AMES, Iowa – Delegates to the National 4-H Youth Conference brought home an eagerness to share their experiences and enthusiasm for the future of 4-H.
The April conference, themed Green AID: Acquire, Inform, Deliver, challenged 4-H'ers across the nation to not only inform themselves about environmental issues, but also take leadership in "green" activities.
Iowa youth delegates at the conference were Kourtney Determan, Early; Anna Grimley, Springville, Shea Kruger, Grafton and Amy Peyton, Sac City. Adult delegates included Sherry Ford of Malvern, Mills County ISU Extension education director, and Joyce Patterson, Boone County 4-H youth coordinator.
Two of the delegates, Determan and Peyton, co-chair the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference June 24-26, which will offer workshops with a "green" relationship, such as sessions featuring ISU's solar car, and considering how our shopping decisions affect other parts of the world.
Iowa youth also returned ready to help build the future of the 4-H organization.
“My favorite part was talking to others and finding out how much different 4-H is in different states and parts of the country,” said Kruger. “I learned different views of the world as well. All the delegates were so informed about what’s going on with current and world events.”
After visiting with other 4-H'ers, Kruger saw the possibility of starting a Midwest 4-H Youth Conference, similar to the Iowa conference. As a junior, she sees a chance to foster the idea by recruiting underclassmen.
Adult delegate Patterson brought back a continued commitment to explore technology as a means to network and bring older 4-H'ers into leadership roles and citizenship opportunities.
“It was a neat experience to see the delegates replicate a basic government structure,” Patterson said. “We had four 4-H'ers who were outstanding representatives. They were very much leaders, and it showed as they went through the conference. They were always asking questions, getting to know other 4-H'ers and sharing Iowa stories.”
When the assembled delegates reached agreement on what 4-H issues were important to address in the coming year, they presented them to the Secretary of Agriculture, Edward Schafer. The delegates also met with Reps. Steve King, Tom Latham and Dave Loebsack and Sens. Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin.
In the midst of the professional activities, participants were inspired by an active environmentalist and keynote speaker Ed Begley Jr.
Both youth and adult delegates voiced appreciation for the chance to participate in the conference and experience the trip through sponsorship. The youth delegates were sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Monsanto while the adult delegates were sponsored by Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance.
“This is definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life, and I am so thankful I had a chance to go because of Monsanto and the Des Moines Register,” said Kruger. “I talked to a lot of other students who had to pay their way. One girl from Pennsylvania paid $6,000.”
Carol Ouverson, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9640, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah McCulloh, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-7581,