Extension News

Legislative Day Moves Closer to Home for 4-H Families Under Economic Pressure

3/4/2009

AMES, Iowa – 4-H Day at the Legislature has been postponed due to the economic stress 4-H families are experiencing.  In its place the “Power of Youth, Iowa 4-H,” planning team is asking counties to create their own experiences to tell the powerful stories of 4-H.

The Iowa State University Extension committee urges counties to partner with an existing group to create an atmosphere for 4-H’ers and their legislators to talk about what is going on in 4-H today.

These changes are hoped to alleviate some of the strain 4-H families are seeing in light of the current economic climate.  According to Chuck Morris, director of ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development programs, the goal is to save counties the cost of registration and travel expenses while providing the opportunity for an even stronger connection between 4-H’ers and their legislators. 

“Iowa youth have a lot to share and say, so this local meeting will give them more of a chance for one-on-one time than they would have had at the Capitol,” said Brenda Allen, an ISU Extension 4-H youth development specialist.

Many counties will be hosting their Power of Youth, Iowa 4-H events in March, Allen noted.  Harrison County 4-H’ers will be connecting with their two legislators over coffee on March 14.  Extra time has been scheduled to allow a longer period for the 4-H’ers to share what they have accomplished.  Hamilton County has combined efforts with four other counties to make the trip to the Capitol on March 31 where they will participate in a tour with their legislator.

Despite this change of plans for 2009, the committee is working hard to plan the event back at the Capitol for 2010 despite any overhead costs.  The Iowa 4-H Foundation has offered to raise the additional funds to support the program so plans are underway to deliver a quality program for the coming year, according to Morris.

“We recognize the importance of sharing our powerful 4-H story with our legislators.  That is why we are working to share our ideas with partnering programs,” Morris said.

Allen notes that the event is worth the investment for many counties in Iowa who are determined to attend the event at the Capitol in 2010.

Morris encourages counties to prepare informative displays about service projects and to come prepared with specific information about 4-H’s achievements, goals and objectives as well as personal benefits to the community and 4-H'ers.

Plans for the future include both the trip to the Capitol as well as an informational coffee setting to ensure legislators hear important 4-H news.  This also will enable more 4-H'ers to attend the event and to share their individual experiences.

The 4-H Legislative Day is an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of state government.  Youth benefit from the opportunity to discuss various topics with legislators while taking in the political environment at the Capitol.  To learn more about this event contact your ISU Extension county office or ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development, at (515) 294-1018.

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Contacts :
Brenda Allen, 4-H Youth Development Specialist, (515) 294-1567, bsallen@iastate.edu

Caitlyn Miller, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9915, millercm@iastate.edu

Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu