Peyton Goldade, Samantha Johnson, Aubrey Bornemann and Tyler Schmidt from the Morton County 4-H program learned about political processes in the vibrant, living classroom of the nation’s capital as part of Citizenship Washington Focus, an intensive 4-H civic engagement program for high-school youth held at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.
For more than 50 years, the center has invited thousands of young people from across the country to travel to Washington and participate in civic workshops, committees and field trips before returning home to make positive changes in their communities. CWF not only strengthens young people’s understanding of the government’s civic process, but boosts their leadership skills, communication skills and overall confidence.
During CWF, youth get a behind-the-scenes look at the nation’s capital while meeting with members of Congress to learn more about how their government works. At the end of the program, youth draft step-by-step action plans to address important issues in their communities. The North Dakota delegation chose youth alcohol abuse and put together an action plan to bring back to their state.
“CWF is a great opportunity for young people to come together, talk about the problems they see in their communities, and identify solutions to make their communities stronger,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “The experiences these young people gain during CWF gives them the tools and confidence to grow and thrive as leaders.”
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4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization, empowers nearly 6 million young people across the United States through experiences that develop critical life skills. 4-H is the youth development program of our nation’s Cooperative Extension System and USDA, and serves every county and parish in the U.S. through a network of 110 public universities and more than 3,000 local Extension offices. Globally, 4-H collaborates with independent programs involving 1 million youth in 50 countries. The research-backed 4-H experience grows young people who are four times more likely to contribute to their communities; two times more likely to make healthier choices; two times more likely to be civically active; and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.
Karla Meikle is the Morton County Extension agent for 4-H Youth Development.