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4-H Leadership Opportunities Teach Lifelong Skills

Lentz 4-HFor Wesley Kemp of Cavalier, attending the 2015 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Md., was a life-changing experience. During the civic engagement conference, delegates ages 15 to 19 from throughout the U.S., U.S. territories and Canada participate in round-table discussions to help address a challenge that a federal agency poses. Then the youth make presentations to the agency.

 Kemp's round-table group tackled how to inspire more youth to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and presented suggestions to NASA and the National Science Foundation.

The conference is one of several national and statewide leadership development opportunities available to North Dakota youth through 4-H, according to Rachelle Vettern, leadership and volunteer development specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service's Center for 4-H Youth Development. Others include national programs such as National 4-H Congress and Citizenship Washington Focus, and statewide programs such as the Extension Youth Conference and 4-H Ambassadors.

These experiences also can lead to other opportunities, as past National 4-H Conference attendee Billie Lentz of Rolla (pictured above) discovered in July when she attended the Global 4-H Network Summit in Ottawa, Canada. It encourages youth to network with industry leaders.

 "It was incredible to walk into a room with people of every background and know that the thread that connected us all was 4-H," she says. "4-H has taught me skills that will last me a lifetime, including interview skills, professionalism, persistence, hard work, leadership, how to improve from failure, how to step up to new challenges and how to make a difference."

Discover all that 4-H offers by learning about leadership development opportunities for youth and hearing more of Wesley and Billie's story.

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