Delaware 4-H program showcases public presentation skills in youths
(Editor’s note: Doug Crouse is Delaware’s state 4-H program leader .)
The 2019 State 4-H Public Speaking Contest and State Demonstration Contests were held recently where 4-H members participating clearly displayed outstanding knowledge and life skills learned through their involvement as members in the Delaware 4-H Program.
The State 4-H Public Speaking Contest gives participants the opportunity to discuss a topic of their choice. In order to develop a successful speech, members must utilize skills such as researching a topic, organizing their ideas in a logical order, and then presenting their speech with appropriate tone of voice, gestures, and volume. Participants are competing for the coveted blue ribbon and the chance to be chosen as Champion Public Speaker in their respective age category.
This year, there were 11 contestants across the various age categories that competed in the statewide event. Participants were selected as the top speakers in their age categories at their respective County 4-H Public Speaking Contests.
Garrett Geidel was named the 2019 Senior Public Speaking Champion. Garrett is 18 years old and a 13-year member of the Peach Blossom 4-H Club in Kent County. Garrett’s speech, “Social Media or Social Menace” provided him the opportunity to discuss the issues related to our modern use of social media, some of which he indicates are not so obvious to what we would expect. He also discussed some potential solutions for healthier use of social media and technology in general. Garrett has been participating in 4-H public speaking events since the age of 5, and quickly learned his skills to present and speak effectively kept getting better the more he participated in this type of event. He always enjoyed the challenge of writing a speech and knew he was gaining valuable skills for his future. Garrett stated, “I definitely feel my early involvement with public speaking in 4-H provided me an advantage over my peers. It helped me to gain skills and be more comfortable speaking in front of others while making me more prone to take a leading role in group scenarios and develop my interview skills as well.”
The Junior Division Champion was Vanessa Gaines, 14-year old Kent County 4-H member of the Westville 4-H Club for the past 9 years. Her speech, “CSA’s in the USA” allowed Vanessa to share important program information that this association can offer to both farmers and customers participating.
She learned about this program when several of her family members participated in one, and she feels it is a “super cool idea.” She is hoping to start her own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), on a small scale, during her high school years.