4-H boosts leadership skills and civic engagement through Citizenship Washington Focus

SDSU Extension
Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — Learning about political processes in the vibrant, living classroom of the nation’s capital, 38 South Dakota 4-H youth participated in Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF), an intensive 4-H civic engagement program for high school youth. The program was held at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md., on June 15-23.

“The overall experience was incredible. I made lifelong friends and learned valuable lessons from our nation’s capital. The memories I made on this trip are unforgettable and have deepened my appreciation for United States history,” said Laura Bogue of Lincoln County.

For more than 50 years, the National 4-H Conference Center has invited thousands of youth 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 youth’s understanding of the government’s civic process, but it also boosts their leadership skills, communication skills and overall confidence.

During CWF, youth get a behind-the-scenes look at the nation’s capital while meeting with members of Congress to learn more about how their government works. At the end of the program, youth draft step-by-step action plans to address important issues in their communities.

“CWF was so much fun, from making new lifetime friends, to learning about historical events, government and our country,” said Taryn Opdahl of Hamlin County.

The South Dakota 4-H Contact for information about CWF is Amanda Stade, South Dakota 4-H events management coordinator, at 605-688-4167 or amanda.stade@sdstate.edu.

Front Row (left to right): Alisha McMartin, Turner County; Brylee Eden, Beadle County; Layla Hockenbary, Butte/Lawrence County; Katie McDonnell, Bennett County; Hannah Frost, Minnehaha County; Katrina Heles, Clay County; Samantha Thyen, Codington County; Elliot Basso, Pennington County. Second Row (left to right): Taryn Opdahl, Hamlin County; Samantha Ford, Davison County; Shelby Nellen, Fall River County; Kate DeVelder, Clay County; Ashley Masat, Spink County; Kiley Klein, Lake County; Jarody Udager, Meade County; Bailey Urbaniak, Meade County. Third Row (left to right): Kylie Teller, Harding County; Hannah Schentzel, Spink County; Callie Frei, Charles Mix County; Emily Nold, Brookings, County; Elli Richardson, Lincoln County. Fourth Row (left to right): Colton Wicks, Lake County; James Nussbaum, Moody County; Sara Thyen, Codington County; Nicole Marzahn, Brown County; Logan Tlam, Davison County; Abigail Connor, Miner County; Maesa Dvorak, Charles Mix County. Back Row (left to right): Charlie Wingert, Pennington County; Cole Hockenbary, Butte/Lawrence County; Trevor Johnson, Day County; Colin Frey, Brown County; Mayson Mansfield, Bennett County; Bryce Johnson, Day County; William Karels, Grant County; William Meyer, Beadle County; Laura Bogue, Lincoln County; Samantha Jenc, Hamlin County.