June 5, 1999 | By: Mark Eclov

The 1999 edition of 4-H Senior Conference is over, but it will have a lifetime effect on many of the 600 youth that attended the annual event held June 14-18 on the University of Kentucky campus.

The highlight of the week or a significant memory is different for every participant. The schedule was packed with dozens of youth issue- oriented workshops, campus and community tours, the state officer's election campaigns, the state Fashion Revue, and awards ceremonies.

For many conference goers, it was their first exposure to a college dormitory and eating meals from a university food service.

Other attendees will never forget lessons learned from the six and nine hour "tracks" and two hour workshops offered on Tuesday through Thursday.

The list of "tracks" topics touched many of the hot buttons of today's youth issues from the more serious topics of building on diversity, teamwork training and sexual integrity for teens to less intense sessions on swing dancing, outdoor camping and making great videos.

The highlight of the tracks events may have been the "Crusin and Boozin' is Losin" session that featured a sobering mock accident carried out by the Lexington fire department and UK police in the shadows of the UK football stadium.

The two-hour workshops focused on lighter issues such as sand art, accordion playing, surfing the Internet and survival cooking.

"My favorite part would be the tracks," said Cassie Tapp from Webster County. "I took a teamwork track and we were trained to teach other kids how to work as a team. It is a very educational week."

Some of the 4-Her's spent the track and workshop time preparing to show off their latest clothing creations at the state 4-H Fashion Review which was held in front of the entire conference delegation on Wednesday evening at the UK Singletary Center for the Arts.

The overall Fashion Magic Winner was LeslieAnn Dunn from Carlisle County. This year's top ten winners of the State 4-H Fashion review included Kristina Lauer, Campbell County; Vanessa Vale, Jessamine County; Jacobie Bobbitt, Woodford County; April Horn, Daviess County; Sheri Beth Green, Owen County; Cynthia Barnes, Woodford County; Abigail Hobbs, Meade County; Elizabeth Hardesty, Meade County; Connie Lauer, Campbell County; and Carolyn Thompson, Barren County.

On Thursday morning, the fashion review participants made blankets for the Linus project, which distributes the products to youngsters throughout the country that are going through traumatized situations.

A dozen of the senior conference attendees spent part of their week learning the art of politics. Campaigning for the coveted positions of state 4-H officers began Wednesday evening with a election rally in UK's Memorial hall ended when the ballots were tabulated on Thursday afternoon.

The four new state officers were introduced on Thursday evening at the senior conference banquet. They include Rebecca Jackson, president, Shelby County; Marianne Lodmell, vice-president, Woodford County; Ross Pruitt , treasurer, Hopkins County; and DeAngelo Crane, secretary, Woodford County.

These new officers will be hard pressed to find a more challenging experience than the one they will have as 4-H's state youth ambassadors over the next twelve months. Their duties will include numerous speaking engagements, state fair event coordination, and long days of planning and preparation for the next annual conference.,p> "I think senior conference means a lot to 4-hers," said Shaun Garrett, a former state treasurer coming to UK in the fall as a chemistry major. "It gives them the ability to enhance their leadership skills and to get with other 4-Her's from across the state and talk about important issues in their counties and take back ideas for their own county's program."

Awards and recognition events were scheduled throughout the conference. Major awards such as the Kentucky Senior Honors Program and the Conrad Feltner awards honored dozens of youth and volunteer leaders for their contributions to local and statewide projects encompassing leadership, work projects and citizenship efforts.

"The conference definitely charges people up," said Danielle Hutchins, a second year college student from Nelson County who has been in 4-H since the fifth grade. "There are a lot of first time attendees and they are definitely saying they want to come back, get involved and be on the state teen council. They just love it."

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Contact: 

Writer: Mark Eclov (606) 257-7223 meclov@ca.uky.edu

Source: Jan Burke (606) 257- 5961 jburks@ca.uky.edu