AMES, Iowa -- Six Iowans were among more than 300 youth and adult delegates who recently gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 2006 National 4-H Conference to share ideas and form recommendations in guiding future national 4-H youth development programs nationally and in their communities.
Iowa delegates included Melanie Adam of Sioux City, Marla Claussen of Bettendorf, Diana Cox of Iowa City, Laura Kuennen of Northwood, Kevin Peyton of Sac City and Barbara Sauser of Cascade.
“A major goal of this year’s conference was to gather input as to how to shape the 4-H program of the future,” said Cathann Kress, director of youth development, National 4-H Headquarters, CSREES, USDA.
Some recommendations made by the delegates included establishing state exchanges, a national 4-H camp, a national 4-H college scholarship and a national 4-H public speaking contest. Delegates met in roundtable discussions and a town hall meeting during the week-long conference called “Connect 4-H -- Let’s Get Together.”
Kress announced these recommendations during a United States Department of Agriculture assembly, at which Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns welcomed delegates.
“What you are learning today, I promise you, will serve you well,” Johanns said. “The foundation you are building through the 4-H program will be a life-long foundation.”
Johanns, a former 4-H member in Iowa, also addressed how the USDA is working to improve agriculture for young people.
“We owe it to you to provide farm policy for you and to build an agriculture economy that invites you to participate,” he said. While not all 4-H youth are engaged in farming, as community leaders they will be called upon to make decisions that will require them to understand agricultural issues like production agriculture, water quality, conservation or other parts of the food and fiber industry.
Delegates also met with their legislators during Capitol Hill Day to discuss state 4-H programs with congressional members.
As a sponsor of the Iowa delegates, Iowa State University Extension seeks to promote positive youth development, facilitate learning and engage youth in the work of land-grant universities to enhance their quality of life.
4-H is a community of young people across America and around the world who are learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.