Hanna Antonsen, Delaynie Beadle and Lissy Willekes represented Teton County and Montana 4-H November 23-27 at the 2018 National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia.  These three share a long tradition of Teton County 4-H youth who have exceled and been selected through either winning state contests or written state award applications to attend the national event.  They were among the 15 4-H members in the Montana delegation at the ninety-eighth National 4-H Congress.

Antonsen and Beadle submitted state award applications in May 2018 to show their most recent three years of project work, leadership, community service and citizenship.  Both Antonsen and Beadle were involved in the two-year 4-H interstate exchange program and the year-long Montana 4-H Bioscience program.  Antonsen earned the state award for her work in foods and nutrition.  Some of her notable service projects included leading the door-to-door food drive committee and chairing the meal for the Fireworks fundraiser as well as competing in Stir-ups at Montana 4-H Congress.  Beadle earned the state award in textiles.  She led several project classes for younger members, piloted new project areas for the county including the Refashioned area and video communications.  Her service projects included making blankets for the Great Falls Rescue Mission.

Lissy Willekes earned her right to attend National 4-H Congress through the quilt competition at Montana 4-H Congress.  Willekes placed second in the quilt contest with her beautiful vintage floral quilt.  Because the first-place contestant had already won a state award to earn the trip, Willekes was able to attend this year as well.  Willekes is a tremendous quilter.  Many people have admired her talent over the years as her quilts are displayed at the Teton County 4-H Fair.  

While at National 4-H Congress, the group was able to visit Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium and the Atlanta History Center.

The delegates participated in service learning projects while in Atlanta, some cleaning parks and others helping in elementary schools.  They attended workshops and listened to several featured speakers including John Beedee, Manny Ohonme and Dan Clark.  Beadle said she really enjoyed Dan Clark, who is a world renowned motivational speaker and who many might recognize as a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.  She also enjoyed the Atlanta History Museum where there were performances by traditional African dancers.  She remarked on another speaker at the museum, who talked about his service work in hospitals with children with terminal illnesses.  He developed meaningful connections, even as patients faced their last moments, and with families at this most challenging time.  

One of the popular events at National 4-H Congress is a pin exchange.  Each state brings pins and other items that represent their home state or county to trade.  It is a way for members to mingle and make connections.  Willekes said the best part of National 4-H Congress for her was going across the country and meeting people from all over the United States.  She said, “Everyone there was so welcoming, and I learned a lot about each state.  It was an experience of a lifetime!”  Antonsen shared similar sentiments, saying, “It was an amazing experience that wrapped up my 4-H career nicely.  I learned how other 4-H clubs around the country operate and how many different people can be brought together by this organization.”