Area 4-H’ers attend National 4-H Youth Conference in nation’s capital

Trisha GedonSpecial to the J-C

STILLWATER — A group of 45 Oklahoma 4-H’ers and adults made their way to Washington, D.C., to participate in Citizenship Washington Focus. Every summer, hundreds of young people from across the country participate in CWF, an educational conference that takes place at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center near Washington, D.C.

Tracy Beck, state 4-H events and activities coordinator, said for more than 50 years CWF has provided 4-H youth with an opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at our nation’s capital, as well as opportunities to explore, develop and refine their community and civic engagement skills to be outstanding leaders in their communities. Oklahoma’s delegation started their journey June 12 and returned June 22.

“Leadership development has long played a big role in 4-H programming. Our club members have an awesome opportunity to explore Washington, D.C., and learn more about the leaders who have shaped our country,” Beck said. “CWF provides delegates with an opportunity to strengthen their communication, leadership and citizenship skills on the national level. In addition, youth experience hands-on learning using the historical backdrop of Washington, D.C.”

Sadie Hainzinger, a member of the Braden 4-H Club, and Harleigh Moore, a member of the Woodland 4-H Club, were a part of the 2014 CWF delegation. On the way to Washington, D.C., they visited the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, as well as made stops in Gettysburg and Independence Square in Philadelphia.

Beck said in addition to all of the educational experiences offered to CWF delegates, they also had an opportunity to meet members of Congress, hear motivational speakers and take part in workshops and assemblies that increase their individual commitment to citizen involvement. Some workshop topics include citizenship toolbox, bill writing, congressional issues, strategy, action planning and Capitol Hill orientation.

“Throughout their time at CWF, delegates progressed through a series of workshops with the basics of good citizenship and culminating with action planning for their own communities,” Beck said.

While in Washington, D.C., the Oklahoma delegation had an opportunity to visit landmarks such as the Capitol Building, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, presidential and war monuments and memorials and some of the Smithsonian museums.

“Overall, this is a great educational trip for our club members. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to see first-hand what they have been learning in their history and civics classes,” she said.