Ohio 4-H'ers Experience Presidential Inauguration

Jan. 30, 2013

4-H members from across Ohio joined together on January 19, 2013 to travel to Washington D.C. to experience an exciting time in our nation’s history. During this four-day trip, 4-Hers had the opportunity to tour national monuments and museums; participate in educational programs focused on government and history; and attend the 57th Presidential Inauguration on January 21, 2013. Participants on the trip stayed at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Carolyn Belczyk, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development in Adams County and one of the trip planners shared, “The Inauguration is a perfect time to spark a youth’s interest in government and history. What better way to learn about government and history, but to take a road trip and live it?”

Two buses took the 4-H members to Washington D.C. One left from the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center in Columbus and the other left from Cleveland, Ohio.  A total of 97 people from 18 counties represented Ohio 4-H on the trip. Generous sponsors helped reduce the cost of the trip. The Cleveland Metropolitan School District and PNC Bank supplied the funds necessary to pay for the bus from Cuyahoga County. Funding from the Sam Cashman Family 4-H Endowment and the Richard B. and Nancy E. Stahl Family 4-H Endowment through the Ohio 4-H Foundation helped with defray trip expenses for the entire delegation.

Inauguration history was one topic highlighted on the trip. According to the official Inauguration website, the first Inauguration of George Washington was in April 1789, in front of New York's Federal Hall. The first Inauguration to take place in Washington D.C. was that of Thomas Jefferson in 1801. Interestingly, Jefferson was staying at a boarding house near the Capitol Building. He walked to the Capitol, took the oath of office, delivered his Inauguration Address and then returned to the boarding house for dinner. The Inauguration Day has changed much in our history. A day-long series of events makes up current Inauguration traditions. A morning worship service, swearing in ceremonies, an inaugural lunch, parade and ball are all part of the festivities.

While in Washington D.C., 4-Hers had the opportunity to get to know others in the Ohio group through activities planned by trip organizers. A day of sight-seeing and a twilight tour of monuments was the highlight of Sunday. On Monday, members had the chance to watch the swearing in ceremony. A special Inauguration Ball just for the Ohio 4-H members was held Monday evening at the National 4-H Center.

This experience was planned by a team of Ohio 4-H Professionals including Robin Stone, Program Coordinator, 4-H Youth Advisory Committee of Cuyahoga County; Carolyn Belczyk, Adams County 4-H Extension Educator and Nadine Fogt, Fayette County 4-H Extension Educator. Christy Clary, a Purdue Grad Student and former Citizenship Washington Focus Program Assistant also assisted in planning the trip. Support was also provided by Doug Swanson, National 4-H Program Leader, and Maria McNeely, National 4-H Youth Program Opportunities manager. Extension 4-H professionals that traveled with the group included Annie Davis, Dr. Theresa Ferrari, Mark Light, Christy Millhouse and Jo Williams.