4-H Congress is a statewide event where 4-H’ers from across North Carolina gather in Raleigh for an exciting four days of of competitions, leadership experiences, community service, and personal development. Honor Club has a long history of being involved in several aspects of 4-H Congress, and each year, members come together to help make the event a success. North Carolina 4-H Congress 2019 will be held July 20-23, 2019. Want to find out how you can get involved? Keep reading!
Honor Club Member Meeting
On the first night of Congress before the Opening Assembly, current Honor Club members meet at the NCSU McKimmon Center in Raleigh to discuss old and new business, as well as prepare for the Tapping Ceremony. This is a great opportunity for members to connect with one another and stay up to date on the latest Honor Club happenings. A few items that are discussed each year include dates for Honor Club Conference, introduction of the new Honor Club board, and voting on updates to the Constitution and By-Laws.
During the Opening Assembly, new members that were voted on at Honor Club Conference are formally inducted in at the annual Tapping Ceremony. The ceremony is very special to both new and previous inductees, as being inducted into Honor Club is often said to be one of the highest forms of recognition a 4-H’er can achieve. During the ceremony, new inductees are recognized for their accomplishments and given a purple sash to wear during the week at 4-H Congress, while delegates in attendance have the opportunity to watch a video during the ceremony created by Honor Club members to share what being a member is all about: Service.
Friends and family are always invited to attend this exciting occasion, and any friends or family members who are in Honor Club can participate by tapping in their 4-H’ers. It’s an opportunity to pass on a legacy!
Rebecca Parker Murray Honor Club Reception
To celebrate the achievements of new inductees each year, Honor Club sponsors a beautiful reception where new members are welcomed and old members can catch up with one another. For over 25 years, Rebecca Parker Murray prepared the food and led the effort to facilitate the reception, and during her last Congress, Lou Woodard, Johnston County 4-H Agent, and Sharon Runion Rowland, Retired 4-H Development Fund Director, agreed to provide leadership for the reception, which is still held in her honor of her service. Friends and family are invited to attend the event with their 4-H’ers to celebrate their induction into Honor Club and enjoy refreshments.
Honor Club looks for volunteers every year to help prepare, facilitate, and clean up after the reception. It’s a fun way to reconnect with members and give back to Honor Club! To sign up as a volunteer for the reception, contact Sharon Runion Rowland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
State 4-H Officer Elections
Each year at 4-H Congress, four outstanding 4-H’ers are elected by their peers to serve North Carolina 4-H as the State 4-H Council Officer Team. On Monday evening of Congress, votes are collected from each of the counties, whose members are allowed a certain number of electoral votes to cast for the candidate of their choice.
New Honor Club members are asked to help in the election room where votes are tallied from each of the counties, and past Honor Club members are welcome to help alongside them. Having an abundance of volunteers is a good thing, as it allows members to take “shifts” so they can enjoy the final Congress dance! It’s an exciting time and a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes of State Officer elections!
On Monday afternoon, Honor Club members and individuals on the State 4-H Staff come together in Dorton Arena to mark out a giant four-leaf clover in preparation for the annual Candlelight Clover Ceremony, which is sponsored by Honor Club each year. The clover is outlined in chalk using a detailed diagram of the Dorton Area floor, and we encourage Honor Club members to volunteer and assist with this unique process.
Then, in a tradition that has been carried on for generations, Monday evening of 4-H Congress concludes with the youth delegation and volunteers bearing candles as they line up along the outline of the massive clover, as well as along the H’s centered in each of the four leaves. After District and State 4-H Officers have been officially inducted into their new leadership roles, 4-H’ers have their candles lit by Honor Club members, who form the stem of the clover, and sing “Follow the Gleam,” the traditional song of Honor Club. It’s a beautiful sight that all Honor Club members are invited to attend and participate in each year.
Hands to Service Project
The Hands to Service project conducted annually at Congress is one of the largest gatherings of 4-H members from across the state to engage in a large-scale community service project. Honor Club members are invited to help set up on the morning of the event and participate in the project itself. We think it’s a great way to live out the Honor Club motto of service!
Last summer, North Carolina 4-H partnered with Feeding Children Everywhere to prepare 50,175 packaged meals for those suffering from hunger in North Carolina. Thank you to all of our Honor Club members who helped in the implementation of the event, as well as to all of the 4-H’ers, staff, and volunteers who pledged their hands to service in order to make such a huge impact! Stay tuned for information about next year’s Hands to Service Project at 4-H Congress 2019.