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UGA 4-H club is best in nation

By April Sorrow
University of Georgia

The Collegiate 4-H Club of the University of Georgia was recognized as the National Collegiate 4-H Club of the Year at the organization’s annual conference held last month in Minneapolis, Minn.

“Georgia 4-H is known as the best in the nation and collegiate 4-H being named club of the year is a huge award that continues this legacy,” said Allen Nasworthy, chapter president and 2008 Southern region vice president. “Our chapter deserved to win because we really do a lot. Our hands are in everything.”

Each competing club was judged on community involvement, diversity among membership, 4-H enrichment and fundraising and on ways the club fits into the larger campus structure as well as the merits of its members.

“We were really honored to be selected among so many great collegiate clubs across the nation,” said 4-H sponsor Lauren Ledbetter.

One activity the UGA club sponsors each year is the Weekend in the Classic City. This recruitment event brings over 90 high school 4-H’ers to Athens for a crash course in college. The group offers workshops on financial aid, time management and extracurricular activities. It provides campus tours and opportunities for personal development.

The 50-member group is actively involved in UGA’s homecoming activities, Relay for Life activities that benefit the American Cancer Society and is a member of the UGA Go Green Alliance, which is a group of campus organizations interested in preserving and promoting environmental well-being and sustainability. United, the group is able to collaborate and coordinate efforts.

“We have a strong base, and when you have this many people it's really easy to get things done and be a productive organization,” Nasworthy said. “The members love coming to our meetings because we make them so fun and engaging.”

Club meetings have hosted speakers for topics like study abroad and student leadership opportunities. Some representatives from agribusiness even come to recruit members as employees.

“We bring a leadership component some other clubs may not offer,” Ledbetter said. “We bring in speakers for every meeting to talk to students on special topics.”

The UGA club sent six delegates to the national conference, where they interacted with collegiate 4-H’ers from across the country. The conference focused on 4-H club development, leadership, service and career building. Three UGA members presented workshops at the conference.

While in Minneapolis, conference delegates participated in a national service project that partnered with the Feed My Starving Children Organization and packaged over 14,000 meals for children living in poverty in Haiti and Africa.

The UGA club will host the national convention in 2011. The theme will be “Always the Real Thing. Always Atlanta,” said Heather Williams, the conference chair for that year. Tentative plans include tours of the Georgia Aquarium, the Georgia Dome, Rock Eagle 4-H Center and UGA. She would like to partner with Hands-On Atlanta for the national service project. The conference will be hosted in partnership with other collegiate 4-H clubs around the state.

For more information on collegiate 4-H, go to the Web site www.georgia4h.org/collegiate.

(April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

(April R. Sorrow is a science writer with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)

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