The National 4-H Conference is a civic engagement opportunity for youth representing land-grant universities. Held annually in Washington, D.C., this year’s program was hosted virtually in April, and Ohio sent five youth delegates.
Emily Scaff (Scioto County), Elizabeth Fannin (Jackson County), Sydney Fannin (Warren County), Cadence Richard (Allen County), and Piper Brill (Franklin County) represented Ohio 4-H for the five-day conference that included roundtable discussions, networking, and meeting with elected officials.
The virtual format of the conference encouraged 4-H participants to develop positive relationships with youth from across the country in new ways. Delegate Elizabeth Fannin said, “I learned how to work efficiently with a team via Zoom. Not only was our project time-sensitive, but we also had to ensure it was professionally done. To accomplish that, we had to break down technological barriers and work towards a common goal.”
During roundtable sessions, youth participated in briefings and topics ranging from rural development to older youth opportunities. Ohio 4-H alumna Emmy Beck-Aden facilitated a roundtable topic and said, “We partnered with USDA Rural Development and provided suggestions and ideas to increase job acquisition and retention in rural communities. I enjoyed seeing delegates come together to research and brainstorm ideas as they prepared their briefings and interacted with federal agency representatives.”
Justin Bower, Ohio 4-H educator from Logan County, served as the conference capnote speaker. “It was an honor to see how this generation of community leaders will impact and change the people, places, policies, and world around them. 4-H youth continually inspire me as they turn their passions into reality.”
Delegate Emily Scaff is excited to use the lessons she learned at the conference. “I plan to work with other 4-H’ers to create positive change in our area, and I hope to keep working to find solutions that could help bridge the career gap in my rural community.”
Piper Brill added, “There are so many passionate 4-H’ers around the country who are eager to make change. Despite being online for the conference, working with different individuals from all around the country was inspiring and incredibly heartwarming.”
Ohio 4-H was also represented by Matthew Swearingen (Adams County), who served on the National Conference Youth Leadership Team. Collegiate roundtable facilitators included Molly Hunt (Darke County), Samantha Mozena (Muskingum County), and Maddie Allman (Vinton County). Sally McClaskey (State 4-H office) served as a panel moderator. Crystal Sheppard (Adventure Central) and Sarah Longo (State 4-H office) served as chaperones, and Kayla Oberstadt (State 4-H office) served her third year as an advisor to roundtable facilitators.
Ohio’s National 4-H Conference delegates are grateful for the financial support provided by the Ohio 4-H Foundation for this educational and leadership opportunity. Would you like to support this program? You can donate here.