Ohio 4-H’ers joined youth from across the country last month at the Ignite by 4-H National Youth Summit in Washington, D.C. The Ignite summit, hosted by National 4-H Council, combined last year’s National Youth Summit Series (Healthy Living, STEM, and Agriscience) into one mega summit. Youth learned from experts and professionals in each field to review challenges and propose solutions.
Four Ohio 4-H Health HEROES (Health Education Resources for Outreach, Engagement, and Service) attended and heard from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on the state of youth mental health and how they can work toward positive mental health in their own lives and the lives of others. They also participated in educational sessions on nutrition, physical fitness, mental health, and emotional wellness.
The program had an immense impact on participants. “The youth who attended the healthy living series are excited to bring their ideas back to Ohio and see the impact on their friends and communities,” said Justin Bower, state 4-H healthy living educator.
At the STEM sessions, delegates from OSU Upward Bound and Columbus Recreation and Parks attended Ignite to learn about STEM research, technology, and career opportunities. They worked together to develop a plan to bring what they learned back to their own communities. “Ohio’s STEM plan is a national finalist for the award competition. In May the group finds out if they will receive funding from national 4-H to implement their plan,” said Mark Light, Ohio 4-H STEM and digital engagement leader.
4-H’ers from Morrow County also traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the agriscience portion of the summit where they learned about trending topics in agriscience and met some of the most forward-thinking leaders in agriculture. “It opened their eyes to career or volunteer opportunities that they may not have considered and the next steps to help them take advantage of those options,” said Amanda Staley, Extension educator for 4-H in Morrow County.
Emma Smith, who attended the agriscience series, said the Ignite summit was an incredibly meaningful experience. “I was able to meet and make connections with many businesses and agricultural professionals. I was also able to teach and share my knowledge of agriscience and STEM topics that I'm passionate about with other members in a fun, interactive way,” she said.
Funding from multiple sources, including grants through the Ohio 4-H Foundation, made it possible for Ohio to be part of this year’s Ignite by 4-H summit. You can ensure future participation in the program with a donation to the Ohio 4-H Foundation Fund.