West Virginia 4-H’ers will learn about policy making, community leadership and service learning at the second annual West Virginia University 4-H Civic Engagement Forum, on March 2-4 in Charleston.

The teens will increase their understanding of how context, history and problems affect policy making in their local communities and on the statewide level.

“This forum unites youths with diverse backgrounds from all corners of the state,” said Jeremy Farley, WVU Extension Service Logan County 4-H agent. “They learn the importance of diversity in problem solving and leadership, which ultimately teaches them how leadership comes about.”

The group will also hear from nationally known leaders, like former prisoner of war and West Virginia native Jessica Lynch, who will provide opening remarks for the forum on Sunday.
The youth are also encouraged to become engaged by developing and committing to service learning projects to improve their own communities.

“They learn how the positive things they do within their communities have a great impact on members of those communities and the world,” said Farley.

The theme of this year’s forum is “The Next 100 Years are Yours,” which helps commemorate the 100-year anniversary of Cooperative Extension Service in West Virginia and across the nation.

Participants will also take part in an internationally themed ball to honor cultures from around the world. The ball includes food and music from other cultures, along with stations to learn about the heritage of each culture.

The forum concludes with a trip to the Capitol for WVU Extension Service’s Day at the Legislature, which provides a chance for youth to see the legislature in action and visit booths of more than 30 exhibitors. Scheduled to speak as part of this event is WVU President E. Gordon Gee.

Historical lecturer and illustrator Steve Stark, who is set to literally illustrate the history and importance of land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension Service, will be the honored guest as the forum’s closing luncheon.

Follow the conversation on social media by searching the hashtags #WV4Hengage and #WVUday.

For more than a century, 4-H has focused on agricultural science, electricity, mechanics, entrepreneurship and natural sciences. Today, 4-H out-of-school opportunities also exist in subjects like rocketry, robotics, biofuels, renewable energy and computer science.

To learn more about new opportunities in the 4-H program, visit ext.wvu.edu, or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.



CONTACT: Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service
304.293.8735, Cassie.Waugh@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.