Iowa Youth Can Unmask Opportunities at the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference This Summer

AMES, Iowa – Every June, more than 1,000 teenagers converge on the Iowa State University campus for three days full of speakers, workshops, mixers, dances, a banquet and community service activities. The 2013 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, titled Unmask Your Opportunities, will begin June 25 and continue through June 27.

“We chose the theme, Unmask Your Opportunities, because we thought it really shows that by coming to State Conference, you will see all of the opportunities 4-H offers,” said Ashley Smeby, 4-H Youth Conference planning committee co-chair.

A variety of workshops are scheduled each day to spark the many interests of the youth. These workshops range from iPad app design, farming for fun and fighting for world hunger to making cheese and preserving 4-H memories. Youth can choose specialized tracks that focus on a theme and span the three days, or can choose a different workshop each day.

The workshops aren’t the only points of interest at the conference, noted Brenda Allen, conference coordinator and 4-H youth development specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Each day, a different keynote speaker will address the participants about hard work and the future.

Shannon Oleen is a former 4-H’er from Missouri. She was a National Football League cheerleader, before dedicating her life to motivational speaking. She will discuss hard work, having the right attitude and having the passion to achieve dreams.

Kent Julian overcame a speech impediment as a teen and now speaks all over the country. Julian will talk about how to transform thinking and actions to go from normal to beyond.

Grant Baldwin uses humor to challenge youth across the nation to think and apply action to their lives. He is the author of the book, Reality Check, which teaches youth skills to make the transition from high school to college and the real world.

“This year’s speakers come from a variety of backgrounds, but all have used a mixture of motivation and humor to reach thousands of people across the country,” Allen said.

4-H members as well as youth who have not participated in 4-H are encouraged to attend the 2013 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. The deadline to register is May 24. For more information about the 4-H Youth Conference, contact any county office of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach or visit the Iowa 4-H Youth Development website,

“This event is planned by young people for young people, and it makes it both fun and relevant for today’s teens,” said Allen.

Youth interested in helping capture the action at the conference should apply to be in the Camera Corps. There are also opportunities for youth to share their talents during the conference through small group discussion, the Conference Chorus and a Talent Show.