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4-H forum planned March 2-4 in Fairbanks


More than 300 4-H leaders, agents and teens will visit Fairbanks March 2-4 for the 4-H Western Region Leaders Forum.

The annual forum rotates among 13 Western states and will be hosted in Fairbanks for the first time. Conference coordinator Jan Hanscom, a 29-year 4-H volunteer, said the forum provides 4-H leaders and agents opportunities for top-level training they can take home to their clubs.

4-H is a youth development program administered in Alaska by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

More than 100 workshops will include everything from making kuspuks and swine matchmaking to finances for teens, public speaking and affordable forensics. A panel of Alaska Native and Native American youth from North Dakota and their leaders will discuss clubs for Native youth.

The event is largely coordinated by 4-H volunteers assisted by 4-H program staff. An organizing committee has been meeting for five years. Hanscom, who has attended forums in every Western state, advocated for the location.

“I wanted people to come to Fairbanks and experience what Alaska is like,” she said.

Most workshops will take place at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center, but activities are also planned at the fairgrounds and other locations around Fairbanks. Activities will include Alaska sports such as snowshoeing, ice carving and dog mushing.

Preconference activities include three northern lights tours and visits to Delta Junction farms, the Chena Hot Springs Resort and various sites around Fairbanks, including horse farms, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, the Fountainhead Auto Museum, UAF's Large Animal Research Station and UAF's Reindeer Research Program. Fifty-five teens and their chaperones will also spend a day at UAF touring Wood Center and the campus, including the veterinary science facility, the reindeer program and the museum.

Details about the forum are located at www.alaska2016.com. Donations of desserts and fruit are sought for the forum’s hospitality room. Anyone who wants more information about the event or wishes to make a donation may contact Hanscom at 479-3259.


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