The N.C. State 4-H Congress is an annual educational event sponsored by the 4-H Youth Development Department at N.C. State University and planned by the State 4-H Council. This council is composed of 20 young people who serve as officers from their respective districts and 4 state officers who are elected at Congress. The Congress will be attended by approximately 800 youth ranging in age from 9 to 19 and representing every county in North Carolina.
The major purposes of N.C. 4-H Congress are:
- To perpetuate the reputation of 4-H as a major state-wide educational program.
- To improve delegates knowledge of current issues through educational experiences such as speakers, discussion groups, workshops, etc.
- To provide an opportunity to develop and exercise leadership skills through serving on committees and participating in certain programs.
- To provide an opportunity for delegates to participate in the democratic process through campaigning for and electing state 4-H officers.
- To provide recreational and social experiences for delegates.
- To select winners in presentations and certain activities through state contests.
- To provide recognition for project, activity, and scholarship winners.
The Candlelighting Ceremony coordinated by the NC 4-H Honor Club is one of the highlights of congress. Each male delegate forms the H's while the female delegates form the clover leaves around them. NC 4-H Honor Club members form the stem of the clover.