On April 5-11, more than 230 youth from 46 delegations across the United States, United States territories, and Canada participated in the National 4-H Conference at the National 4-H Conference Center near Washington, D.C. The conference engages youth in developing a briefing to a federal agency on an issue of interest for both the youth and the agency.
Jacob Welch was one of nine Minnesota 4-H youth selected as a delegate for this year’s conference. The youth engaged in three months of preparatory meetings before they departed for D.C. While at the conference, each youth delegate was placed in a round table, a group of peers, that were challenged with the task of developing and delivering a briefing to a federal agency. Jacob was on the Future of Agriculture roundtable, and delivered a presentation on to U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. Following their briefings, the delegates also had a chance to visit with Minnesota members of Congress and congressional offices. Conference activities also included an educational workshop on civility, a youth town hall, and networking activities with youth from the other 4-H programs. The delegates also had the opportunity to tour the White House, monuments and war memorials, and some museums along the National Mall.
“The National 4-H Conference provides youth with an incredible opportunity to share their perspectives with federal agencies and legislators who represent us in D. C.,” said Jacquie Lonning, Extension 4-H Youth Development Director of Civic Engagement & Leadership. “As they develop their briefing, they also gain skills in decision making, intercultural communication, and public speaking, all important skills to prepare them to be change agents in their community.”
Jacob stated about the trip, “The National 4-H Conference allowed me to convey my love for agriculture to our elected officials while representing the 4-H program. I met so many other people that had a strong passion for 4-H and the agricultural industry just as I did. It helped me develop and strengthen my leadership and communication skills, which I will use for the rest of my life.”
This experience was sponsored in part by a 4-H endowment at the University of Minnesota Foundation, 4-H Clovermart store, and the Fillmore County 4-H Federation. To learn more about the National 4-H Conference, go to https://z.umn.edu/n4hc or contact Jacquie Lonning, civic engagement & leadership director, at (612) 624-9117.
About Extension 4-H
4-H is a youth development program of the University of Minnesota Extension. Available for youth beginning in kindergarten, 4-H’ers participate in hands-on learning experiences in STEM, leadership & civic engagement, animal science, creative arts and much more. Through 4-H’s learn-by-doing process, youth obtain essential life skills such as problem solving, decision making, coping and communicating that help them succeed in their school, college, community and career. Research shows that youth who participate in 4-H have better grades and are more emotionally engaged with school, are more than twice as likely to be civically active and contribute to their communities. Learn more at https://z.umn.edu/mn4h.