State 4-H Conference brings more than 900 participants to Ames

Laura Boskelly

After eight months of planning, the 1999 State 4-H Conference will take place this week on the Iowa State campus.

Over 900 4-H’ers and adults will gather at ISU for the “biggest conference ever,” said Brenda Allen, co-coordinator of the conference.

“[The conference] has been at Iowa State for years. It’s tradition that Iowa State hosts it,” she said.

The conference starts today at 8 a.m. and ends Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

The theme, “It’s A Small World … Dream Big!,” was put together by 42 teens from across the state of Iowa, Allen said.

The 42 teens are part of the State 4-H Council and began planning the state conference in November.

All of the plans come together in June — just in time for the conference, said Beth Minner, co-coordinator of the conference.

The conference will host a variety of guest speakers and presenters, including ISU President Martin Jischke, Vice Provost for ISU Extension Stanley R. Johnson and Lt. Gov. Sally J. Pederson.

Minner said all of the colleges at ISU submit workshop ideas and other suggestions to the State 4-H Council.

The council members decide what workshops they want to run for the delegates, Minner said.

“They’re the creative genius; I’m the glue,” she said.

The 4-H’ers will participate in community service, daily workshops, dances and a banquet, Minner said.

“Over 150 of the teens will participate in the community service,” she said.

“The community service allows the teens to give back to the Ames community what they took from it,” Minner said.

The community service consists of basement clean-up and painting at the American Red Cross-Story County Shelter, sorting and putting away food items at the Bethesda Food Pantry, compiling informational packets at the Center for Child Care Resources and visiting with adult day care residents at Heartland Senior Services, among other charitable causes.

The workshops are held in a variety of buildings on campus and teach life skills with lots of opportunities for career searching, Allen said.

“[The workshops] balance education and recreation,” Minner said. “There’s a lot of hands-on learning.

“In 4-H, our business is helping young people develop life skills through leadership and communication,” she said. “[4-H] will help them in any career.”

Carrie Archer, 1999 graduate of Ottumwa High School, is planning to attend ISU this fall and is attending her third State 4-H Conference.

She participated in an art and design workshop held in the Design Building last year.

“[The workshop] helped me make up my mind to major in art and design and to go to Iowa State,” Archer said.

“It got me a lot more interested in art itself,” she said.