Building Social Strength and Self Confidence Through Public Speaking

by Darren Cole, Indian River County Extension Youth Development Agent and Joshua Kutyna, Indian River County Extension Program Assistant

Attendees of the 2017 Tropicana Public Speaking Contest held in Indian River County
Attendees of the 2017 Tropicana Public Speaking Contest held in Indian River County

The main focus of the Indian River County 4-H program is to facilitate the learning of life skills by youth involved in the learn-by-doing program. This approach is an integral part of youth development by preparing adolescents for adulthood and easing their integration into the working world by teaching them imperative skills and lessons in social reasoning. One of the best examples of this is the yearly Tropicana Public Speaking Contest. Every year, hundreds of students in Indian River County, and thousands across Florida, engage in communicative speech competition utilizing their own social dexterity to stand out among their peers by writing and delivering a dialog on a topic of their choosing. These topics can vary greatly between speeches, but each and every one has an individuality akin to its’ composer. With the extensive variety of writing styles and personalities on display it’s hard to overlook the significance of this annual contest where youth can display their distinct skills.

IRC 4H and Youth Development Agent Darren Cole presenting awards to last years winners!
IRC 4H and Youth Development Agent Darren Cole presenting awards to last years winners!

The event begins with a classroom level competition which evolves into a school competition (both are coordinated by individual schools). One fourth-grader and one fifth-grader from each school is then chosen to participate in the county-wide competition coordinated by 4-H IRC Extension Staff. And what would a contest be without awards? Classroom contest awards include ribbons for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, as well as participation certificates for every student attempting to improve their verbal communication via this event. School awards are medallions for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in both grade divisions. And for the FINAL County-Wide contest all contributing students will receive a certificate of participation, with elegant wooden plaques awarded to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and one “Honorable Mention” place for each grade division. Additionally, both 1st place winner of each grade division will be awarded with a scholarship to attend 4-H summer camp (June 10th – 14th, 2019) at Camp Cloverleaf in Lake Placid, Fl!

This event is a great opportunity for students to learn and practice general public speaking and organizational skills. Participants learn the importance of planning, setting goals, making decisions, peer communication, self-confidence and maintaining responsibility. All are invaluable skills for the youth of today who plan on transitioning into a fast-paced and increasingly social world. In addition to students bolstering their life skills, schools achieve Language Arts Florida Standards. If you have a child in the Indian River County school system, don’t hesitate to make use of this extraordinary collaboration between the Tropicana Corporation and the Florida 4-H program today!


When: Wednesday, May 15th @ 6 pm

Where: County Commission Chambers, Indian River County Administration Building: 1800 27th Street, Building A, First Floor, Vero Beach, Fl, 32960

For more information please contact the Indian River County 4-H and Youth Development Agent, Darren Cole by: Email: or Phone: (772) 226-4315



Posted: March 13, 2019

Category: 4-H & Youth, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: 4h Public Speaking, 4h Public Speaking Contest, Indian River County 4h, Tropicana Public Speaking, Tropicana Public Speaking Contest, Youth Development, Youth Public Speaking

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