CORVALLIS - Twenty-five Oregon youth have returned from a trip across the country to take part in a unique 4-H growth experience. The group of carefully selected 4-H members comprised Oregon's delegation to the 79th National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Ga., where they joined 1,200 teens from all over the nation for four days.

"Celebrate the Possibilities" was the theme of this year's congress, said Mary Arnold, Oregon State University Extension 4-H Youth specialist and one of the chaperones for the delegation.

While at congress the delegates attended cultural workshops, heard inspirational speakers and enjoyed historical tours of Atlanta, including the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change. The delegates also participated in Art of the Season, a citywide holiday craft fair for children that benefits Atlanta's Children's Health Care Foundation.

The delegates at met and visited with Miss America, Oregon's Katie Harmon, Arnold added.

Delegates for the National 4-H Congress are selected through a rigorous application process based on the applicant's involvement in leadership, communication, citizenship, and 4-H projects.

"Attending National 4-H Congress is the highlight of many 4-H members' careers," said Jim Rutledge, OSU Extension 4-H Youth program leader. "It is quite an honor to be selected as an Oregon delegate."

The 4-H'ers in the Oregon delegation range in grades from juniors in high school to college freshmen, according to Arnold.

The leaders of the Oregon delegation were Arnold; Doug Hart, Curry County 4-H Agent (Gold Beach), and Doris Nolan, 4-H volunteer leader in Wallowa County (Enterprise).

4-H members in the 2001 Oregon delegation to the National 4-H Congress are:

AUMSVILLE: Erica DeBellis
BEAVERTON: Emily Zellmer, Laurel Nugent
CENTRAL POINT: Jessica Durbin
CORVALLIS: Amy Sachs, Heather Brink-Roby, Jessica Pliskin
FOREST GROVE: Alletta Brenner
GRANTS PASS: Natalie Lehnhardt
GRESHAM: Jacob Beach
IONE: Shelby Krebs
LA GRANDE: Kimberly Hescock
MADRAS: Caroline Weber
MEDFORD: Nick Alston
MONMOUTH: Karyn Ostrom
MONROE: Sarah Holman
PHILOMATH: Brandy Hlavinka
PLEASANT HILL: Michael Olson
PORTLAND: Alicia Bolster
ROSEBURG: Danielle Willis
SALEM: Erin Murphy, Jeffrey Reeves
SANDY: Amanda Bliesner
TILLAMOOK: Julie Peters



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Mary Arnold, 541-737-1315