Dallas County Youth Develop Leadership Skills at 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus
National 4-H Council and Farm Credit partnered together for the sixth consecutive year to provide six Dallas County youth and one adult chaperone accompanied by CEP extension agent, Cynthia Pierfax, with the chance to experience Washington, D.C. as a part of the Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD.
Pictured: CWF ambassador Lauren with Juwan Cook, Kameron Young and Adrian Cordova
Throughout their week-long CWF experience from June 4-10, the Dallas County youth had the opportunity to join other high school students from across the country to draft bills, debate timely agricultural issues and participate in the democratic process of writing laws relevant to communities throughout the nation. The delegates also had the chance to enjoy the nation’s capital.
Pictured: Prairie View A&M University delegation group photo: Juwan Cook, Pamela Lee, Kaya Hamilton, Kameron Young, Adrian Cordova, Jaimie Landor and Arianna Jenkins at the Capitol Building.
One participant shared that “The benefits I received from CWF were touring Washington D.C., visiting memorials, trying different types of food that I’m not able to eat in Dallas, and being able to see Howard University. I also learned how to write a bill and met people from other states. The one thing I enjoyed the most was going to Mount Vernon and Fredrick Douglas’s Home. I will never forget meeting the Kentucky delegation; they made the whole trip more memorable. The CWF program impacted me by teaching me better leadership and citizenship. It also taught me to be more responsible.”
Pictured: Jaimie Landor posing next to Fredrick Douglas’s statue at his National Park Museum.
For nearly 60 years, National 4-H Youth Conference Center has invited 4-H members from across the country to travel to Washington, D.C. and participate in civic workshops, committees, and field trips before returning home to make positive changes in their own communities. CWF not only strengthens young people’s understanding of the government’s civic process, but it also boosts their leadership and communication skills and overall confidence.
At the conclusion of the program, youth put the skills they learned throughout the week into practice and drafted step-by-step action plans to address important issues in their communities. One participant commented, “I got to write bills tackling issues in my community. It helped me by teaching me to not give up on my goals that I had set. Even when people told me I couldn’t do it or I wasn’t good enough I just listened to what members at CWF told me and was able to overcome those obstacles. My community will be positively [impacted] when I start on my community project. It’s meant everything to me. It was a great experience that I’m glad I got participate in. I am grateful to 4-H for giving me such a great opportunity.”
“CWF not only provides young people the opportunity to see our government in action, it also empowers them to proactively identify and address challenges in their own communities,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “Giving high school students this unique experience to build their confidence and independence only sets them up with the skills to become successful leaders in the future.”
“Farm Credit’s support of rural communities and agriculture extends to building our next generation of leaders. Farm Credit proudly supports 4-H’s Citizenship Washington Focus program, which provides educational opportunities and experiences that strengthen youth leadership skills for their own benefit and that of rural America,” said Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO of the Farm Credit Council.
Since 2011, Farm Credit has provided scholarships for diverse and underserved youth to participate in CWF. The partnership has allowed Farm Credit and 4-H to positively impact approximately 60 youth annually.
For more information about 4-H and the CWF program, contact the following: Rukeia Draw-Hood, Cooperative Extension Program, 936-261-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cynthia Pierfax, Dallas County Extension Office, 214-904-3050, Cynthia.email@example.com.
Dallas County CEP 4-H Agent
Rukeia Draw-Hood, Ph.D.
Program Leader, 4-H and Youth Development