Pledging our Hope for a Bright Tomorrow

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Please enjoy pictures from the 2013 Gala

photos generously provided by Ronnie Owings

Georgia's First Lady Sandra Deal, the honorary chair of the 2013 Georgia 4-H Gala and Governor Nathan Deal welcomed over 420 guest August 10 for a benefit gala to support 4-H themed "Come Back to Camp." The gala was held August 10 at the Loews Hotel in midtown Atlanta. The gala raised over $240,000 to support the Georgia 4-H camping program where over 10,000 young people participated at one of the Georgia 4-H Centers last summer.

Georgia's five summer camping programs provide youth with experiences in understanding and navigating group dynamics, self-discovery, relationship building, practicing healthy personal habits and appreciation of the environment. Two of the four 4-H essential elements, independence and belonging, are interwoven in the program design for summer camp.

Chair and Co-Chair of the 4-H Gala were Brandie Park and Tino Johnson, both 4-H alumni who remain very passionate about the value of 4-H today. Both did an excellent job executing an evening. University of Georgia President Jere Morehead greeted the crowd and commented on the strength of the 4-H program in Georgia and its strong connection to the University. The highly successful 4-H Environmental Program was spotlighted by Associate Dean Beverly Sparks and Arch Smith. This program will reach its one millionth participant this fall.

Guests has the opportunity to bid on a number of silent and live auction items including many autographed memorabilia, artwork, jewelry and experiences to Italy and Africa. At the conclusion of the evening, an appeal was made to the group of supporters to make gifts of all size to support the program that raised nearly $10,000.

The highlight of the evening was the recognition of Harold Darden as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Harold was reared on a farm in Troup County, Georgia. He received his B.S. in Agriculture from Auburn and his Masters in Education in Counseling and Guidance from UGA. After serving 4 years in World War ll, he returned home to serve 7 years as assistant county agent in DeKalb County followed by 2 years as county agent in Carroll County, Georgia. In 1955, Darden was offered a position on the State 4-H Staff that led to developing the premiere camping program at Rock Eagle 4-H Center. While on the State Staff, Harold developed many of the programs that are still in existence. Harold Darden earned the titles of Honorary Master 4-H'er, Honorary Counselor, as well as induction in the National 4-H Hall of Fame - a prestigious award bestowed on very few individuals. He was the first Chief of the Rock Eagle Nation, and he worked to create the 4-H Hour, a TV program which showcased Georgia 4-H'ers on WAGA-TV in Atlanta for more than 25 years. He was named Associate Professor Emeritus and Associate State 4-H Leader Emeritus following his retirement in 1975. Darden was recognized as one of the founders of Rock Eagle 4-H Center when Founder's Lodge opened. In his response, Mr. Darden captivated the crowd with stories and humor as he reflected on his 4-H career.

After the conclusion of the gala many 4-H alumni and supporters enjoyed entertainment provided by Yacht Rock Revue. The evening was filled with so many positive remarks and reunited and reinvigorated many 4-H alumni from years past, as well as introduced many new supporters to the program. Georgia 4-H is fortunate to have the support of so many who see the value of 4-H and the positive difference that it is making in the lives of young people. The 2015 gala will be held the second Saturday of August.


Special thanks to our sponsors.

Presenting Sponsors:

Gold Sponsor:

Silver Sponsor:




Thank you to our Honorary Chair
Georgia's First Lady Sandra Deal


First Lady Deal, who is known for her servant's heart, has a great appreciation for the Georgia 4-H summer camping programs and their benefits to today's youth.  Mrs. Deal has centered her life on matters involving family and children and is delighted to serve as this year's 4-H Gala Honorary Chair.



Honoring Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Harold Darden Emeritus Associate State 4-H Leader


The event will be honored Mr. Harold Darden, Associate Professor Emeritus and Associate State 4-H Leader Emeritus, who received the 4-H Lifetime Achievement Award.  Mr. Darden worked in the initial development of the Georgia 4-H camping program, among numerous other contributions to the Georgia 4-H program.


Proceeds from this year's event will support the camping program at each of the 4-H centers. To learn more click here.