Area native attends National 4-H Conference

Published 9:00 am Saturday, April 27, 2019

From April 5 to April 11, more than 230 youth from 46 delegations across the United States, United States territories and Canada participated in the National 4-H Conference at the National 4-H Conference Center near Washington, D.C. The conference engages youth in developing a briefing to a federal agency on an issue of interest for both the youth and the agency.

Gigi Otten attended the National 4-H Convention in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. Provided

Gigi Otten was one of nine Minnesota 4-H youth selected as a delegate for this year’s conference.

The group engaged in three months of preparatory meetings before they departed for D.C. While at the conference, each youth delegate was placed in a round table, a group of peers who were challenged with the task of developing and delivering a briefing to a federal agency.

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Otten was on the employment roundtable, and delivered a presentation on employment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Following their briefings, the delegates also had a chance to visit with Minnesota members of Congress and congressional offices.

Conference activities also included an educational workshop on civility, a youth town hall and networking activities with youth from the other 4-H programs. The delegates also had the opportunity to tour the White House, monuments and war memorials, and some museums along the National Mall.

“The National 4-H Conference provides youth with an incredible opportunity to share their perspectives with federal agencies and legislators who represent us in D.C.,” said Jacquie Lonning, Extension 4-H youth development director of civic engagement & leadership. “As they develop their briefing, they also gain skills in decision making, intercultural communication and public speaking, all important skills to prepare them to be change agents in their community.”

“One of the biggest things I took away was that each of us can make a difference,” Otten said. “A lot of us grow up thinking that we can’t make a difference, but we can, especially through 4-H. If you find something you want to change, you have the power to change it! My favorite part of the trip was getting to know the other Minnesotans I traveled with and also getting to meet with my legislators.”

This experience was sponsored in part by a 4-H endowment at the University of Minnesota Foundation, 4-H Clovermart store and Freeborn County 4-H. To learn more about the National 4-H Conference, contact Amy Wadding, Freeborn County 4-H program coordinator at 377-5660.