AMES, Iowa – Caine Westergard of Plymouth County has been selected to represent Iowa as a delegate for the National 4-H Congress entitled “Accept the Challenge” in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 27 – Dec. 1. One of 22 Iowa youth attending, she is sponsored by the Iowa 4-H Foundation National 4-H Congress Endowment and will get a chance to listen to speakers, participate in workshops and serve the Atlanta community.
“National 4-H Congress is an amazing opportunity for Iowa 4-H’ers,” said Brenda Allen, Iowa State University Extension 4-H youth developmental specialist. “Not only do youth meet delegates from across the country, they also have the opportunity to hear nationally-renowned speakers and participate in thought-provoking workshops.”
The workshop topics include team building, cultural issues and leadership skills, and the community service projects take place in the Atlanta area. Tours of Atlanta, an international night and a trip to the Atlanta History Museum are among other things also included.
Westergard, 17, is the daughter of Carl and Colleen Westergard of Ireton. Through interviews and evaluation of support materials, she and the other 21 delegates were selected based on their citizenship, leadership and overall achievement in the 4-H program.
During her eight years in 4-H, Westergard has been involved in the communication, personal development, textiles and photography project areas while receiving a top 10 percent award in clothing revue at the state fair. She also has earned the “I Dare You” leadership, senior spirit and outstanding senior awards at the local level.
“4-H has taught me to help others, communicate efficiently with people of all ages, be a team leader and always be myself. With these skills and my 4-H background, I have decided to attend Iowa State University to major in fashion design and international communications,” she said. “Ironically, my first 4-H project was sewing an outfit for clothing review.”
A current senior at Akron-Westfield Community High School, Westergard also has taken on many leadership opportunities in 4-H. She reigned as the 2009 Plymouth County Fair and 2009 Iowa State Fair queen and has served as president of both her club and county 4-H council. She has been an area and state 4-H council member and attended the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference.
“My experiences have taught me about all that 4-H has to offer and made me want to participate nationally,” she said. “My communication skills have helped me meet so many amazing people and learn about so many different things, and I have learned to listen to everyone’s ideas and opinions to make sure everyone belongs. Most importantly, 4-H has taught me to bring out the best in myself and others.”
Two ISU Extension youth development field specialists, Ray Reynolds and Daleta Christensen, will accompany the Iowa delegates as chaperones.
For more information about 4-H, contact the Plymouth County office of ISU Extension. 4-H in Iowa is administered through the ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development program and headquartered on the ISU campus in Ames.
Hannah McCulloh, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9915, firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, email@example.com