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Adult 4-H volunteer leaders meet in Albuquerque for annual forum

ALBUQUERQUE - ¬Adult 4-H volunteer leaders from across New Mexico will gather in Albuquerque Nov. 10-11 for the annual 4-H Leaders Forum. This year's theme, Soaring to New Heights with 4-H, will be highlighted with the Saturday luncheon speaker, retired astronaut and Air Force Col. Sid Gutierrez

"Talk about someone who has soared to great heights," said Cindy Grooms, New Mexico 4-H Leaders Association president of the forum's keynote speaker. "Native New Mexican and first Hispanic to both pilot and command space shuttles for NASA, Col. Gutierrez has logged more than 4,500 hours of flying as an Air Force instructor, fighter and test pilot. He has flown more than 30 different types of airplanes, sailplanes, balloons and rockets. His life is an inspiration for setting and reaching goals."

The one-and-a-half day conference at the Albuquerque Wyndham Hotel is filled with interactive workshops.

"The forum is designed specifically for volunteer leaders," said Linda Schultz, New Mexico State University 4-H youth development specialist. "There will be 20 workshops on Saturday being taught by 4-H leaders, Cooperative Extension Service 4-H agents and NMSU faculty members. During the forum there will be a lot of different learning opportunities for our adult volunteers and parents are also invited to participate."

The volunteer leaders will refresh their skills in a variety of workshops including creating a volunteer team, basics of parliamentary procedure, sharing leadership skills with the youth, mentoring minds for successful learning in the 21st Century and how to launch a 4-H program.

In keeping with the 4-H model of being a service organization, the forum participants will donate new toys or books to the Toys for Tots program.

Saturday's activities will conclude with an outing to the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum.

The conference will conclude Sunday on a positive note as members of the New Mexico 4-H Leadership Team talk about their experiences as 4-H members.

"The key to 4-H members pushing their limits and soaring to new heights is the adult volunteer leaders," Schultz said. "The conference will conclude with a session that we hope will take the leaders up, up and away with new ideas, projects and activities that they can take home to share with their members. The workshop will help them assist their 4-H members to soar."

New Mexico, along with other states hosting 4-H Leaders' Forums, received $2,000 from Monsanto Company to support the training and education of 4-H volunteers.

"4-H is supported nationwide by a dedicated network of volunteers who know the value of strong, positive youth development. Partners like Monsanto Company make it possible for 4-H to continue to build and sustain our volunteer base and ensure that even more youth enjoy fulfilling 4-H experiences," said Donald T. Floyd Jr., National 4-H Council's president and chief executive officer.

"Monsanto has a long-standing tradition of providing support for 4-H," said Jim Tobin, director of Monsanto's biotech business development. "Many company employees were 4-H members, and tell us that they credit 4-H for many of the skills they use today to do their jobs - a real credit to the 4-H volunteer leaders who assisted them in their learning process."

Monsanto is also providing financial support to regional 4-H Forums.