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COURT HOUSE - Did you know that public speaking is the top fear in the world? More people are afraid to speak in front of a group than are afraid of spiders and snakes. 

According to a release, Cape May County 4-H members overcome that fear every year during annual 4-H public presentations week. 

4-H Program Coordinator Linda Horner stated, “Public speaking is a skill that our 4-H’ers will use their entire lives... in school, at college interviews, during job interviews and throughout their careers. Being able to communicate to a group of people in an organized and interesting fashion takes practice, and public presentations help grow their skills.” 

This year, public presentations are, once again, virtual. 

4-H members have until April 24 to record and upload their video presentations to a secure channel that only screened and trained 4-H volunteer judges can see.

According to Horner, “NJ 4-H staffers reworked the entire 4-H youth program so that we could continue to provide interactive, fun, educational learning and socialization experiences for our 4-H members virtually throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year was the first year that public presentations were held virtually, and it was a learning experience for all. This year, we are all better equipped to handle the process.”

Public presentations have long been an integral part of the 4-H “Learning by Doing” approach to youth development. 

4-H members are required to do a presentation each year. They may choose from four types of presentations: demonstration, illustrated talk, formal speech and performing arts. The youngest members of the 4-H family – Cloverbuds, kindergarten through third grade, are also allowed to try their hands at public speaking. 

Horner added, “The only difference now is that 4-H members are not presenting in front of a group; however, the same preparation and organization is needed to complete the task. Public presentations remain great learning experiences.”

4-H public presentations are judged using the Danish system, which compares competitors to standards of achievement based on age and years of experience, not to one another. Any 4-H member in grades 8 through 13 who receives a blue ribbon is invited to enter NJ State Virtual 4-H Public Presentations in the summer.

Questions regarding the 2021 Cape May County 4-H Presentations should be emailed to Alicia at cmchgirl@gmail.com. For information about the Cape May County 4-H Youth Development Program, visit capemay.njaes.rutgers.edu or call 609-465-5115, ext. 3605.

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