While most families were sitting down for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, I was traveling across the country to the capitol of Georgia for the 2017 National 4-H Congress. This event is undoubtedly the highlight of any 4-H member’s career. There were 975 delegates present from 44 states and Puerto Rico.
Friday began with tours of the World of Coke (the soft drink was invented there), CNN News and historic Atlanta. Then all 975 members attending gathered in the grand ballroom for get-acquainted activities and a pin exchange.
Saturday morning included speeches from Sonny Perdue, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and an Atlanta school official. Then the day was full of leadership activities and speed networking, where I met people from all over the country.
Then we were immersed in an evening of culture at the international night where there was cuisine from 15 different countries and an authentic hula dance from the Hawaii 4-H delegation.
Sunday’s assembly was dominated by Eugen Schoenfeld, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor with the best sense of humor you’ve ever heard as well as being a Professor Emeritus of Georgia State University. For lunch we went out to Pitty Pats Porch, the restaurant that makes an appearance in the famous movie “Gone With The Wind.”
We spent the evening at the Atlanta Cultural Center where we learned about Georgia’s Native American history and even learned a ballroom dance or two.
Monday, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Atlanta Community Food Bank that serves more than six million people annually in Atlanta and its 27 surrounding counties. To put that in perspective, the entire state of Oregon is home to roughly 4.1 million. Then we were educated on poverty and how we can help in our communities.
Tuesday, after one last speech from NFL motivational speaker Dan Clark, we boarded our planes and began the 2,379 mile trek back to God’s Country.
One quote by Martin Luther King Jr. made me think about the impact we all have the potential to create: “If I cannot do great things, I will do small things in a great way.”
Another quote by speaker Dan Clark has inspired me to apply to be on the planning team for the 2018 National 4-H Congress. He said: “It isn’t the size of the town you come from, it’s the size of your dream.”
I would like to thank the Wallowa County 4-H Leaders Association and our community for their support to make this life-changing trip possible!
Deidre Schreiber is a Wallowa County 4-Her.