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N.D. Youth Attend National 4-H Conference

North Dakota youth help shape 4-H youth development programs.

Seven North Dakota youth attended this spring’s National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Md.

The conference is the secretary of agriculture’s premier youth development opportunity in which youth help form recommendations to guide 4-H youth development programs nationally and in their communities. This event brings together youth, volunteer leaders, and state and county Extension staff members from across the U.S, U.S. territories and Canada.

North Dakota’s delegates to the conference were: Jason Jallo, Fordville; Hannah Klinnert, Kindred; Sophie Miller, Adrian; Rebecca O’Toole, Crystal; Lindsey Twinn, Fort Yates; Kirsten Ridley, Shields; and Mercedes Ridley, McLaughlin, S.D., who participates in 4-H activities in North Dakota’s Sioux County.

“I can't even begin to describe what a great time I had,” Miller says. “Throughout the whole conference, I got to do and see many new things while I also knew that everything we did was for the same, final and common goal: to present an idea to the USDA to help make 4-H better.

“But it didn't just affect 4-H members,” she adds. “I learned more about how we 4-H members help change the world for the better. I loved meeting kids from across the nation, visiting our congressmen, touring the Capitol and having a night out on the town. It was all such a great experience that left me with an ‘awe’ feeling that inspired me to do more within my community, country and world. I highly recommend this experience to everyone.”

Capitol Hill Day was the most enjoyable experience for Mercedes Ridley. She and the other 4-H’ers visited the Embassy of Tribal Nations, toured the Capital and met U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, a member of North Dakota’s congressional delegation. She says she also enjoyed being able to express herself, meet people from other states and make friendships she hopes will last a lifetime.

“Thanks for the opportunity to visit the National 4-H Conference,” she says. “It really has helped me get a new perspective on life.”

O’Toole calls the trip a great eye opener for 4-H.

“I’m so glad I got this experience,” she says. “I never realized how diverse the program was until I met all the great people that I did. It was cool to learn about the program in different states, from what their ambassador program is to what the most popular project is. I made friends who will be friends for a lifetime.”

The North Dakota 4-H Foundation provided funding for some of the delegates to attend the conference. The National 4-H Council provided funding for 4-H’ers from the Standing Rock Sioux nation to attend.

The youth from Standing Rock felt they made some real impacts at the conference, according to Sue Isbell, Sioux County Extension agent and one of two adults who traveled with the delegates. She says they also are committed to making sure more youth from North Dakota’s tribal colleges attend the conference next year.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Brenda Vertin, (701) 231-7259, brenda.vertin@ndsu.edu
Editor:Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391, ellen.crawford@ndsu.edu
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