Local Youth Find Their Voice through 4-H Public Speaking

In early March, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Washington County 4-H held its annual Public Speaking Tournament at the University of Maine at Machias. Four 4-H youth participated and presented talks on topics including birds, making a stop action movie, the mysteries of Star Wars special effects, and how to harvest a meat bird.

Participants included Samuel F. in the Cloverbud Division (ages 5-8); and Ira D., Soren D., and Ruth B. from the Cobscook Currents club, who competed in the Junior Division. Soren earned the overall top score for the junior division in Washington County and all junior division participants earned blue ribbons.

On Saturday, April 8, Ira, Soren and Ruth had the opportunity to compete at the Maine State 4-H Public Speaking Tournament at the University of Maine in Orono. All three earned blue ribbons, and Ruth earned the overall high score in the Junior division. Their accomplishments were celebrated by friends, family and volunteers who accompanied them. 

Throughout the months of February, March and April, 4-H’ers spend many hours planning, preparing and practicing their presentations. Although public speaking can be intimidating, UMaine Extension’s 4-H program provides youth an opportunity to conquer their fears and develop the skills needed to construct a presentation and present it in front of an audience.

4-H is a community for all youth with programs that suit a variety of backgrounds, interests, budgets and schedules. Programs are grounded in the belief that youth learn best by doing. Participants complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and civic engagement in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.

For more information about 4-H in Washington County, please visit the website or contact Gabby Brodek at 207-255-3345, 1-800-287-1542 (toll-free within Maine), or by email at gabrielle.brodek@maine.edu.