By: Joe Lewis IV, Winn Parish 4-H Member
The Winn Parish 4-H Program has been highly successful this past year. Agents Karen Shirley and Donny Moon have been incredible in helping and aiding youth in any way possible, giving them many opportunities to succeed.
National Conference Delegates: The National 4-H Conference is an event in Washington D.C. where delegates from several states come together to develop skills, knowledge, and resources. While at the conference delegates discuss topics affecting youth and 4-H programming across the nation. Louisiana 4-H can only send 4 representatives from across the state to the conference per year and this year Winn Parish was fortunate enough to send Emily Jane Nevils to the conference. Emily is now a Junior in High School and has many accomplishments such as being Winn Parish Student of the Year, FFA Area II President, and Winn Parish Jr. Leaders President. To be chosen as a delegate you must be a sophomore or junior in high school, complete a series of written response questions, and participate in an interview. The National 4-H Conference is the pinnacle experience of 4-H Civic Engagement and we are so happy Emily had the opportunity to serve as a delegate.
State 4-H Leadership Board Members: The Louisiana 4-H program offers 6 state leadership boards including the Citizenship Board, Executive Board, Fashion Board, Food & Fitness Board, Shooting Sports Board, and Stem Board. To serve on a state Leadership Board one must complete an application and participate in an in-person interview while at 4-H University. Leadership Boards provide 4-H members with the unique opportunity of serving on the state level while also gaining leadership. Winn Parish 4-H has several 4-Hers serving on boards this year. Those students are Mattie Miller (Executive Board Regional Representative), Joe Lewis (Citizenship Board), Brady Fallis (Stem Board), Andrew Chevallier (Shooting Sports Board), and Peyton Glenn (Shooting Sports Board). Also on the executive are the state officers who run Louisiana 4-H on the state level and in the past 3 years we have had 3 state officers (Anna Little, Louisiana 4-H State President, Kaylie Canerday, State Historian/Reporter, Joy So, State Secretary.)
2023 4-H University: Each year 4-H members who are 8th-12th grade are eligible to attend 4-H University on the campus of LSU and A&M College in Baton Rouge to demonstrate their skills in more than 30 competitive events, workshops, and educational sessions. It is a culmination of a 4-H member’s year of hard work and dedication. Events range from Automotive Care, E-Sports, Fishing Sports, Healthy Living Demonstrations, Public Speaking, Fashion, Robotics, and more! Through competing, youth demonstrate life skills in teamwork, decision-making, problem-solving, resiliency, and many more. Each competitive event allows youth an opportunity for personal growth, skill mastery, and other life skills vital to functioning members of society. This 4-H University was highly successful for Winn Parish with 27 of the 29 competing members placing in the top ten and earning blue ribbons. Joy So served as state secretary this past year and while at 4-H University she completed several duties. We also have one team going to Nationals; The consumer decision team placed first in the state and will be competing on the national level soon.
Outdoor Skill Banquet: Each year Winn Parish 4-H holds its annual Outdoor Skills Banquet in which they hold a silent auction, cake auction, live auction, games, and drawings for prizes. This is Winn Parish 4-H’s biggest fundraising event of the year and they have the opportunity to showcase what youth have done and the program’s achievements.
Commodity Ambassador Contest: The Louisiana 4-H Commodity Ambassador contest is a state-level speaking competition designed to allow youth to demonstrate their ability to effectively communicate about some of Louisiana’s most important commodities including poultry, eggs, beef, seafood, sugar, sweet potatoes, and rice. This year Winn Parish 4-H had 3 Emma Lummus, Joe Lewis, and Lauren Poole. (However, Lauren was not able to compete due to preoccupations) Emma Lummus competed in the Division I egg demonstration contest where she placed 1st. Joe Lewis competed in the Division II egg demonstration contest where he placed 2nd.
Food Challenge: This competition showcases the cooking skills of 4-H members and Winn Parish 4-H has been incredibly successful in these competitions. Many students have participated in these competitions Lauren Poole, Gracelyn Chevallier, Chloe Wisonant(College Freshman), Ella Higginbotham, Catherine Page, Emily Grace Adams, Emma Miller (WMS 8th Graders), Emily Nevils, Emily Higginbotham, Elizabeth Page, and Isabella Schilling (WSHS Juniors). These groups have had immense success through the food challenge. The 8th graders and College freshman both went to nationals with the Freshman placing first nationally and the 8th graders placing 4th nationally. This competition allows 4-Hers to learn healthy living skills, while also allowing them to grow as cooks.
Agent of the Year: Walter “Donny” Moon was named NW Region agent of the year. When speaking to Mr. Moon, he described this as his shining achievement saying “This is an honor because I was given this award because of votes from others, proving that they believe in me and as always it’s a Win Winn situation.”
The Winn Parish 4-Her’s experience: Gabe Wren, First Place 4-H U Winner, “4-H has allowed me to travel across the state and country which has been fun and exciting.”
Joe Lewis, Citizenship Board Member, and Winn Parish 4-H Officer, “4-H is incredible, from traveling across the state to becoming a better leader, 4-H has allowed me to grow as a leader, speaker, and as a person.”
Emily Nevils, National Conference Delegate and President of Winn Parish 4-h, “I love Louisiana 4-h with a passion because it has allowed me to become the very best version of myself as well as grow as a leader.”
Anna Little, Former Louisiana 4-H state President, “While I am no longer president of Louisiana 4-H, I am so thankful Ms. Karen allowed me to go on this year’s 4-H University trip, I still love 4-H and look forward to going to 4-H University again next year with the new Winn Parish 4-H Members”
Mattie Miller, “currently I serve as one of the northwest regional reps and am an officer of Winn parish Jr. Leaders. After serving in these positions I have grown and become a better person and leader.
Donnie Moon, Winn parish 4-H Agent, “I am so honored that I was chosen as the NW region agent of the year because this was an honor that students across the NW region of Louisiana gave me. I love Winn Parish 4-H because we are a Win Winn situation.”