National 4-H Conference


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.

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 a written application with five essay questions, submission of a one-page resume, and a panel interview. Delegates will 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.

Application Questions

A form is not required. You may copy and paste, or type, these questions into any document, and save as a PDF for uploading to your application in 4HOnline. Please use 12pt font or larger. You may use any word processing program, any size margins, double- or single-spaced lines. Your final document with all questions addressed must not be longer than 2 pages.

  1. Why would you be an effective delegate to National 4-H Conference based on what you know about this event? What do you see as your potential contributions to the Iowa delegation and this event?
  2. What does leadership mean to you? Provide one or more examples of how you demonstrate leadership in your home, school, 4-H club, church, or community.
  3. Civic Engagement is the opportunity, right, and responsibility we have to contribute to shaping the world around us and providing service to others. Give an example of your activities in civic engagement, and how this has positively impacted your personal development.
  4. Share a time when you faced a challenge or conflict. Tell us how you approached that situation, and what lesson(s) you learned from that experience.
  5. Regardless of how many or how few years you’ve been a part of 4-H, please explain how your 4-H experiences have helped you reach your personal goals. Explain how you think these experiences may benefit you in your future endeavors.

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 $500 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.
  • Delegates will work together to select sightseeing opportunities for the first Saturday of the trip.
  • A pin exchange allows delegates to meet one another. Iowa 4-H will provide the 20 recommended pins to share.