AMES, Iowa – Access to nutritious foods, safe spaces to be active and resources to improve mental well-being are all important components for forming healthy habits and building healthier communities. Iowa 4-H Youth Development invites teens interested in addressing community health improvements to attend the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit, Feb.12-15, 2021. Participants should register by Jan. 18 to secure a spot.
During this virtual event, teen leaders will learn how they can incorporate different wellness strategies in their local community. After the summit, youth participants will be invited to implement their action plans to increase knowledge and form healthier habits among youth and families in their local communities.
Iowa 4-H healthy living programs promote learning in all eight dimensions of wellness: social, emotional, spiritual, occupational, intellectual, physical, environmental and financial. Any teenage youth in grades 9-12 interested in exploring any of these areas of wellness are encouraged to register for the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit. The summit will feature workshops on a variety of healthy living topics, showcase resources from other state 4-H programs, offer a career panel and host multiple networking opportunities with youth from across the country.
“Iowa 4-H will cover the $75 registration fee for participants attending each day’s three-hour session and an Iowa group call at the end,” said Laura Liechty, 4-H healthy living specialist.
This experience may lead to new opportunities to be engaged in the 4-H Healthy Living program by becoming a member of a club, joining a wellness focused special interest group or even becoming a future 4-H Healthy Living Ambassador, Liechty noted.
A former 4-H Healthy Living Ambassador said, “The National 4-H Healthy Living Summit pushed me out of my comfort zone, allowed me to connect with others and helped me see how I could influence healthy living in my state.”
While this year’s summit will be virtual, it creates an opportunity to involve more Iowa youth to grow their awareness, to learn how they can be proactive in their communities to become a healthier state, Liechty added.
Past youth leaders attending the summit have highlighted the benefits of this experience as an inspiration for ideas to bring back to Iowa. One youth stated, “Through the workshops I attended, I learned of the wonderful programs other states have implemented and I learned about the areas I want to raise awareness about in my community. The issues youth in my area experience are oftentimes overlooked, so I want to be a voice for those issues.”
“Setting goals to improve our health and making changes to our daily life are important steps to take, but it’s even more powerful when we have youth involved in these movements locally,” Liechty said.
By empowering youth to fuel their bodies, challenge their habits and enhance their mindset to make healthy decisions, they gain skills to set goals, transform their lifestyle choices and become advocates for health across their communities. The 4-H Healthy Living programs are funded by the National 4-H Healthy Habits grant through the Walmart Foundation.
For more information on the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit, please contact Laura Liechty at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the event website at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/national-youth-summits.
Photo caption: 2020 Healthy Living Ambassadors showcase Iowa resources at last year’s National 4-H Healthy Living summit.