Tag Archives: 4H

Civics comes to life at 4-H Day

4-H members and volunteers at the annual 4-H Day at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

4-H members and volunteers at the annual 4-H Day at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

More than 1,000 4-H members and volunteers visited Richmond in February to meet their state representatives and learn about Virginia’s legislative branch of government. Virginia 4-H has celebrated 4-H Day at the State Capitol for 21 years.

Virginia 4-H sponsors the annual trip for 4-H’ers across the commonwealth to express their gratitude to state delegates and senators who support 4-H youth development programs.

“The opportunity to watch our delegates in action is a real learning experience for our students,” said Chris Lichty, senior 4-H Extension specialist in Pulaski County. “They were in awe of seeing the discussion on the floor of legislative issues and how intense the debates got between members and delegates from the House and Senate.”

“This trip is an opportunity for lawmakers to put faces to the programming that the funding provides for young people all over the commonwealth.” said Cathy Sutphin, associate director of 4-H Youth Development with Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Over 214,000 youth are enrolled in Virginia 4-H’s hands-on educational programs. Throughout the commonwealth, more than 12,700 adults and teens volunteer their time and energy to mentor and teach 4-H members about science and technology, career and economic education, citizenship, communication and expressive arts, family sciences, leadership, and other topics. In addition, there are six 4-H educational centers that conduct residential camping programs for more than 10,700 young people annually.

Virginia 4-H engages children and teens ages 5 to 19 in hands-on educational programs and activities designed to help them gain knowledge, life skills, and attitudes that will further their development as self-directed, contributing, and productive members of society.

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Living the Legacy — 4-H Forever

4-H'ers play with drones during a tehnology demonstration.

During the Drones and Other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles workshop, participants view a demonstration of drone technology.

After 95 years, Virginia’s State 4-H Congress remains the premier 4-H event, drawing more than 450 young adults from across the commonwealth to the campus of Virginia Tech for four days of learning, leadership, and fun.

“4-H Congress provides members an opportunity to develop life skills and hone their leadership abilities while forging new friendships,” said Tonya Price, an Extension 4-H youth development specialist.

This year’s theme — Living the Legacy – 4-H Forever — drew upon the history of 4-H and its power to assist teens in developing leadership, citizenship, and life skills through hands-on educational programs.

During congress, delegates have the opportunity to compete in events like food challenges and extemporaneous speaking contests. They can also attend workshops to learn more about 4-H competitions like the electric challenge or cattle working. And while at congress, delegates participate in a service-learning project.

Workshops led by Virginia Tech faculty members allow teens to explore career paths in animal science, STEM, leadership, citizenship, healthy living, and environmental science. Sessions offered included Drones and Other Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, National Weather Station Tour and SKYWARN Training, So What’s It Like To Be a USDA Veterinarian?, and Fashion Merchandizing, to name a few.

Congress delegates also learn about educational opportunities at Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. They visit with college representatives to learn about career paths they could pursue. 4-H Congress Coordinator Sam Fisher said that during the college/career tracks, 4-H’ers learn what college truly can offer them.

“They discover things about colleges and majors that they didn’t even know existed,” Fisher said.

Delegates, who submitted applications and were selected, interviewed to represent Virginia 4-H at National 4-H Congress in Atlanta. As part of the process, youth present portfolios of their 4-H experience. The 21 delegates selected this year have an opportunity to interact with and learn from other outstanding 4-H members from across the country.

The Virginia 4-H Cabinet is elected during state congress. Cabinet members plan events like 4-H State Congress, and they work to enhance the public’s understanding of 4-H.

Abby Durheim, from Stafford County, was elected to the cabinet representing the Northern District this year. Durheim, who has been in 4-H for seven years, is considering a career in agricultural law or political science. She wants to further involve herself in 4-H, carrying on the family tradition — her parents were also 4-H’ers.

“4-H plays a huge role in my life,” Durheim said. “I’ve always wanted to be a 4-H’er. I don’t know what I would do without it now. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to interact with other delegates from across the state.”

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