs designed to help them learn leadership, citizenship, and life skills.

Other special guests at the Congress will be Tom Teasley, percussionist, who will perform and teach multicultural drumming and the Kusun Dancers from Ghana who perform and teach African dance.

4-H’ers will participate in variety of informational sessions. They will be involved in a Youth Issues Forum about how to protect themselves in cyberspace. 4-H’ers are encouraged to bring supplies that will be sent to individuals in the military service particularly those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The youngsters will learn about being a student at Virginia Tech by attending sessions in many of the classroom buildings and living in one of the university’s residence halls during the Congress.

The Congress will feature competitions for 4-H'ers involved in projects to give them the opportunity to earn awards including the chance to continue to regional and national level competitions. There will be sports events called Congressional Games, dances, movies, and banquets.

4-H is the youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Extension provides research-based information to help people improve their lives at home and at work. It is a cooperative effort of the land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University; and local, state, and federal governments.