The National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C., dates back to 1927 and is the pinnacle experience in civic engagement for 4-H members. It gives delegates the opportunity to discuss timely topics that affect them—climate change, student health, college affordability, and more. They examine issues and explore solutions, leading to important conversations with federal officials.
This year, Ohio 4-H delegates had the option to attend in-person or virtually, and several shared their reflections:
Kalleigh, Henry County
My time as an Ohio delegate at the National 4-H Conference was unlike anything I had experienced before, and it truly had an impact on me as a 4-H member and as a citizen. While everything I did in D.C. was memorable and impactful, what I remember most is meeting other 4-H members from around the nation, hearing about their 4-H programs, the opportunities they have, and most of all, their individual 4-H stories. Whether it was hearing a rancher from Oklahoma speak or a person who lives in San Diego, 4-H has benefited each and every individual at the conference in a positive but different way, ultimately allowing them to grow as individuals.
Travis, delegate from Licking County
The National 4-H Conference went above and beyond my expectations. I was proud to be part of the Ohio delegation. The people I met through this experience are truly lifelong friends. I learned a great deal through my roundtable that I can apply to my life, such as how to create a professional group presentation on a short timeline. Seeing all the sights in Washington was an awesome experience. We walked all over Washington, D.C., including 11 miles in one day with no complaining! I am forever thankful for the opportunity 4-H has afforded me.
Madi, delegate from Huron County
I had the honor of attending the National 4-H Conference this year as a virtual delegate. My roundtable was tasked with covering student health and presenting to members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite only having four short days together, my team created a pamphlet, script, and slideshow presentation with all our ideas. Presenting to the CDC was my favorite part of National 4-H Conference. The experience made me feel heard, like I was doing something that might actually make a difference. It was stressful going into the briefing, but I left the presentation with a big smile on my face, knowing I accomplished something impactful.
Even as a virtual delegate, there was a social aspect. I made connections and forged friendships with individuals from California to Idaho, friendships with people who share the same passion for 4-H and improving our world as I do.
The National 4-H Conference also helped me get a glimpse into doing something I could find myself doing in my future career. I plan to double major in political science and community leadership and I hope to work for an impactful non-profit. I will probably find myself preparing and giving briefs to government agencies, and thanks to the National 4-H Conference, I now have experience doing just that. This conference provided me with a greater insight of how federal agencies work together to improve the lives of everyone in the U.S.
Thanks to donors
The Ohio 4-H delegation is grateful for being selected to attend this year’s conference and extended their thanks to the donors who helped make it possible. If you would like to give to support this experience in the future, donate to the National 4-H Conference fund.
"National 4-H Conference will always stand out as one of the biggest highlights of my 4-H career." —Madi