Youth from across the commonwealth will “Travel Around the World in Four Days” during the 86th annual State 4-H Congress to be held June 26 to 29 on Virginia Tech’s campus.

About 600 teens from all parts of the state along with about 100 adult volunteers will be celebrating some of 4-H’s international programs as they learn about leadership, citizenship, and life skills.

4-H’ers will hear Adolph Brown, a motivational speaker who was part of Colin Powell’s America’s Promise Alliance for Youth. Brown, who is a professor at Hampton University, has dedicated his life to helping others overcome the stumbling blocks of life through self-motivation and self-improvement. In addition to being a psychotherapist and family therapist, he is a karate and kickboxing instructor who coached and trained four U.S. champions and one world champion.

Also, Daniel Ssuuna will entertain attendees with song, dance, and stories as he shares his experiences growing up in Uganda. Ssuuna creates a visual and musical living portrait of his homeland and teaches the audience about the language, indigenous musical instruments, traditional dances, and stories passed down from ancestors. This highly interactive program highlights the specific culture of Uganda while making connections to the larger traditions found in the Eastern region of Africa.

4-H youth delegates will learn about a wide variety of topics in workshops, tours, and service learning in the Great Summer Showcase. They will be involved in a Youth Issues Forum on the Youth Safety Corps, a program that engages youth in addressing the safety and security issues within their schools and communities. The forum will include an interactive workshop about identifying school safety concerns. The teens will also be participating in “Operation Military Kids.” 4-H’ers will donate and pack small personal items to send to deployed soldiers.

4-H Congress also features competitions for 4-H’ers involved in projects to give them the opportunity to earn awards, including the chance to continue to regional and national level competitions. There will be sports events in the Congressional Games, dances, movies, and banquets.

Additionally, the teens will learn what it would be like to be a Virginia Tech student by attending sessions in many of the classroom buildings and living in one of the university’s residence halls.

4-H is the youth development program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. Extension provides research-based information to help people improve their lives at home and at work. It is a cooperative effort of the land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, and local, state, and federal governments.

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