MAHASKA COUNTY — In June, Mahaska County 4-H members, Grace Marshall and Charlize DeArmond 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, Maryland.
Grace Marshall said it was a trip of a lifetime.
“My mom still remembers going on this trip as a 4-Her,” she said. “Getting to see all of the monuments was like a dream come true for me. It is so cool to see a place in D.C., like the Capitol, on TV and be able to say, ‘I’ve been there!’ I highly recommend going on this trip.”
For 60 years, National 4-H Conference Center has invited thousands of young people from across the country to travel to Washington, D.C. and participate in civic workshops, committees and field trips before returning home to make positive changes in their own communities. CWF not only strengthens young people’s understanding of the government’s civic process, but it also 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. Plans from the Iowa 4-H Delegation included replicating workshops on civil discourse with other teens, hosting back-to-school carnivals to support fundraising for school supplies, and hosting educational tours about agriculture to better connect rural and urban communities.
“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 & 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.”
Charlize DeArmond continued her civic engagement learning through the Civil Teen Discourse 4-H group. This group took part in the “Great Iowa State Pitch-Off: STANDING InnOVATION,” which was hosted by Iowa State University at the Iowa State Fair to showcase the energy and creativity of young entrepreneurs and how that results in innovation and entrepreneurial projects that impact Iowa communities and businesses. Two pitches sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach were among the seven finalists receiving $2,500 awards. The Civil Teen Discourse 4-H group of Owynn McNutt, Charlize DeArmond and Nicholas Stocks, received the $2,500 Youth Entrepreneur Award. Lynn Bolin, with the New Day Dairy pitch, received the $2,500 Community Entrepreneur Award. Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen presented the awards August 18.
This news release was sent to the Herald.