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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


National 4-H Conference helps Ohio teens grow as leaders

The Ohio delegates gathering for a photo during the recognition dinner.

Ohio 4-H members participated in the pinnacle experience in 4-H civic engagement in April as they traveled to Washington, D.C. for National 4-H Conference. Delegates connected with fellow 4-H’ers from across the country and engaged in unparalleled discovery, learning, and professional development opportunities.

Throughout this five-day conference, youth participated in roundtable discussions with their peers and prepared briefings that they later presented to federal 4-H members posing for a photo in front of the Capitol Building.officials. “This opportunity taught me the importance of collaborating with those different than me,” said Audrey Davis, a delegate from Perry County. “In my roundtable, I worked with people that had different beliefs and backgrounds than I had, and we all put our minds and experiences together to create an awesome presentation!”

“I think the most impactful part of this conference is watching the groups go through the forming, storming, norming, and then preforming phases of team development,” said Chris Bruynis, Extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Ross County and a chaperone on the trip. “The process helped them find their voice as young leaders and learn that different perspectives enrich the recommendations they made to Ohio 4-H members smiling for a photo after giving pins to Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young and Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small.the federal partners.”

In addition to meeting federal officials and sharing the impact of 4-H with them, teens had the opportunity to participate in a 4-H flag raising ceremony at the USDA Headquarters; visit Capitol Hill; and tour the monuments, museums, and historic buildings in Washington, D.C.

The experience was brought to a close with a career fair, where youth had time to speak with representatives from federal agencies and organizations about careers they can pursue after high school. “I learned a lot about civic engagement, and the career fair taught me about internships the USDA offers,” said Sara Bailey, a Columbiana County 4-H member. “I am excited to look into these opportunities, as well as a potential career with the USDA.”Beau Ingle, policy coordinator for CFAES Government Affairs, taking delegates on a tour of Washington, D.C.

“What made this experience so special was getting to meet 4-H’ers from around the world. This trip also taught me new communication and design skills, and I learned how to effectively communicate the ideals of the 4-H program, as well as my own story,” said Highland County 4-H member Wyatt Morrow.

The Ohio 4-H Youth Delegation is grateful for the opportunity to represent Ohio at 2024 National 4-H Conference. The delegation members extend their thanks to all the donors who made this trip possible and are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this life-changing experience. If you would like to give to support this experience in the future, please donate to the Ohio 4-H National Conference fund.