LITTLE ROCK – Miss America, Savvy Shields, and motivational speaker, Army veteran Fred Grooms will be guest speakers at the 2017 Arkansas State O’Rama for 4-H youth.

The state-level competitive events for Arkansas 4-Hers will be held at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville July 25-27.

Shields will address the opening assembly at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 25, at the Arkansas Union ballroom. Shields is a University of Arkansas student making a special appearance, bringing a message about her platform, “Eat Better, Live Better.”

Grooms will be the keynote speaker, following Shields. A third-generation Army veteran, he rose to the rank of major despite being dyslexic. After leaving the military, Grooms went on to earn masters’ degrees in marketing and education. Today, Grooms travels the country teaching youth about leadership and the lessons that can be learned from failure.

Grooms will twice conduct the workshop: “B.A.S.I.C Student Leadership – Lead Because Others Won’t,” at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 26.

“We are so pleased to have two such inspiring speakers,” said Priscella Thomas-Scott, 4-H events coordinator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “With such a motivated audience, we look forward to seeing the messages from Miss America and from Maj. Grooms take root and bring life to the 4-H motto ‘To make the best better.’”

More than 500 Arkansas 4-H members from all over the state, who qualified through county and district competitions, are expected on the Fayetteville campus for one of the biggest gatherings of 4-Her’s in the state. The 4-H Youth Development program is operated by the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the Division of Agriculture.

In addition to competing for state titles in dozens of categories, the 4-H members will also be recognized for their achievements, including the naming of the Arkansas Governor’s Award, the state’s highest 4-H honor.

For more information about 4-H, contact a county extension agent or visit

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.

— Mary Hightower is director of Communication Services, U of A System Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service.