The largest gathering of 4-H members and supporters in the country spread across the Texas A&M University campus June 6-10.
More than 1,400 youth attended the Texas 4-H Roundup event, which is touted as the pinnacle annual event for Texas 4-H. The event attracted more than 1,000 donors, trade show vendors, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county agents and 4-H family members to the Bryan-College Station area.
The Texas 4-H Roundup has been held annually since 1946. Texas 4-H is the youth outreach and development component of AgriLife Extension, and the agency administers 4-H clubs throughout the state.
“Roundup brings together youth from 4-H clubs throughout Texas to share in a week of fun and educational activities and camaraderie, as well as to compete in approximately 50 diverse competitions,” said Jana Barrett, AgriLife Extension specialist, 4-H and youth development, Bryan-College Station. “It is a qualifying and invitational event for senior 4-H youth.”
Barrett said most of the contests during the event are state-level competitions for high school-age 4-H members, requiring individuals or teams to qualify at the county and district levels.
“Many of the events were also invitational and were open to high school-age 4-H members,” she said.
The competitions held at this year’s 4-H Roundup related to agriculture and livestock, horses, STEM topics, health and wellness, food and nutrition, consumer sciences, public speaking, wildlife, outdoor sports and more.
Additionally, Texas 4-H members were awarded $2.89 million in scholarships from the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation.
For more information about 4-H Roundup contest winners and scholarship recipients, see the results at https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/events/roundup/
About 4-H and Texas 4-H
4-H is the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, and Texas 4-H has the largest number of active 4-H members in all the states.
“More than 46,000 Texas youth are enrolled members of 4-H community clubs in Texas,” said Montza Williams, state program director. “These clubs are dedicated to cultivating confident, responsible kids with good character who can help tackle the issues that matter most in their communities.”
Along with 4-H members, another 400,000 Texas youth get involved in 4-H through special educational opportunities at school, after-school programs or neighborhood or youth centers.
“These young people live in large cities, suburbs, small towns and rural communities,” Williams said. “Those who attend 4-H Roundup get the opportunity to display leadership skills, their development as citizens, and their team-building and competition skills.”
The LEAD Academy
One of the premiere activities at the Texas 4-H Roundup is the Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development, or LEAD, Academy.
“The LEAD Academy is for senior 4-H members and focuses on life after high school,” said Megan Logan, who coordinates LEAD Academy. “Because of the pandemic, we’ve had to hold the LEAD Academy virtually, so this was the first time in three years we’ve been able to have an in-person event.
This is a next-level leadership learning opportunity for senior 4-H members in grades 9-12, as well as 4-H adult volunteers and parents.
Logan said this event is designed to engage youth in hands-on educational activities in which they explore, practice and master existing and newly developed skills and knowledge in civic engagement, civic education and personal development.
“It is also an opportunity for 4-H adult volunteers to sharpen their skills to better work with 4-H members in their clubs and projects,” she said. “They can connect and network with one another and share their experiences.”
Logan said at the LEAD Academy, senior 4-H’ers gain practical, next-level leadership skills that will give them a heightened sense of responsibility and capacity to connect as active members of their communities, the nation and the world.
“We hope the youth who attend will apply what they learned during the LEAD Academy to make a positive difference in their respective communities,” Logan said.
She said the LEAD Academy also provides an opportunity for older 4-H’ers to learn about the choices they may want to consider for work or extending their education after graduating from high school.
“We emphasize higher education but realize college may not be for everyone,” she said. “So, we also introduce senior 4-H’ers to the possibilities of going directly into the workforce, engaging in some sort of technical training or attending a community college.”
Logan said LEAD Academy activities include a variety of interactive workshops related to community service, adult volunteerism and building useful career- and education-related skills.
“We also present a college fair during the LEAD Academy, and this allows the participants to speak to representatives of various colleges and universities throughout the state,” she said. “For many of these students, it’s a unique opportunity to learn more about what career and educational options are open to them once they graduate from high school.”