Sumter County 4H’er competed at 79th annual  4-H State Congress in Atlanta

Published 1:57 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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Georgia 4-H celebrated excellence during the 79th Annual 4-H State Congress with competitions and recognition as top 4-H’ers from around the state gathered in Atlanta.

State Congress, which took place from July 19-22, includes the state-level Project Achievement and Leadership in Action contests, as well as recognition of youth development professionals, supporters, and public officials for their contributions to the success of 4-H in Georgia.

Sumter County Senior 4-H’er, Hinano Tomlinson, competed at State Congress this year in the Performing Arts General Project. Students who place first at state-level competitions in Georgia 4-H earn the title of “Master 4-H’er.” During State Congress, 204 delegates competed in 50 Project Achievement areas and seven delegates competed in the Leadership in Action contest; one individual from each project area and two Leadership in Action competitors received Master 4-H’er status. Special event Master 4-H’ers from the 2021-22 program year were also recognized at State Congress.

Hinano Tomlinson placed first at the district and state level project achievement competition and achieved Master 4-H’er status during State 4-H Congress.  A few weeks before State 4-H Congress, Hinano competed in a special event competition with Georgia 4-H, the Dean’s Award Communication and the Arts project.  The Dean’s Award marks the culmination of a 4-H’ers career, recognizing youth who have participated and excelled in a broad spectrum of activities and experiences.  Hinano participated in this competition during State 4-H Council Week during the month of June by submitting a cumulative portfolio and being interviewed about her 4-H project work.  As the first-place winner of the William “Bill” Edwards 4-H Dean’s Award for Communications and the Arts project, Hinano received a $500 scholarship, Master 4-H’er Status, and she will be recognized at 4-H Day at the Capitol in 2023.  After receiving Master 4-H’er status for Project Achievement and the Dean’s Awards competitions, she is now a “double” Master 4-H’er.

More than 48,000 youth participated in Project Achievement this year through 4-H programs at the county level. This essential Georgia 4-H program element empowers young people with leadership, creativity, public speaking, and record-keeping skills that will last a lifetime. At the high school level, students choose a project of interest from a list of areas that include agriculture, human development, performing arts, communication, engineering, and workforce preparation. They subsequently research the topic, create a detailed presentation, and participate in related community service and civic engagement activities. State Congress competition also includes individual interviews with qualified professionals who engage with 4-H’ers about their project work.

The Leadership in Action competition calls for 4-H’ers to identify a community need and work to meet that need by planning and implementing original projects and initiatives. Competitors then prepare an application packet and participate in interviews at the district level. Seven finalists were chosen to be recognized and compete at State Congress. The 2022 Leadership in Action winners are Chanthony Andrews, Jr. from Glynn County and Evelyn Day from Houston County.

Georgia 4-H recognizes stakeholders who provide guidance and support to Georgia 4-H throughout the year at State Congress.

Dr. Courtney Brown, Extension Specialist for 4-H Healthy Living Programs, received the 2022 Ryles Rising Star Award. This award recognizes an outstanding 4-H staff member in the first five years of their employment for their contributions to the success of 4-H. Brown coordinates all the healthy living initiatives within Georgia 4-H and has improved effectiveness and efficiency in all the programs she oversees, including Cotton Boll and Consumer Judging and a myriad of food projects. She is dedicated to improving the lives of Georgia’s youth and their families.

The Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) received the 2022 Friend of 4-H Award. This award is presented annually to organizations or individuals that demonstrate outstanding support of Georgia 4-H with exemplary contributions towards the mission and vision of the program by the Georgia Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (GEA4HYDP). GAEL supports Georgia 4-H through long-standing partnerships with educators that allow for in-school 4-H programming to continue to be the cornerstone of the organization. Collaboration between GAEL and 4-H makes positive youth development possible for hundreds of thousands of Georgia 4-H’ers.

Shelia Marchant, Jeff Davis County Extension Coordinator (CEC) and 4-H Agent, received the 2022 William H. Booth Award. This award is presented by Georgia EMC and recognizes 4-H agents who have outstanding career achievements and who have a strong commitment to community support. Marchant has been working with 4-H for 22 years and is dedicated to creating a safe and caring environment for youth to achieve their goals in Jeff Davis County. The other district finalists were Brittani K. Lee, Cobb County Interim CEC and 4-H Agent; Wanda McLocklin, Barrow County CEC and 4-H Agent; and Dr. Crystal Perry, Sumter County 4-H Agent. Each of these individuals provides admirable support and leadership to their county programs.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp received the 2022 Georgia 4-H Green Jacket Award. This prestigious award is presented to individuals who have shown outstanding, significant, and ongoing statewide support to the program. The Kemps have been proponents of Georgia 4-H for decades, through legislative funding and hands-on programs such as the First Flock, tours, pet adoption days, and activities for youth at the Governor’s Mansion. Governor Kemp served as the keynote speaker for the 2022 Georgia 4-H Day at the Capitol.

Leaders in the camping program and 4-H center leadership also received recognition during State Congress. Additionally, the 2022-2023 Georgia 4-H Board of Directors were inducted into their positions of leadership. The 2021-2022 Board of Directors were honored for their year of service.

State Congress is made possible by generous contributions from organizations that support positive youth development in Georgia. Major sponsors include Georgia EMC, Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation, Inc., Premium Peanut, Georgia Power, Georgia 4-H Foundation, and Georgia Master 4-H Club.

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships, and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 225,000 people annually through UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities.

For more information about Sumter County 4-H Club, contact the Sumter County Extension office at 229-924-4476 or