Georgia 4-H youth test their LifeSmarts through virtual championship competition

By for CAES News

Four Georgia 4-H Junior Varsity and four Varsity teams virtually competed in the 2021 Georgia LifeSmarts Championship on Feb. 15 and March 5 to test their consumer economics skills.

LifeSmarts, a National Consumers League program, empowers middle and high school students across the U.S. to develop consumer literacy skills needed to succeed in today’s marketplace.

“LifeSmarts teaches students critical thinking skills and expands their knowledge of real-world issues to prepare them for life after high school,” said Brittani Lee, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension 4-H agent and Georgia LifeSmarts co-coordinator. “The life skills that LifeSmarts students gain through the program will aid them in being well-rounded, knowledgeable and prepared adults in tomorrow’s world. Not only are they preparing for the future, but they are having fun too.”

The competition quizzes the participants on five categories: personal finance, consumer rights and responsibilities, technology, health and safety, and the environment. The student teams, under the guidance of an adult coach, participated in an online qualifying competition series. The four highest-scoring Junior Varsity and Varsity teams were invited to compete in the state championship. The state championship was conducted virtually this year.

“Both our Varsity and Junior Varsity teams did a great job adapting to our virtual format this year,” said Courtney Still Brown, Extension 4-H specialist for healthy living programs and Georgia LifeSmarts co-coordinator. “It is really encouraging to see these young people understanding and explaining concepts such as budgeting, consumer rights, online safety and much more. They certainly have a head start on how to navigate the complex consumer issues that we face today.”

The first-place varsity team will represent Georgia in the National LifeSmarts Championship. Through a wild-card bid process, the Madison and Gordon County teams has received a bid to compete in the National Championship as well.

In addition to the wild card teams who will compete at the National Championship, the Rockdale, Gwinnett and Oconee Team A teams will also be eligible to compete, having qualified for the 2020 national competition that was canceled due to COVID-19.

The winners of the 2021 Georgia 4-H LifeSmarts Competition are:

Varsity teams

  • First place: Alana Burcaw (team captain), Kennedy Gross, Allyson Runyon and Madison Tomaso — Columbia County
  • Second place: Bethany Craven, Gabriel Craven (team captain), Gus Frederico, Jake Hall and Wesley Hughes — Bartow County
  • Third place: Alyssa Haag (team captain), Jack Marable, Abbigail Miller and Lexi Pritchard — Oconee County
  • Fourth place: Clayton Adams, Alyssa Goldman, Sara Gross and Sophia Merka (team captain) — Madison County

Junior Varsity teams

  • First place: Emily Hadley, Allie Stephens, Julianna Walsky (team captain) and Samantha Walsky — Elbert County
  • Second place: Addie Andrews, Hannah Oellerich, Lillian Padgett and Sara Sonnier (team captain) — Columbia County
  • Third place: Brendon Frankland (team captain), Emma Faye Howard, Katie Hughes and Hylan Westberry-Davis — Bartow County
  • Fourth place: Lily Earle, Bella Grace Hambrick, Mallory Lasseter and Savannah McDaniel (team captain) — Madison County

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 190,000 people annually through UGA Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org or contact your local Extension office.

Austin Clark is a Georgia 4-H public relations associate.
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