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New Mexico State University

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4-H Conference Attracts Members to NMSU

LAS CRUCES?New Mexico State University will bustle with the energy of 540 4-H members during State 4-H Conference July 11-15.

Elisa French, left, a student employee at the State 4-H Office, prepares registration packets for 540 participants who will attend the State 4-H Conference July 11-15 at New Mexico State University. 4-H Youth Activities Specialist Amy Zemler, center, reviews the conference schedule with Lindsay Thomen, state 4-H parliamentarian from Dona Ana County. (07/01/2005) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

"Conference is a great place to pick up all aspects of leadership such as communication, teamwork and responsibility," said Lindsay Thomen, state 4-H parliamentarian.

This year's conference will feature a new home economics skill-a-thon contest, a makeover for the fashion review, a workshop hosted by the National 4-H Youth Directions Council and guest speaker Barbara Chamberlin, a 4-H alumna and educational media specialist at NMSU.

The home economics skill-a-thon tests participants' knowledge in seven categories, which include identifying fabrics, clothing items, interior design layouts and kitchen appliances. Competitors will also be asked to complete a written quiz, demonstrate money management, rank classes of consumer goods and food items, and give oral reasons for their placings.

A commentator contest has been added to the fashion review. Contestants submit a video of themselves reading a script and will be judged on poise, speaking ability and enunciation. The top five will read commentaries of the clothing contest participants as they model their ensembles on stage.

Curious 4-H members can attend the "What's in Washington D.C.?" workshop. Amber King, Youth Directions Council representative, will provide information on 4-H trips to the nation's capital.

Chamberlin, former 4-H diplomat, will return to the conference scene to deliver a motivational/comedic speech, 'Be You, Only Sooner.'

"Conference is a great activity because 4-H'ers can come and show off their skills, socialize, learn about scholarships and look at the university," said Amy Zemler, 4-H youth activities specialist.

4-H members can compete in more than 30 contests such as livestock skill-a-thon, public speaking, entomology and wool judging. Workshops will help 4-H members learn welding, floral design, leadership skills and how to fill out job and scholarship applications.

As a statewide community service project, 4-H'ers will donate children's books to the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy. Last year 1,000 books were collected. This year each county is challenged to contribute at least 10.

State officers chose the title of this year's event, "4-H: Rocking Your World," because 4-H is a life-changing experience, said Thomen, who will be a fifth-year conference veteran.

4-H is the largest youth organization in the world with 7 million youth members and 603,000 volunteer leaders. New Mexico has more than 76,000 members, 11,000 volunteers and 200 projects ranging from livestock and leathercraft to baking and rocketry.