West Virginia 4-H’ers are doing more than improving their communities—they’re also working on global and national issues by providing a youthful voice for positive change as delegates at the 2016 National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.
As representatives of the West Virginia University Extension Service 4-H Youth Development program, each delegate had the unique opportunity to present and discuss national issues with leaders of assigned federal agencies during the conference, held April 9-14, including the Department of Energy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Corporation for National and Community Service and National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
A premier civic engagement opportunity for active 4-H members, the National 4-H Conference selects youths based on a rigorous application process that calls on candidates to submit resumes and essays, interview and attend leadership training up to a year prior to the annual event.
Denis Scott, WVU Extension Service civic engagement and global education specialist, had the opportunity to mentor and lead the delegation initiatives for the event. According to Scott, West Virginia 4-H youth delegates worked with teammates from all over the country to prepare and present ideas to their assigned agencies.
“These agencies were looking to gain youthful perspectives on topics that affect all of us,” said Scott. “Whether it was a topic on climate change, volunteerism or alternative energy, it was inspiring to witness our 4-H’ers take on the role of innovators and initiate a dialogue with leaders of key governmental agencies on how we could find solutions to these issues.”
West Virginia 4-H Youth delegates and their assigned agencies included: Lewis County 4-H’er Anna Loyd, DOE-Bioenergy Alternatives; Hardy County 4-H’er Mallory Sisler, NOAA-Understanding Climate Change; Preston County 4-H’er Abigail Waugh, CNCS-Community Volunteerism; and Wood County 4-H’er Morgan Fling, NASA-Citizen Science Concerning Climate Issues.
During their time at the conference, delegates participated in the Grow True Leaders Youth Rally which celebrated the accomplishments of 4-H’ers worldwide and showcased their skills and talents to event attendees.
Delegates also met singer/songwriter Jennifer Nettles, heard from the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, attended a Congressional Breakfast with WVU President Gordon Gee and met with congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill.
For more than a century, 4-H has focused on agricultural science, electricity, mechanics, entrepreneurship and natural sciences. Today, 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: Brittany Dick, WVU Extension Service
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.