A 4-H legacy continues

By Tim Held
Posted 8/6/18

In Tennessee, the culminating event for a year of hard work for high school 4-H’ers is the State 4-H Roundup and All-Star Conference. State 4-H Roundup is a yearly event that recognizes the …

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A 4-H legacy continues

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In Tennessee, the culminating event for a year of hard work for high school 4-H’ers is the State 4-H Roundup and All-Star Conference. State 4-H Roundup is a yearly event that recognizes the outstanding project work and leadership accomplishments of senior 4-H members (high school freshmen to seniors).
This year’s event was held at the University of Tennessee at Martin from July 23 through July 27. Over 300 youth from across the state attended. Bradley County was represented by Tim Held, ninth-grade homeschooler, and Kyra Petty, a recent graduate of Walker Valley High School.
Those eligible to attend Roundup are those who have achieved the recognition of All-Star (the senior high level of recognition for service) or who were chosen as state finalists in a project. Competitors first turn in a portfolio showing all the work done in their project are then finalists are interviewed at Roundup. Both Held and Petty were chosen as state finalists this year; Held in Engineering/Safety Science and Petty in Horse. Held was named the Level 1 state winner in Engineering/Safety Science.
Those not competing participated in a service project. The different regions of the state (Western, Central, and Eastern) gathered materials for the homeless of West Tennessee. All-Stars packed over 150 bags full of supplies such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and sunscreen.
4-H’ers were also able to attend educational sessions during the week. A few examples include Ag in the Classroom, Distracted Driving, STEM, Learning About Kentucky 4-H and Getting Crafty with Your Local Kids’ Clubs. All of the sessions taught important skills such as leadership, communication, and citizenship.
Attendees toured certain areas of the University of Tennessee at Martin like the colleges of engineering, agriculture, and business. These tours exposed 4-H’ers to educational opportunities and how the University of Tennessee system works.
On Thursday, a luncheon was held for the All-Stars at the conference. There a summary of the years’ service work was delivered to the whole delegation and service certificates were awarded to every county. Held was honored to be tasked with giving an invocation at the luncheon. He summarized the week as an opportunity given to youth to grow as leaders, practice service to others and make lasting memories and friends.
On the final night, the Vol State ceremony was held. Vol State is the highest level of recognition a 4-H’er can receive. The award is given only to 11th- and 12th-graders who have shown consistent service and leadership to others and are nominated by their County Extension Agent. Kyra Petty was selected and honored as one of 71 new initiates to the program from across the state. Petty described being inducted into Vol State as a dream come true. “I remember going to round up last year and watching all the Vol State inductions and hoping that would be me next year. It was a huge privilege and I give a huge thank you to everyone, including my Extension Agent Lynne (Middleton), for getting me here.”
Throughout the week, delegates made friends from across the state and learned important life and social skills. Petty describes Roundup as, “a fun trip that helps you make lifelong friends, learn, and grow, not only in your project area, but as a person. Roundup meant the world to me. It was an opportunity to learn while making new friends and enjoying fun activities with them.”
Held will continue his 4-H career in Bradley County. Petty will be attending the University of Tennessee at Martin in the Fall taking her 4-H experiences with her. “4-H meant so much to me and taught me so much, that I don't think I'll ever get away from it. I plan to continue to help my club, community, country, and world by serving with my head, hands, heart, and health as an alum just as 4-H taught me to do so!”
4-H is a program of the UT/TSU Extension and is open to all youth, ages 9-19. For more information about the 4-H Program in Bradley County, contact Lynne Middleton or Robin Ramsey at 423-728-7001.

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