Miss America 2016 Speaks at Florida’s 4H University

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The international organization 4H has seen a lot of famous celebrities in its programs years before they hit the spotlight.

It was started by people from different states in 1902 as a way to explore and provide more hands-on learning experiences. This stemmed from the desire to relate public school to the rural lives the students were living.

In the 1970s, the program expanded and started including young people from all walks of life, including the minorities.

Since its creation, many young participants have gone through 4H and went on to become public servants, executives, and researchers, among others.

Among the 4H alumni are famous public figures like Julia Roberts, David Letterman, Al Gore, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and even Johnny Cash.

The 4H is so-called because of the 4 words starting with the letter “H” in its original motto: “Head, Heart, Hand, and Health”. Now the organization goes with “To make the best better”.

The organization, with more than 6.5 million participants in the United States of America alone, aims to help the youth become more socially aware, more competent in their fields of interest, and more active in communities and programs in their society.

Although different state chapters might implement different activities, the 4H group offers a variety of programs catering to the different skills and talents of its participants.

Christopher Decubellis, an associate state program leader for 4H, said that they wanted students to develop productive life and work skills, and that the students in the 4H University program are expected to participate in organized events such as speeches, demonstrations, and classes.

There are over 230,000 young 4H members in Florida alone, and this week, around 300 4H members at the University of Florida held a week-long program called 4H University and invited Miss America 2016, Betty Cantrell, as a speaker.

The Miss America winner was a participant of the 4H University for two years and said that she owed the program for helping her develop her speaking skills, confidence on stage, and community service experience.

“4H gave me my first outlet to show people what I’m capable of,” Cantrell said.

Furthermore, she expressed that 4H University allowed her to develop skills and forge new friendships during the friendly competitions.

In her talk, she shared stories of personal experience, accomplishments, and challenges.

Decubellis also said that the 4H University program helps students to reach their full potential, to dream big, and to dedicate their talents and skills for the betterment of the world.

The 4H organization, especially, wants students to learn skills and values in Science, Citizenship, and Healthy Living, the three mission mandates.

This means that the participants undergo training opportunities in activities like photography, cooking, public speaking, history, art, agriculture, and more.

Rose Ducanis, the Florida 4H state council president, said that many of the participants in the program were inspired by Miss America’s visit.

Also, knowing that many 4H alumni are now successful and inspiring public figures has encouraged many more students to join the 4H University program at the University of Florida.

Rob Clark
 

SchoolCampus.org admin staff managing editor

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