Dickinson visits U.S. capital on 4-H trip
Sam Dickinson learned about government 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 Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
“It was a huge learning experience in learning how our government operates,” said Dickinson, a Jefferson County 4-H member and Van Buren High School student. “We had workshops learning how to write a current bill [the New Farm Bill], and a mock Congressional session to debate the bill. Our committee’s bill was the only one to pass of the four bills that were presented to the Congress. It taught me a lot about how government works, since I haven’t had a government class yet.”
For more than 50 years, National 4-H Youth Conference Center has invited 4-H members 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. Citizenship Washington Focus 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 Citizenship Washington Focus, 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 action plan for the Iowa delegates was to establish a volunteer community clean-up day, because this action is lacking in many communities. This would encompass everything from trash pick-up to planting flower gardens and painting structures.
“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 Mary Kramer, youth program specialist for ISUEO. “The experiences these young people gain during CWF gives them the proper tools and confidence to become successful, articulate leaders in the future.”
4-H is a community of 6 million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, nonprofit partner of 4-H National Headquarters at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The 4-H programs are implemented by the 111 land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country.
Learn more about 4-H by visiting the website www.4-h.org or calling the Jefferson County ISU Extension Office at 472-4166.