On February 8, 2023, the Georgia Capitol building turned shades of green as it welcomed more than 600 Georgia 4-H’ers, staff, and volunteers. While in Atlanta, 4-H’ers had the opportunity to learn about our state’s government, meet with Georgia legislators, and give thanks to supporters and donors from around the state.

Forsyth County 4-H was represented this year Mackenzie Kimbarl, Alessandra Reneau, Lucas Rymer, and Mahathi Velure. Youth were led by local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Agent Heather Haines and Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent Heather Kolich.

Civic engagement is one of three focus areas that Georgia 4-H emphasizes to youth through in-school programming, after-school activities, project work and camps. A special partnership with Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation and the Georgia 4-H Foundation makes it possible for hundreds of Georgia 4-H’ers to “learn by doing” with a visit to the State Capitol in Atlanta to experience the civic process in real time.

Senator Larry Walker and Representative Rick Jasperse served as hosts for the 4-H delegation. Georgia 4-H President Venya Gunjal spoke to the House of Representatives and the Senate on behalf of 152,000 4-H’ers currently enrolled in Georgia 4-H. “There is something for everyone in 4-H,” Gunjal said during her address. “This organization is the driving force behind my discovery of my passion for STEM, and 4-H’ers alongside me learn to pursue their own paths to development and leadership.”

The day included a luncheon that brought students and legislators together for a celebration of Georgia 4-H. Representative Jasperse provided 4-H’ers with encouragement and motivation to become the next generation of leaders. Senator Walker acknowledged a group of 4-H honorees who have received state and national recognition for accomplishments over the past year.

The program also featured remarks from Ben Hill County 4-H’er Thomas Holt, who spoke about the impact 4-H has made on his life.

Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation invests in Georgia 4-H’ers by providing support for transportation, logistics and lunch during 4-H Day at the Capitol. This event is often participants’ first trip to Atlanta and it makes an indelible mark on those who attend. Students are empowered to become leaders of the future when they are given the opportunity to engage with those who lead in the present.

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