Thursday, December 14, 2017

Live for the Moments You Can't Put into Words

I was recently given the opportunity of a lifetime.  I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta for The National 4-H Congress event.  All expenses were paid by my local 4-H County and I flew on a plane with several other Pennsylvania 4-Hers.  Pennsylvania was represented with a large group of 38 youth from all over the state.  This event included workshops, tours, a dance and a gala, speakers, networking, team building, and it really gives you the chance to step out of your comfort zone and learn a lot about yourself.  I met so many people who I will continue to talk to and create a lifetime bond.  We were there for four days.  On Black Friday, we traveled out and that evening, we had a wonderful motivational speaker.  After that, all delegates met in one room and we all participated in ice breakers.  I met so many people that night and learned so many new ways to "break the ice".   Every night, each state met for a state meeting so we could be prepared for the day after.  We were all dismissed to our rooms after our meetings.  I shared a room with three other girls from Pennsylvania and by the time the event was coming to an end, we were pretty good friends.  

On Saturday, we started with a morning assembly which included our speakers, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and the Principal of one of the schools we visited later on in the week.  After the morning assembly, each color group (all delegates were divided up into color groups) split up for different workshops.  My group started out at the Speed Meeting workshop.  Here, we were giving a short amount of time to meet with delegates and introduce ourselves.  I learned that I had a lot in common with some people and I even met a few 4-Hers from Maine who I actually later had the chance to hang out with.  We then went to our next workshop called Expanding Horizons.  This was more of a team building exercise and we were divided up into several different groups.  Each person in my group was given a picture puzzle piece and just by using our own descriptions, we had to put this puzzle together and learn how each piece was connected.  By this time, each 4-Her went to lunch and prepared for our afternoon workshops.  For my afternoon workshop, I was selected to go to a service learning training which meant that I would be put with a group of five and we would all learn what we needed to teach to elementary students on Monday.  You see, we were all given different Service Learning activities.  Some 4-Hers cleaned up a park, some cleaned up schools, and some, like my group and I, taught elementary students about the poultry industry.  We were given different supplies and information about poultry and were then dismissed to prepare for the International Dinner and dance that night.  The International Dinner was split up into different parts of the world.  In those parts, there was food that was well known for that area.  For example, Italy had pizza and pasta, that was my favorite.  Throughout the event, different 4-Hers showed their talents.  That night, the Hawaiian delegation Hula danced and explained the different moves.  Then there was a dance and our DJ was younger then me!  He did a great job keeping everyone excited about being there and definitely made it a memorable experience.  

On Sunday morning, I, along with a few other 4-Hers, were selected to meet with The United States Secretary of Agriculture's Deputy and staff so they could speak with us about our futures and the current events in agriculture.  We then met up with out states for the morning assembly.  I cannot explain how honored I was to hear our speaker that morning.  He was a survivor of the Holocaust.  It was amazing to hear him speak about how he had to live and his life after that.  We all were dismissed for our state lunches.  Pennsylvania went to Pitty Pat's Porch for a delicious meal.  We then walked back to the hotel for our afternoon sessions.  I participated in The Coolness of Science and The Power of Service Learning workshops.  Both involved team building and were very informational.  That night, we were split up into our color groups for and evening of culture.  We went to the Atlanta History Center to learn about history in Georgia and we then listened to a comedian and speaker.  We also had the choice for African Dancing or a Blue Grass workshop.  I choose the African Dance which I very much enjoyed.  They had so much energy that just filled the room!  

On Monday, after breakfast, we all split up into our groups for our Service Learning projects.  My group and I met up to teach elementary students about poultry and we were very excited.  Within the class we taught, the students were all very well behaved, listened, and learned.  Their teacher was doing a great job with them and she was also very nice.  We all had a great time with them.  After we had lunch, we went on different tours.  When you apply to go, you can select which tour you would like to go on and I selected Hotlanta.  Our tour guide was super nice and informational!  She showed us different landmarks while we were on our way to The World of Coke.  There, we learned all about the history of Coca-Cola and even tasted different sodas from all around the world.  Did you know that Coca-Cola created the look of Santa?  Speaking of Santa, he went to the Gala that night!  During dinner at the Gala, Christmas music started to play and Santa walked in!  We listened to a few speakers, including Miss America!  After the evening program, there was a dance.  

On Tuesday, we had the closing ceremony where there was a speaker and some entertainment.  We all went our separate ways and traveled back home.  

I will forever be grateful for this opportunity that I had!  I will never forget the memories I made and the things I learned.

After we arrived  

Dinner at the Gala 

We saw a sign, we took a picture

One of the Olympic torches at The World of Coke 

We met the Coca-Cola Polar Bear!

We saw so much at The World of Coke!

Coming home
A quote from the Holocaust survivor and our speaker


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