CWF: Citizenship Washington Focus

Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF)

Leadership and Civic Engagement programs work to engage youth through experiences that connect to their lives and respond to their interests. 4-H programs develop skills in leadership, service, career readiness, and cultural awareness through meaningful opportunities and relationships throughout their club, community, country, and world.


Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) is a high impact program featuring national experts and leaders along with opportunities for career exploration, using your voice, and building connections with teens from across the country. This trip is for teens currently in grades 9-12.

Objectives for the program are:

  • Strengthen communication, leadership, and other civic engagement skills on a national level
  • Understand the importance of civic and social responsibilities as they relate to the development of better citizens and leaders
  • Exchange ideas, practice respect, and form friendships with other youth from diverse backgrounds
  • Experience hands-on learning using the historical backdrop of our nation’s capital city, Washington, D.C.

These objectives are met through pre-trip education, workshops, daily excursions, and a day at the Capitol with elected officials.

Read more from the National CWF website
Iowa 4-H CWF Flyer

Trip Date

June 13-23, 2024 (tentative dates)

**If there are more than 32 teens registered, the group will travel by charter bus. If there are fewer teens, the group will fly from Des Moines to Reagan National Airport in Arlington, VA. The trip dates will be June 15-22, 2024.

2024 CWF Tentative Schedule
Please note the schedule remains tentative throughout the course of the trip as circumstances can change quickly in the DC area.

2024 CWF Delegate and Chaperone Handbook (to be added March 2024)
​​​​2024 Dress Code and Packing List (to be added March 2024)


Orientation will be held for all trip participants (delegates and chaperones) in April/May via Zoom. Multiple offerings will be available; delegates need only attend one.

Chaperones will have an additional chaperone orientation discussing responsibilities and expectations for the trip.

Youth Registration

Deadline to register is January 22, 2024.

Trip cost is estimated at $3,000. This includes lodging, travel, tours, and many meals. A $1,000 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of registration. The remaining balance is two payments of $1,000 each due on March 15 and May 15. Please note, if Iowa 4-H cancels the trip due to low numbers, the deposit will be refunded in full to families.

Some county 4-H youth programs offer financial assistance to teens. Please contact your county extension and outreach office to see what resources or fundraising opportunities might be available. Some individual 4-H clubs or local civic groups may provide support as well. (Please scroll to the bottom of the page for fundraising ideas.)

By completing the registration form, the teen participant and their parent/guardian agrees the teen will:

  • participate in pre-trip orientation or educational sessions prior to the trip
  • complete needed paperwork and respond to questions in a timely manner
  • follow the CWF Code of Conduct at all times during the trip
  • complete an evaluation of the CWF experience

Registration is now open through 4-H Online!

Click on the member’s name. Click on Events. Then click on Add a New Event. Select Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) 2024 – First deposit.

If a 4-H member needs special accommodations, please use the Accommodation Request Form on the upper right-hand side of the webpage.

Adult Chaperones

To indicate interest in being part of the Iowa 4-H CWF Chaperone Team, please return the chaperone application by January 22, 2024. Interviews will be conducted prior to selection of chaperones.

Why do I have to apply and be interviewed? We have many terrific adults who are willing to spend a week in the national’s capital with the group of teens. Overall, a chaperone team will be put together for the trip that covers a spectrum of talents and skills needed to support a safe, educational, and fun experience. The number of chaperones selected will be based on the number of teens registered for the trip.

Cost is $1500 for adult chaperones, payable in two $750 payments on March 15 and May 15.

Learn more about the chaperone position

Chaperone Application 

Please send completed application to Gail Castillo; Extension 4-H Youth Building; 1259 Stange Road; Ames IA 50011. Completed applications can also be emailed to

Fundraising Ideas

Total cost of the trip is $3000 and includes lodging, travel, tours, and many meals.

Below are fundraising ideas and how any money received should be handled in italics (in keeping with Iowa 4-H financial guidelines).

1. County 4-H: many county 4-H programs choose to provide some scholarship funds to support this opportunity. Counties should establish eligibility criteria that can be used in future years for consistency of CWF support.

2. 4-H Club: some 4-H clubs are able to help support a member’s experience. That is for a club to vote on and determine. This falls within an appropriate club expenditure. This vote should be recorded in the minutes of the club meeting. Best practice is for clubs to establish eligibility criteria that can be used in future years with other club members.

3. Service groups: 4-H members have been supported by local Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Jaycees, etc. Many of the groups have speakers at weekly meetings, so a member could offer to do a presentation on the trip upon return. If you choose this option, first talk with your county youth coordinator so you know to whom checks should be made payable. Service group funds must be made payable to the County Agricultural Extension District; funds/checks should not be made payable to the individual 4-H member(s).

4. American Legion. If you choose this option, first talk with your county youth coordinator so you know to whom checks should be made payable. Service group funds must be made payable to the County Agricultural Extension District; funds/checks should not be made payable to the individual 4-H member(s).

5. Fundraising: some members have taken it upon themselves to raise the money for the trip through various fundraising efforts – collecting cans, food sales, etc. Be sure to talk with your county youth coordinator so they can approve your plans. This Fundraiser Request Form 4HP 3020 (Resource) (11-2018) will help guide you. Be sure to let people know exactly why you are raising money and the exact costs of the trip. While you do get to keep expenses for supplies needed, all money must be turned into the county extension office. Please note GoFundMe or similar crowdsourced fundraising is not acceptable as a third party gets the first cut of funds raised.

6. Family: Holidays are coming – sometimes asking family members to contribute to an experience rather than purchasing gifts to unwrap can raise the needed dollars. You get to handle this however you choose.

Here are some ways to look at breaking the trip into blocks or portions for fundraising:

  • CWF breaks down to $375 each day for 8 days.
  • Getting to the Washington, DC, we will cover nearly 1,100 miles. That is nearly $2.72 per mile.

Rather than asking people to buy something, you could "sell" donors on the idea of paying for half a day or a full day OR certain numbers of miles.

Sample Donation Letters

Gail Castillo