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Adair Co. 4-H teens in Virtual Leadership Development event

By Tony Rose
Adair County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development

Three Adair 4-H high school youth participated in a virtual leadership conference with youth from surrounding southern states. The three teens from Adair County who participated in the SRTLC conference were Lindsay Taylor, Reilly Wells and Noah Newell.

The Southern Region Teen Leadership Conference, or SRTLC, is held annually to allow youth and adults to develop leadership skills as well as to practice networking skills with 4-H'ers from other states.

To abide by COVID-19 restrictions, it was decided that this year's leadership conference would be held virtually. With workshops, networking events, virtual campfires and dances, leadership lessons, and informative roundtable discussions being held over video conference, 72 high schools from Kentucky 4-H along with hundreds of 4-H'ers from all thirteen southern states registered to take part in SRTLC.

Despite the challenges of hosting an online multi-state event during challenging times, the virtual SRTLC was a tremendous success.

One 4-H'er shared, "Even though it wasn't in person, my first SRTLC was great!" Other 4-H participants said the conference was "fantastic" and "a blast." The conference planners were able to build a virtual community of young people through social media platforms where participants continue to engage in dialogue with one another, sharing 4-H work from their home state.

Lindsay Taylor has this to say about participating in the conference. "Two weekends ago I attended the virtual SRTLC conference. The conference was very different than it usually is, but that is the reality that we live in today! Virtually, I was able to connect with teens from all across the southern United States and we discussed current world problems, school life today, and participated in online activities with each other like bake alongs and talent shows! The conference was very educational and it was so eye opening to hear how other teens are coping with life from other states!"

In addition to the scheduled workshops and trainings, 4-H'ers also donated school supplies to their local schools as part of the event-sponsored service project. Participants completed an online survey that captured information about the donated school supplies and allowed 4-H'ers to upload photos of themselves serving their communities. Kentucky 4-H'ers contributed generously, and, with the help of fellow 4-H'ers from across the region, thousands of items were donated to schools in need.

"SRTLC is an outstanding opportunity to help youth develop leadership skills, citizenship skills, and help them find opportunities to put those skills to use in their community," said Jeremiah Johnson, Kentucky 4-H Agent serving on the SRTLC Planning Committee, "In my experience, it has been one of the best ways from young people to meet other 4-H'ers from across the southern US and learn about 4-H on a broader scale."

Youth that attends SRTLC are empowered and inspired to make positive changes across the southern region through leadership development, networking opportunities, and collaborative partnerships. Youth and adult participants present educational workshops and roundtables on topics ranging from dancing for exercise to driver safety, from leadership styles to 3-D printing, and more.

The SRTLC meets annually. Next year's conference is scheduled for September 23-26, 2021 at the Clyde M. York 4-H Center in Crossville, TN

Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

This story was posted on 2020-10-15 13:31:12
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