November 27, 2011 - The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust was proud to bring Dr. Eugen Schoenfeld as the guest speaker for the 2011 National 4-H Congress at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.
Dr. Schoenfeld is a distinguished sociologist, Jewish scholar and Holocaust survivor. He was born in Hungary (in what is now part of Czechoslovakia.)He lived with his parents, brother, and sister until 1944 when the Nazis began rounding up the Jews in Hungary. He and his family were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau. In August of that year they were forced to march 70 miles to Dachau during which Dr. Schoenfeld described his severe thirst forced him to dig in the dirt until he found ground water to drink. In 1945 Dachau was liberated by American troops and Dr. Schoenfeld stepped forward upon their arrival because he was able to speak English. He recalled how he immediately befriended everyone when the first thing he asked for was a pack of cigarettes. Dr. Schoenfeld repeated his message to the 4-H audience that day that we are each created human but it is vital that we add the 'e' so that we are humane. His story touched over 1,000 youths that day and it is Dr. Schoenfeld's hope that each and every one of them take his message to hear as they continue to become capable, competent, and caring citizens.
The National 4-H Congress is the capstone event of 4-H, the United States Department of Agriculture's youth development program. For eighty-nine years, youth from the United States and its territories have participated in this youth leadership development conference. Congress offers youth, ages 14-19, a quality, educational, and cross-cultural experience that exceeds what any state independently provides.
The program is built upon the Cooperative Extension System's belief that young people can be significant partners in addressing the issues that face our nation, especially those affecting youth. Each year a National Design Team of Extensio neducators, 4-H youth, and 4-H adult volunteers review curent youth issues and etermine the most effective ways to address them. The program combines plenary sessions, seminars, discussion groups, and a service learning experience. Outstanding national community leaders, speakers, and educators present the most current and timely information available.
The 2011 National 4-H Congress marks the 109th year of 4-H programs. Originally designed to serve rural, agricultural youth the organization has expanded to all strata of our nations' population representing a variety of economic, social and cultural backgrounds. Members hail from farms, small towns, suburbs, and cities representing all races and ethnic groups. A variety of subject areas in addition to agriculture are used to develop these youth.
"Become a Catalyst for Change" is this year's theme. Each young person will be encourages to use what they learn to positively impact their peers and home communities. Atlanta provides outstanding local program resources as well as a positive backdrop for youth issue discussions. The event includes 1100 delegates.
National 4-H Congress is designed to help 4-H youth people develop their knowledge and leadership skills to positively impact their peers and home communities. Atlanta has provided a perfect classroom for the youth. They have been exposed to a variety of the most outstanding workshop leaders and plenary speakers as well as the cultural offerings of the city. Congress is designed to develop altruistic contributing community members.