Two Swain County Youth Attend NC 4-H Congress in Raleigh

— Written By Jen Hill and last updated by
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4-H Congress attendeesThree years ago, if you would have told me that I would be a willing participant to drive a gaggle of teenagers in a minivan all the way to Raleigh and stay in a Hotel with them for 4 nights, I would have thought you were crazy. But that is exactly what I just did, and not only did I survive, but I enjoyed it!

NC 4-H Congress is an annual event where each county in the State is encouraged to attend. The main purpose of 4-H Congress is to provide educational experiences, develop leadership skills, provide opportunities to participate in a democratic process and to provide recreational, cultural, and social experiences not available at the county level. This year our NC Delegation was over 500 youth strong and that is not counting the Agents, Program Assistants and Volunteers that graciously drove them there.

Emily Franklin and Sienna Danforth, both 14, were the Delegates representing Swain County at this year’s Congress, and they represented us well! They attended workshops on discovering your leadership styles, how to juggle responsibilities and how stress manifests itself within your body. When it came time to elect our new State 4-H Officers, Emily and Sienna put our electoral votes to good use by visiting campaign booths, speaking with the candidates, and listening to campaign speeches before deciding together who our votes should go towards. Swain County 4-H has 12 electoral votes. On our last day, for our Hands to Service Event, we worked with A Hunger Project to package 80,640 meals for families in need.

community service project participantsIt wasn’t all business, we also attended a fun glow dance, a gala, a formal wear fancy dance, went swimming, tried new and exotic foods (we will not be having Lebanese food again next year, but the Greek food was amazing!) and visited an Asian Market where we tried Bubble Tea and Dragon Fruit. We met a ton of new people and made some new friends.

To top it all off, because of her performance in 4-H Entertains at District Activity Day, Emily was one of 12 youth from across the State who was asked to perform at this year’s Congress. Emily was one of 5 to perform on Sunday night during the talent showcase and she knocked it out of the water! She sang and played her guitar to Faithfully by the band Journey. Almost the whole delegation turned on their phone flashlights and started swaying back and forth with the music as she was singing. I have never experienced anything like that moment. And for the record, there is absolutely no way, I got teary-eyed… well, maybe I did a little. I have never felt more pride in someone else’s child than I did at that moment. She was amazing! Emily’s performance can be found below, so make sure you check it out, you will be glad you did.

Contact the Swain County Cooperative Extension located at 60 Almond School Road, or call 488-3848 to enroll in 4-H or to volunteer with the program. All 4-H activity dates and times are posted and updated on our website  and on our Facebook page, so make sure to “Like” and “Follow” Swain County 4-H on Facebook so you don’t miss out. We also send out periodic newsletters so let us know if you want to be on our mailing list.

For more information about 4-H opportunities email Jennifer Hill, 4-H Agent at