Youth voices come together at National 4-H Youth Conference

4-H hosted its National 4-H Conference April 9-14. This year, Jackie Martin, our MSU Extension 4-H leadership and civic engagement educator, led a group of four outstanding 4-H individuals to Washington, D.C. for the conference: Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young.

MSU 4-H youth Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young pose for a photo with Congressman Huizenga.

MSU 4-H youth Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young pose for a photo with Congressman Huizenga.

This conference is the premier civic engagement opportunity for 4-H members ages 15 to 19 to increase their knowledge, resources and skills. It engages youth in personal development experiences as they discuss topics affecting youth and programs nationwide. It empowers and mobilizes them to create positive social change in their communities.

Jackie Martin shared about the conference and the many engagement opportunities for the youth.

“National 4-H Conference brings youth together from across the country to research an issue presented to them by one of many federal agencies,” she said.

Youth bring diverse perspectives representing youth voice together by preparing a presentation they share with federal agency representatives from programs and departments such as the Department of State, the Department of Energy, AmeriCorps and the Department of Education.

Each 4-H’er shared about her experience.

Samantha, from Monroe County, who takes part in 4-H in sheep, rabbits, chickens, still exhibits, leadership and community service projects, said, “National 4-H Conference allowed me to gain a new perspective on 4-H and the global opportunities it offers.”

Katelyn, active in 4-H in Muskegon County with sheep projects, still exhibits and leadership, said, “It changed my view on the political world and I got to see more in-depth what goes into the decision to go to college while working with a diverse round table group.”

Katie, involved in sewing, baking, crafting, public speaking and leadership in Emmet County, said, “National 4-H Conference helped me gain a better perspective of how Extension works as well as helped me broaden my knowledge of our government and peers.”

“National 4-H Conference gave me a better perspective on the different 4-H programs throughout the country,” Emma from Washtenaw County and active with 4-H chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, still exhibits, leadership and archery, said. “The visits gave me insight into a typical day for a government official and I’m considering my own future in political service.”

Jackie said, “Youth share their voice on Capitol Hill as they represent Michigan 4-H in meetings with senators, representatives and their staff. It’s always a joy to watch youth step up to a big challenge and exceed our expectations while gaining friends and perspectives from across the U.S.”

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