Iowa 4-H Healthy Living Ambassadors Named Finalist for 2024 Healthiest State Youth Power Award

May 14, 2024, 8:30 am | Sydney Peterson, Sally Shaver DuBois

4-H Healthy Living Ambassadors.AMES, Iowa – The Iowa 4-H Healthy Living Ambassadors were named a finalist recipient in the 2024 Healthiest State Annual Awards Youth Power category.

Each year, the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative receives nominations to recognize and celebrate people and organizations in six categories for implementing best practices that support Iowans' physical, social and mental well-being. The Healthy Living Ambassadors were nominated for the Youth Power award, which highlights Iowans age 18 or younger who have gone above and beyond to inspire change in their fellow youth.

The Healthy Living Ambassadors and other finalists were recognized at the Workplace Well-being Conference held April 17 in Des Moines.

The 4-H Healthy Living Ambassadors work as a team over the course of a program year, bringing wellness initiatives to communities across Iowa. Ambassadors are selected from across the state and are immersed in a community health and wellness learning experience addressing issues such as hunger and food insecurity, nutrition, physical health and mental well-being.

Through monthly training calls, they learn about public health issues that impact communities across Iowa and then determine a health issue they want to address together by analyzing data to identify those local issues. The Healthy Living Ambassadors represent Iowa at the Ignite by 4-H Conference each year in Washington, D.C.

"The exemplary efforts and devoted commitment of this year's finalists towards promoting the well-being of their fellow Iowans provide an outstanding model to aim for," said Jami Haberl, Healthiest State Initiative executive director. "We take pride in showcasing their endeavors aimed at ensuring every Iowan has the opportunity to live their healthiest life."

Healthy Living Hands-on Activities.The nominated team included six youth who designed an action plan to address food waste and nutrition security issues. They created educational videos and a challenge to encourage youth and families to reduce food waste through food preservation and composting. They also promoted food donation and encouraged youth to help a national geographic information systems effort to map locations of healthy foods across Iowa via the "Where's the Food" app. They wrapped up their term by hosting 4-H Healthy Living Day at the Iowa State Fair and led a variety of hands-on activities to help families learn how they can be change agents in their communities.

In addition, each member in this group completed an individual project in their home community, offering youth education opportunities around a healthy living topic. Some ambassadors led day camps on heart health, eating healthy on a budget to promote the Thrifty Meal Challenge or focusing on mental well-being.

"This dedicated group committed time outside of school and other personal activities to work together for a whole year – learning, strategizing, action planning and carrying out their goals on an issue they found impacting their communities," said Sally Shaver DuBois, 4-H school wellness specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. "We are proud of this group's efforts to learn, grow and inspire others to address health issues locally. This program makes a profound impact on them to continue learning."

The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven by the vision that every Iowan has the opportunity to live their healthiest life. The initiative works to create awareness and integrate solutions to improve the physical, social and mental well-being of Iowans. For more information, visit

For more information on the Iowa 4-H Healthy Living Ambassador Program, visit the Iowa 4-H Youth Development website or email Sally Shaver DuBois at

Shareable photos

  • Healthy Living Ambassadors:(Left to right) Trinity Konsbruck, Harrison County; Carly Appel, Hamilton County; Sylvia Hess, Webster County; Elijah Westercamp, Van Buren County; Brody Kuhse, Bremer County; and Allison Ehlers, Buena Vista County.
  • Healthy Living Hands-on Activities: The Healthy Living Ambassadors lead hands-on activities at the Iowa State Fair.
About the Authors: