Youth invited to ISU for the 2023 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference

ISU Extension
Conference participants work to create dog toys out of donated T-shirts for a local Iowa animal shelter as part of their service learning project.

This summer, 400 teens are expected to meet on the Iowa State University campus to experience three consecutive days full of speakers, educational workshops, cultural exploration, team building and service learning. The 2023 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, themed Spy Your Potential, will take place June 27-29.

Regardless of their previous participation in 4-H, all youth who have completed eighth grade are invited to register for the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. Registration is $225 and is now open in 4HOnline. Registration closes on June 1.

“Youth who attend the conference will get to dive into their passions, discover career opportunities and experience campus life by staying in the residence halls, eating in dining centers and attending workshops in lecture halls, all while meeting other participants from across the state,” said Madeleine Bretey-Smith, conference coordinator and civic engagement and leadership program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “Conference attendees will develop skills they can take back to their communities and apply while in high school and throughout their lives.”

For participants interested in animals, the Animal Science Roundup event will occur concurrently with the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. Animal Science Roundup participants will explore different areas of animal science through workshops, tours and hands-on learning experiences. Evening activities are the same as for the conference delegates.

Youth can register for one of seven tracks: horse, beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, swine, poultry and dogs. Each project track is limited to the first 20 youth that sign up on a first-come, first-served basis, not requiring applications.

“Youth will spend time on the Iowa State University research and teaching farms working with animals learning about health, nutrition, behavior, genetics and reproduction,” shared Amy Powell, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach animal science education specialist. “The event will begin with a large group program on antibiotics and end with a new escape room activity based on animal welfare.”

Youth learn to dance with Iowa State Assistant Professor in Dance Janice Baker in the World Dance Party workshop.

The State 4-H Council is a group of leadership-driven high school youth that plan this annual event. Everything from the theme, keynote speakers, workshops, banquet entertainment, service project and schedule of events is decided on by State 4-H Council members. By considering their own experiences and interests, State 4-H Council members are able to consider what their peers attending the conference would enjoy, making the 4-H Youth Conference a truly unique experience.

“I am so excited for my second conference on State 4-H Council this year! We have so many fun activities planned for youth to get them out of their comfort zone and make some amazing lifelong friends,” explained Bridget Johnson, who represents Polk County and serves her second term on the State 4-H Council. “Let’s not forget my favorite part, not one but TWO dances!”

“I’m excited for 4-H members and youth from across the state to come learn and connect with each other throughout the conference,” shared State 4-H Council member Jubilee Cunigan from Webster County. “I am eager to see this event we have all put so much work into planning come together!”

For more information on the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference or to register, please visit