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4-H members from SD place at national FCS contest


South Dakota State University Extension 4-H members scored high marks at the 2024 National 4-H FCS Championship and Conference. 

South Dakota’s family and consumer sciences skill-a-thon team won fourth place overall and placed second in the life skills assessment, and Lake County 4-H member Sophia Sudenga placed second in presentation for constructed outfits in fashion revue.

The National 4-H FCS National Championship and Conference was Jan. 10-13 in San Antonio, Texas, including the skill-a-thon, consumer decision making, fashion revue, educational presentations and quiz bowl competitions. 

The FCS skill-a-thon tests competitors’ knowledge across food and cooking, housing/interior design and sewing/clothing. To compete at the national skill-a-thon contest, 4-H members must qualify during the state contest at the South Dakota State Fair through object identification, oral presentations and judging. 

This year’s team was Megan Krueger and Karin Sweeter from Lincoln County, Rylie Sleep from Pennington County and Lucy Walker from Codington County. At the national contest, they had to identify 25 items in each category in addition to the life skills assessment, which provides them with a scenario and gives them 10 minutes to prepare a 5-minute presentation.

Wendy Sweeter, 4-H Youth Program Advisor in Lincoln County and the team’s coach, said the team members were assigned imaginary jobs with salaries during one of the educational sessions and tasked with determining how to rent an apartment, pay bills and manage their budget. 

“I think it’s always good for our 4-H youth to travel to these national events. It gives them some new opportunities to go out of their comfort zone a little bit, learn some new things and meet some new people,” said Sweeter. “They did a great job. I’m proud of how all four of them did.” 

Fashion revue allows competitors to either buy or construct (sew) an outfit. 

Competitors are evaluated on their oral presentation, the overall appearance of their outfit, responses to judges’ questions, and modeling. 

To qualify for the national contest, Sudenga won first place at the state 4-H fashion revue contest during the 2023 South Dakota State Fair. Her award-winning outfit is a yellow-and-white floral pattern romper, complemented by a white belt, hat and platform sandals as accessories. 

Amanda Stade, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth in Action Program Manager and Sudenga’s coach, said Sudenga prepared extensively before the event to perfect her presentation and prepare for the interview questions. 

“The National 4-H FCS Championship and Conference was a great opportunity for the 4-H youth from South Dakota,” said Stade. “They did a great job in their respective contests, had the ability to meet other 4-H youth from across the nation, and took in an educational session related to budgeting for the future.”  


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