Teen Leaders Swarm College Park

Maryland 4-H members participate in a workshop on the University of Maryland's College Park Campus during the 2013 4-H Teen Focus event.

Image Credit: Meg Dibley, Edwin Remsberg Inc.

July 1, 2013 Sara Gavin

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources welcomed nearly 500 teen leaders from across the state to the College Park campus during the last week in June for both the Maryland FFA State Convention and the Maryland 4-H Teen Focus. The two events provide valuable opportunities for students to demonstrate agricultural science knowledge and leadership skills gained through both the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H programs.

While on campus, the students heard from speakers and participated in workshops to further develop their skills. For instance, dozens of 4-H youth were engaged in lively discussions during a town hall meeting called “Teens Take on Health.” The unique program, sponsored by Molina Healthcare, provided an open forum for teens to raise their voices on leading healthcare issues facing our nation today such as the cost associated with eating healthily, the benefits of stress relief and ways to combat the obesity epidemic.  

Meanwhile, FFA members tackled another challenging issue – hunger – during a workshop entitled “The Hunger Games” led by National FFA President Clay Sapp. “We can do something about this problem because fortunately we are in an organization dedicated to service,” Sapp told the Maryland FFA members. “We are here to learn the agricultural knowledge and the leadership skills to change the game.

While on campus, the teens had a chance to experience a little bit of what life is like at the University of Maryland, utilizing classroom space and dormitories as they prepare to make important decisions about their future educational and professional endeavors.

4-H is the largest youth development program in the nation with just over 6 million youth participating annually – 83,000 of them here in Maryland – and is an integral part of University of Maryland Extension. For more information, click here.

The mission of the FFA is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Click here to learn more.