National 4-H Conference

April 19-24, 2024

National 4-H Conference is the pinnacle experience in 4-H Civic Engagement, providing the opportunity for youth people to connect, learn, engage, lead and impact their communities, their nation, and their world. National 4-H Conference is held each Spring in the Washington D.C. area. Youth will serve on a priority topic committee with youth from around the nation, to discuss and develop solutions for important issues facing today's youth. Each committee will meet with government or other agency officials to present their ideas. Participants will experience the culture and history of Washington D.C. and visit with Iowa legislators on Capitol Hill.

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National 4-H Conference Logo

Who should apply?

  • Are you a 4-H member in grades 9-11?
  • Have you participated in leadership experiences in and/or out of 4-H?
  • Are you actively involved in your community?
  • Are you interested in working to make a positive impact for young people around the country?

How to Apply

  • Five to six delegates are selected to represent Iowa each year (dependent on funding) through “State 4-H Recognition Day.” This process includes submitting a one-page cover letter and a one-page resume. 4-H Members can apply in January, and winners are announced in April.
  • Applicants may only attend either National Conference or National Congress in one award year. If an applicant is selected for both, they will be awarded the National 4-H Conference trip.
  • 4-H members may only attend National 4-H Conference one time.
  • A maximum of 12 interviews will be scheduled for this opportunity, candidates will be selected through the written application round.
  • Information, support and resources for the application process can be found on the State 4-H Recognition Day webpage and in the sidebar on this page. 

General Trip Information

  • The Iowa 4-H office will arrange for flights between Des Moines and Washington D.C.
  • Flights are usually scheduled in the late morning to early afternoon the Friday of the trip, and for a late afternoon or early evening arrival back in Des Moines the following Thursday.
  • Transportation to and from the Des Moines airport will be the member’s responsibility.
  • One adult chaperone will be selected to attend National 4-H Conference with the Iowa 4-H delegation. This chaperone is usually a state staff member of the Iowa 4-H Youth Development program.

Financial Information

  • The estimated value of this opportunity is over $2500 per delegate. We are thankful to the sponsors of the National event and of the Iowa delegation through the Iowa 4-H Foundation, who make this event possible.
  • We ask Iowa delegates to pay $250 of the cost of the trip, which is due before the trip begins. The event coordinator listed on this page can assist any interested member with identifying and securing financial assistance confidentially. Please contact the event coordinator if you have any questions.
  • It is recommended that each delegate bring a minimum of $150 in spending money. This money could be used for snacks, souvenirs, tips, and a few meals not included in the conference.
  • A pin exchange allows delegates to meet one another. Iowa 4-H will provide the 20 recommended pins to share.

Youth Reflection

One of the most important things I learned from the National 4-H Conference is how important my voice is as a youth. I was part of the 4-H briefing to the House of Representatives and while receiving feedback from our representatives, they told us how much they value youth voice. I walked away from this experience knowing that my vote made a difference in my club, community, country, and world. - Megan Wells

The most important thing I learned at the National Conference was the importance of widening your perspective on the world around you. I got to work with a 4Her from Puerto Rico in my roundtable and saw the differences in our everyday life and hearing how different our struggles are is something I will always carry with me. Seeing life from other perspectives is how you can grow to love the world around you, but it also puts your own privilege and life in perspective. Meeting and working with people from across the country was a great way to do this and widen my outlook. - Holden Willrette

I think that it is so important for youth to be able to go on trips like this for 4-H because of the unique, one of a kind experience that you are able to experience. There are very few organizations that gather youth from across the U.S together, and have them present to various departments in the government. This, along with all the other activities you are able to participate in give youth numerous skills that they will utilize for the rest of their lives. - Teagan Johnson