Teen brainstorms at national 4-H congress in Atlanta
Andrew Olson, a local member of the Cactus Critters 4-H Club, was one of six 4-H members selected to represent Arizona at the National 4-H Teen Congress in Atlanta.
"The purpose of the congress is to share ideas about 4-H," Olson said.
"We discussed our accomplishments and growth in the 4-H program and attended a forum to discuss the direction of 4-H, how to make it a better program and how we can get more people involved."
Olson - a nine-year 4-H member - attended the congress during a trip to Atlanta Nov.
29 to Dec.
He was selected for the honor after submitting an application and a resume listing what he has done to help out in the community through 4-H.
Olson added that the 4-H program has taught him a lot about responsibility and getting along with others.
"When I first joined 4-H I was very shy," he said.
"It helped me come out of my shell and mature.
It teaches responsibility and leadership."
During his time with 4-H Olson raised rabbits and other animals, as well as working on photography projects, learning about, and working on engines.
He also helped with community projects such as "Trick-or-Treat So Others Can Eat", in which 4-H youth collected non-perishable foods for the local food bank.
He said leadership camp last summer in Heber, Ariz., was a "blast," and he has enjoyed attending other 4-H camps throughout the years.
A senior at Kingman High School, Olson is also a student employee at T R Orr Inc., a construction company, and plans to attend the University of Arizona at Tucson next after he graduates.
Olson's father, Gerald Olson, a University of Arizona Mohave County 4-H cooperative extension agent, is understandably proud of his son.
He said Andrew represented the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' 4-H Youth Development program at the National 4-H Congress, the flagship event of the 4-H program.
"Each year a national design team of extension educators, 4-H youth, and 4-H adult volunteers analyze current youth issues and determine the most effective ways to address them," he said.
Originally designed to serve rural, agricultural youth, the 4-H organization has expanded to all strata of our nations' population representing a variety of economic, social and cultural backgrounds, Olson said.
The 2002 Congress was the culmination of a yearlong celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the creation of 4-H clubs.
4-H is the youth development program of the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension System and is open to all boys and girls ages 5 to 19.
Younger children ages five through nine can join 4-H Clover Kids.
For more information contact the Mohave County Cooperative Extension office at 753-3788.