About a thousand teenagers from across the state are converging on the Iowa State University campus today for the start of the annual Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. Coordinator Brenda Allen says the three-day event will be filled with speakers, workshops, mixers, dances and banquets.
“All of the young people will participate in various workshops that they selected,” Allen says. “Those workshops are presented by ISU staff and faculty as well as volunteers from across the state. Our delegates will be doing community service throughout the greater Story and Boone County regions.”
She says there’s a wide array of workshops from which to choose, from glassblowing to Zumba dancing. “They get to participate in anything from leadership development to specific interests they might want to study in the future,” Allen says, “things related to agriculture, engineering, food science, clothing, all kinds of options.”
One of the keynote speakers is Scott Greenberg, the grandson of a “Schindler’s List” holocaust survivor. He grew up hearing his grandparents’ stories of survival and developed a fascination for the area of human resilience. Allen says this Ames conference is drawing just a small percentage of the 27,000 4-H club members in Iowa.
“Over 900 youth are registered for our conference and you don’t even have to be a 4Her, all high school students are eligible to attend,” Allen says. “They are coming from 96 out of the 99 counties across Iowa and we do have them from both small towns and rural areas as well as the larger cities.”
Allen says the various 4-H activities throughout the year reach 100,000 youth statewide. The conference runs through Thursday.