​​​Youngsters take over legislative chambers for votes, and raise money for charity

4-H 2015
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Some of Tennessee’s brightest and hardest-working teens are headed to the state capitol to become lawmakers for a day and to learn how our state government works.
More than 400 Tennessee 4-H’ers will participate in 4-H Congress, March 22-25, 2015, in Nashville and Murfreesboro. The youngsters represent almost all of the state’s 95 counties, and they will explore the day-to-day functioning of state government by assuming the roles of state senators and representatives.
This is the 68th year for 4-H Congress in Tennessee, and more than 37,000 youth and adult volunteers have taken part since 1948. The theme for the 2015 meeting is “Tennessee 4-H: Building Foundations for the Future.”
An annual highlight at 4-H Congress for these youngsters is when they take over both the senate and house chambers at the state capitol building sitting at the desks of legislators and voting on bills and issues that affect Tennessee teenagers.
The 4-H’ers will be in the legislative chambers on Monday, March 23, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
“4-H Congress provides the opportunity for young people to experience the process of democracy in action,” says Richard Clark, who recently started work at the UT Institute of Agriculture as the new leader of Tennessee 4-H and Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC). “They learn the importance of voting and how bills are enacted into law. They also get to meet their legislators and talk about 4-H. My hope is that this inspires our 4-H members to become active in local government and become educated citizens,” Clark says.
4-H Congress also includes events at Tennessee State University, and the Embassy Suites Nashville SE Hotel in Murfreesboro at 1200 Conference Center Boulevard. Delegates will compete in public speaking, poster, essay, citizenship and leadership projects for scholarship money and trips to National 4-H Congress in Atlanta.
In addition, 4-Hers statewide have been collecting funds leading up to Congress for “Make-A-Wish of Middle Tennessee,” an organization granting wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Tennessee 4-H Congress has a goal of raising $7,500 for the cause, which is the cost to grant one wish to a deserving young person.
“Our 4-H members understand the importance and value of serving others,” says Justin Crowe with UT Extension and Tennessee 4-H. “One of those “H’s” is “hands” – which our members commit to larger service. In Tennessee, 4-H members performed more than 600,000 hours of volunteer service last year, which benefited tens of thousands of people and had an estimated economic impact of more than $12 million.”
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and outreach through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.
Justin Crowe, 865-964-1617, jcrowe3@utk.edu
Chuck Denney, 865-382-8058 (mobile), cmdenney@utk.edu