4-H Leadership Awareness Wednesday a success

North Dakota State University Extension
Youth participate in a hand-on activity during the 4-H Leadership Awareness Wednesday event.

Youth from across the state developed and enhanced their leadership skills during this year’s Leadership Awareness Wednesday (LAW), a statewide 4-H civic engagement event organized by North Dakota State University Extension’s Center for 4-H Youth Development.

This year’s event was held June 1 at the Morton County Courthouse and focused on county government. Youth in grades 7 through 12 experienced what goes on in a variety of county offices and engaged with county personnel during hands-on activities. Educational sessions included topics such as how taxes are assessed, how planning and zoning work and a tour of the Law Enforcement Center.

“The information that I took away from [LAW conferences] will stick with me for the rest of my life,” said Savannah Lebrun, a 4-H member from Ramsey County who has attended three LAW events and values the different perspectives offered each year.

This year’s event included a leadership panel with local leaders, allowing youth to ask questions and learn about a variety of career paths at the county level. Panelists were Nathan Boehm, Morton County commissioner; Kathleen Jones, Burleigh County commissioner; Dawn Rhone, Morton County auditor; Wendy Bent, human resources director; Donnell Preskey Hushka, North Dakota Association of Counties and public affairs specialist; and Tim Nilson, Morton County parks director.

“LAW is such a great event,” said Sue Quamme Wehlander, 4-H youth development specialist, youth leadership and civic engagement. “Each year the focus is a bit different. During the years that the North Dakota legislature is in session, LAW meets in Bismarck with programing, tours of the capital and a chance for youth sit on the floor with a senator or representative from their own district.”