77th Annual Tennessee 4-H Congress
March 10 – 13, 2024
Embassy Suites Nashville SE
Welcome to the Tennessee 4-H Congress website! We’re glad you made it here and hope you’ll stick around long enough to find out what Congress is all about. Please enjoy looking around the site. We’re always working on it so check back often! Be sure to let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Two 4-H senators who are senior Level I 4-H members (ninth through tenth graders) may attend from each county. 4-H representatives, one senior Level I 4-H member representing each 1,700 or major fraction thereof of the total county enrollment, and one senior Level I 4-H member for each sixty or major fraction thereof of the total county senior enrollment make up the remaining delegates. Each delegate attending Tennessee 4-H Congress must have an essay prepared on the Congress theme, “Tennessee 4-H: Find Your Missing Piece.” One volunteer leader may attend from each county. Others who may attend include the state 4-H staff, state Extension administrative personnel, Tennessee 4-H Foundation members, and county Extension personnel designated by regional UT Extension staff to accompany county groups.
- To recognize outstanding 4-H’ers and leaders from all Tennessee counties.
- To provide new opportunities for 4-H’ers and leaders to develop a better understanding of citizenship and see how it relates to daily living.
- To offer new and stimulating leadership experiences for 4-H’ers and leaders on a statewide basis.
- To provide the opportunity for 4-H’ers and leaders to learn how their state government functions.
- To encourage 4-H’ers and leaders to assume and continue leadership roles in their communities.
- To provide opportunities for 4-H’ers to develop a greater appreciation of the history and heritage of Tennessee.
Preparing for Congress
Tennessee 4-H Congress is an activity that supports the Citizenship project and helps 4-H’ers develop the life skill of responsible citizenship. Responsible citizenship is an individual’s demonstration of love and devotion in response to duties, rights, and privileges as a member of a community or country. It includes:
- Loyalty to one’s place of residence.
- The entitlements and privileges of citizenship, including voting, protection, participation in government.
- Obligations of citizenship.
- Appreciating and valuing diversity.
One way to be a responsible citizen is to understand your government and how you can be involved so that your government represents you and other citizens. Democratic governments are established to be operated by the people and for the people. Citizen involvement in government is the only way to keep government responsive to the people.
How much do you know about your government? To help you get the most benefit from your participation in Tennessee 4-H Congress, you should look in books and on the Internet to learn more about how government works, especially in Tennessee. You will find links and information on this website that will help you get the most out of your Congress experience.
Who are the leaders in your state government? How are they elected? How does a bill become a law? What happens if the governor vetoes a bill? If you know the answers to these and other interesting questions about state government, you will be better prepared to serve as a Tennessee 4-H Congress senator or representative.
The Congress registration fee is $330. All state finalists, regional speaking winners, State 4-H Congress officers, and volunteer leaders attend on scholarships. Registration is done through each county office.
Arrival and Departure
Congress registration will be held at the Embassy Suites Nashville SE in Murfreesboro on Sunday, March 10, 2024. The opening assembly will be Sunday evening. Congress will end Tuesday evening, March 12, 2024, with the Citizenship Banquet, followed by a farewell dance.
Rooms and Meals
All delegates will be housed by regions in the Embassy Suites Nashville SE located at 1200 Conference Center Boulevard in Murfreesboro. Most meals will be “special events” sponsored by various friends of 4-H. Monday night dinner and Wednesday breakfast will be on your own. The official Congress headquarters will be in the Embassy Suites Nashville SE. Should parents or guardians need to get in touch with delegates during Congress, they should call the Embassy Suites Nashville SE at 615-890-4464.
Nashville is a city with natural beauty, culture, and more than 200 years of history. While in the city, delegates will enjoy a visit to the Tennessee State Capitol and the Legislative Plaza. They may also choose to visit the impressive Tennessee State Museum and stroll down the cobblestone streets of historic downtown Nashville. Delegates will also enjoy a trip to the Nashville Zoo.
What to Bring/Wear
Knowing what to wear for Tennessee 4-H Congress can be a challenge…especially if this is your ﬁrst time to the event. Keep in mind you are representing your county as well as the 4-H program. You will be interacting with state officials, legislators, 4-H donors, and others. It is better to be “over-dressed” than “under-dressed.” The most important and most basic guideline is that your general appearance should be neat and clean. To help you plan, use the following dress code.
Be a Good Delegate
As a Tennessee 4-H Congress delegate, you are serving as a 4-H ambassador. You represent more than 184,000 other Tennessee 4-H’ers. Represent them well through your active participation, courteous behavior, and professional dress throughout Congress. Here are a few reminders:
- Make it a point to be on time or ahead of time for each session and event.
- Be a good listener. Some important donor representatives, university officials, and 4-H alumni will be speaking during Congress. Impress them by your attentiveness.
- Cellphones are out of place at any meal event or assembly.
- Show your appreciation by writing thank-you notes to sponsors, leaders, agents, and parents.
- Share your experiences with others when you return home. Take notes and be prepared to give an interesting and worthwhile account of your Congress experience.
Activity and Event Acceptance Form
Before coming to State 4-H Congress, delegates and their parents or guardians must sign Form 600-A: 4-H Activity and Event Acceptance Form (available from the county Extension office or the Tennessee 4-H Forms and Materials page). When delegates sign this form, they are agreeing to follow all rules and guidelines for participation.
4-H Congress Scholarship
In support of youth development pursuits, Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, and donors to Tennessee 4-H Foundation dedicate a portion of its resources to scholarship programs benefiting Tennessee 4-H members to attend Congress. The Universities and 4-H Foundation are pleased to announce that we will be able to provide $7,590 in scholarship support through 23 scholarship opportunities in the amount of $330.00. The scholarships will be awarded in February and will provide complimentary registration. The awarded scholarship does not cover the cost of transportation.
The information packet (MS Word version and PDF version) describes the available scholarship opportunity. The scholarship has its own eligibility criteria and application requirement, which are detailed in the packet. Applications must be submitted by Thursday, January 25, 2024, and must be submitted using the following link:
Please review the packet carefully. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your county Extension office or call Tennessee State University Cooperative Extension at 615-963-1351. Please consider applying! We look forward to reading your application.
Citizenship and Leadership Competition
Portfolios for 4-H Citizenship and Leadership competition are due into the State 4-H Office by January 22, 2024. More information can be learned by clicking on the link below in “related links.” For a guide to assembling a 4-H portfolio, please click on the following link: Portfolio Guidelines. All other portfolio forms can be found online by scrolling down to “portfolio.”