National 4-H Congress

Friday, November 24-Tuesday November 28, 2023

National 4-H Congress is held each November in Atlanta, Georgia. For one hundred years, National 4-H Congress has been a premiere nation-wide opportunity for 4-H members. National 4-H Congress is a five-day event that engages high school 4-H members in leadership, civic engagement, global awareness, and inclusion. Iowa delegates will have the opportunity to participate in state-of-the-art educational workshops, hear from world-renowned speakers, and network with other 4-H members from around the country. Each delegate will participate in a half-day service-learning opportunity around the city of Atlanta.

Who should apply?

  • Are you a 4-H member in grades 9, 10, or 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 attending a national event and sharing what you learn with others upon your return?

How to Apply

  • Twenty 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 Congress one time.
  • A maximum of 30 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 Atlanta.
  • Flights are usually scheduled in the late morning to early afternoon the Friday after Thanksgiving and for a late afternoon or early evening arrival back in Des Moines the following Tuesday.
  • Transportation to and from the Des Moines airport will be the member’s responsibility.
  • All National 4-H Congress delegates will stay at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Two adult chaperones will be selected to attend National 4-H Congress with the Iowa 4-H delegation. These two adult chaperones are usually state staff members 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 (new lower cost implemented 2022) 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 in identifying and securing financial assistance confidentially. Please contact the event coordinator if you have any questions.
  • You will receive a complimentary t-shirt from the National event coordinators for your service-learning day.
  • You will receive a state delegate group photo from Iowa 4-H.
  • It is recommended that each delegate bring approximately $125 in spending money. This money could be used for snacks, souvenirs, tips, and travel meals. There are three lunches that are not included in registration, as well as travel-day meals.
  • Each delegate should bring one “locally relevant” gift item for inclusion in the National 4-H Congress donor gift baskets. Small items that can be brought on a plane safely without concern for breakage are ideal.
  • Delegates may choose one optional topic-based theme tour. These tours have included themes such as media, sports, animals, or Coke a Cola. Cost is usually $45-55 and is paid for by the youth if they choose to purchase a tour.
  • A pin exchange allows delegates to meet one another. Iowa 4-H will provide 10 of the 20 recommended pins per youth.


I think that kids should apply for this trip because they would get to meet a lot of new people and also because it is an amazing opportunity to serve others. You also get to learn about different cultures. I will use what I learned from this trip by giving a presentation about this opportunity to other kids that are interested in it and other kids that want to apply for state awards. - Sydney Patterson

National 4-H Congress was an amazing experience for me. It was awesome meeting different 4-Hers from all over the U.S. and discussing with them how their 4-H programs differ from Iowa’s. The biggest takeaway that I had was when I traveled to a local elementary school in Atlanta for a community service project. I went on a tour of the school where I experienced the classroom life of these young, diverse students. I also got the chance to go into a fifth-grade class and teach them about 4-H, agriculture, and specifically, poultry in their state of Georgia. When we first went into their classrooms, these kids had no idea what agriculture was and what an impact it had on the world around them. Not only did I make a difference in these students, but they also impacted me, as well. I realized how much I love helping people learn. - McKenna Nielsen



Madeleine Bretey-Smith