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Sunday, May 1, 2016

4-H Congress: Rock the Vote

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pictured with Lydia Martin at 4-H Congress are, from left, Carlton Ralston, Bryan Oudomsouk and Godwin Murillo.
(Submitted photo)
In spring, I was given the amazing opportunity to attend State 4-H Congress. At the conference we met campaigning individuals, held a mock debate and attended the Inaugural Ball. It was an exciting experience that I will never forget.

The moment we walked through the doors of the hotel, we knew the weekend would be astounding. All around us were campaign posters and anxious 4-H'ers greeting us and asking for our votes. It was a whole new experience to me because I had never been to a state-wide 4-H event before. At the end of the weekend, we elected representatives from each region. Since they were all so kind, considerate and qualified for the job, it was definitely a difficult decision.

My favorite part of the weekend was the mock debate. I was appointed to serve as the Page in the State 4-H Senate. Although I am home schooled, some of the bills -- if passed -- could affect me. The topics debated were school lunches, school dress code, cyber bullying, learner permits and community service.

Our mock trials for these bills were held at the State Capital in Nashville. We were even permitted to use the voting machines used by the Tennessee State Senate. Through the process of debating and arguing over the different bills, I found that I love to voice my opinion, as well as listen to others.

The Ball concluded our Congress experience. We were expected to dress formally, as well as use impeccable table manners. After being served delicious food, we were also introduced to the newly elected leaders. We then listened to winning speeches from the contest held earlier that week. It was truly a remarkable evening.

State 4-H Congress was truly an extraordinary experience. We met Rep. Pat Marsh and Sen. Jim Tracy. We learned various ways our government works, as well as made many new friends from all over the state. 4-H is an excellent program that I encourage all youth to get involved in. I know my trip to 4-H Congress will be one of my most meaningful and memorable high school experiences.

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