Sumter County 4-H Public Speaking Programs

If you ask many adults what their greatest fear is public speaking would probably rank number one. Ironically, public speaking is a skill that is highly valued and sought after by employers. 4-H Youth Development programs are able to give youth the knowledge, experience, and confidence in public speaking.

The 4-H public speaking program is designed to give 4-H members experience in the preparation and delivery of a 4-H related speech. Participants are able to recognize, organize, and present information on a given topic. The timed speech must be orderly and thorough. 4-H’ers must acquire the ability to speak convincingly in public, expressing ideas effectively with poise and confidence. One of the main programs used to teach youth these skills is through County Events and the 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking

Sumter County 4-H hosted their County Events Day on Saturday, January 27th, 2018 at the Sumter County Fairgrounds in Bushnell. This is an annual event that offers our 4-H members the opportunity to show case their 4-H projects through public speaking or illustrated talks/demonstrations.  -H members develop a presentation, learn presentation skills, practice their presentations, present their speeches to a panel of judges, and receive recognition for their efforts.

4-H members who received a blue ribbon will advance to our 4-H District Events Day in May. Here they will compete against 4-H members from Marion, Citrus, and Hernando Counties. Senior 4-H members who receive a blue ribbon at Districts will present at 4-H University and compete against 4-H members from across the state.

The 4-H Tropicana Public Speaking Contest is an educational program taught by classrooms teachers and is incorporated into the established teacher lesson plan. With the guidance of their teachers, 4th – 6th grade students work on a speech of their choice. The course culminates in classroom competitions where the top speakers from each classroom are chosen to participate in a countywide contest, hosted by the local 4-H program, with winners from other schools. Currently, all of the the Sumter County public and private elementary and middle schools participate in this program. Last year we had a total of 2,224 students participate.

Participation in public speaking contests helps youth master communication skills, become more independent, gain self-esteem and generously share their expertise. As they develop their projects, young people sharpen their critical thinking and organizational skills. Through participating in these programs our youth will have the confidence as adults to state that public speaking is NOT one of their greatest fears!

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