U.S. National 4-H Conference
The USA National 4-H Conference is America’s annual premiere national civic engagement opportunity for 4-H members across the USA and beyond. 4-H members from across the country will meet first in Ottawa for one evening, where they will learn about the Canadian government and citizenship, and bond as a delegation.
Delegates will not only learn while at the conference, they will have the opportunity to practice and apply in a real world setting their newly developed and refined skills.
As a delegate, you will choose an important societal topic and in round table groups prepare a briefing. During the conference, the groups present their briefing to federal officials around the Washington, D.C. area.
In addition to the conference activities, 4-H Canada delegates also have a chance to tour Washington, and visit some of the nation’s famous cultural and political sites, including the Lincoln Memorial and Capitol Hill.
National 4-H Members Conference 2016
The 2016 National 4-H Members Conference was held from April 8-14 in Washington, D.C. Richmond 4-H member, Trinity Mastine was selected to as the Quebec Representative for this great opportunity. Days filled with once in a lifetime moments, Trinity shares her experience.
“Firstly, one of the main focuses of the conference was having roundtable discussions with a group about an issue that we’re all passionate about, in order to prepare a presentation for a federal agency. The roundtables were great, since I got to make new friends, and improve my leadership and presentation skills. But I think the best part of it, was that we were in a place where all youth have a voice. In the States, their motto is: “To make the best better.” During the presentation and its preparation, it really felt like we were making the best better on a national level by creating change. During my group’s presentation to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), we all had a voice and the adults were all there to listen to our perspective of the issue. Also, I feel like the theme: “4-H Grows True Leaders”, really did apply to what we did. We were growing to be true leaders.
Furthermore, this experience gave me more knowledge about the way 4-H works in other areas. I heard about projects such as geo-catching, canine, chinchilla, tug-o-war, community service, and much more. Sharing our 4-H differences was interesting, because it gave some of us all ideas to bring back to our own clubs. In addition, the activities we participated in together are simply unforgettable. There was a youth rally filled with enthusiasm, which included surprise guest speaker, Jennifer Nettles. Also, touring Washington D.C. was amazing! Seeing and learning about things in class or from a book isn’t even comparable to actually seeing it with your own eyes in person!
I highly encourage any member eligible to apply to be a delegate in next year’s conference. It’s an opportunity to take while you can, and that you wouldn’t regret! Voltaire’s words about taking these opportunities will always be true. By taking part in this, I educated myself in many ways, and got to build up even more independence. As we say for 4-H in Canada… “Learn to do by doing.”
National 4-H Members Conference 2014
In 2014, Laura Stephens-Dagg (center) was chosen as the Quebec representative for this experience of a lifetime.
“Going to Washington with the Canadian delegation was an experience that I will never forget. By representing Quebec 4-H I made 9 brand new friends and got to rekindle a friendship I made with Tyler Crowe from Manitoba last year at Citsem. Not only did our entire delegation get some pretty sweet 4-H swag but we got the chance to make 4-H Canada stand out to everyone in attendance. I was also given the chance to chime in with Canadian perspective on my roundtable discussion, as did my respective delegates in their roundtables. Being given this opportunity felt like being given a voice that was much louder than simply having one within a small community club. Being part of a roundtable was like being part of a world changing event that can only truly be described by experience.
One small detail I will always carry with me is how our mottos connect to each other. The 4-H motto of the United States is “To Make the Best Better” where ours is “Learn to do by Doing” It was only on the plane ride home that I managed to connect the dots and how those tiny dots can influence our world and the world around us. By learning to do by doing, we can make the best better.”