Diane Prather: Moffat County 4-H students go to conference

The theme for this year’s Colorado 4-H Leadership Development Conference was “4-H Has Got the Magic.” The conference was held at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver from Jan. 25 to 28. The conference was attended by 4-H members from throughout Colorado. Representing Moffat County’s 4-H program were Will Pilgrim, Seth Morgan, Mitchell Davidson, Austin Luker and Samantha Pearce. Michelle Pilgrim was chaperone for the Moffat County group.

The annual leadership development conference focuses on community service, 4-H promotion and the development of youth leadership, Moffat County 4-H agent J.D. Sexton said. Because this year’s Colorado 4-H motto is “What is your ‘H’?” the 2013 conference was centered around how the H’s (head, heart, hands and health) of 4-H have impacted attendees and their communities.

Organization of the conference activities was accomplished by members of the State Officer Team. Moffat County 4-H member Will Pilgrim is the state vice president. He explained that the State Officer Team is divided into committees of two or three members each. The committees are responsible for organizing the state events, such as conferences.

Will was one of the officers on the committee that planned the leadership conference. The committee members made plans for the conference workshops, secured speakers and found a DJ for the dance. They helped 4-H members check in and generally made sure that everything went smoothly.

State officers reported to the conference Jan. 25. All other 4-H members registered Jan. 26. Besides check-in, 4-Hers attended a welcome ceremony and took part in getting to know you activities. That evening, conference attendees could choose to attend a dance or other activities that centered around the “4-H Has Got the Magic” conference theme.

The next day, Jan. 27, was devoted to workshops involving think tanks, speakers and other activities. Will said there were about 10 workshops with 15 to 20 members in attendance. Members talked about their favorite H’s. Groups of 4-H members were given the task of planning and putting on presentations with the conference theme. Presentations included skits, music and slideshows.

That evening, the 4-H members and chaperones attended a banquet where outstanding youths, volunteer 4-H leaders and honored guests were recognized for their commitment to youths within the communities. Will explained that those receiving awards were nominated by extension offices, 4-H leaders, and members and then voted on by the State Officer Team.

The banquet guest speaker was IFYE delegate Courtney Loflin, who talked about the time she spent in Switzerland. Saturday night culminated with a dance.

On Jan. 28, some of the members from Colorado counties went to the state Capitol to celebrate Colorado 4-H Day. According to Sexton, Colorado 4-H Day is a long-standing tradition established in the mid-1960s to honor all of the youths involved in 4-H in Colorado.

Will said 4-H members visited both the Senate and the House. While the members were there, Jan. 28, 2013, was declared Colorado 4-H Day by a resolution and governor’s proclamation. The 4-H members were recognized, and members recited the 4-H pledge. Members presented the 2013 official 4-H teddy bear to the Legislature.

Will reported that people spoke about 4-H, reminiscing about 4-H and the times their kids were in 4-H.

“It was great fun for the 4-Hers and the Capitol as well,” Will said.

In thinking about the conference weekend, Will said, “That pretty much wraps it up, except for the snowstorm that we have every year.” This year the snowstorm kept the Moffat County group in Denver for an extra night.

Michelle Pilgrim reflected on the conference, too. “I just enjoyed taking the kids,” she said. “We have good kids in Moffat County. LDC is a great opportunity, and it’s fun to see the 4-H members grow each year. I learn something as a chaperone. I enjoy listening to the speakers.”

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