Vermont 4-H'ers Return Home from Citizenship Program in Washington, D.C.
- By Lauren Traister
Burlington--Six Vermont teens were among the more than 3,000 4-H'ers from throughout the United States who spent a week in the nation's capital this summer as participants in Citizenship Washington Focus.
The Vermont delegation took part in this premier youth citizenship program June 29-July 5, one of six weeklong sessions held this year at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md. Their visit was coordinated by University of Vermont Extension with partial funding through the State 4-H Foundation, county 4-H foundations and private donations.
The program provided an opportunity for 4-H teens, 14 to 19, to witness government in action and gain a better understanding of the importance of social responsibility and being an informed citizen. They also discovered the nation's history, discussed current issues and learned how to hone their civic leadership and communication skills to work with local government to address issues in their communities.
Throughout the week the teens heard from motivational speakers and met in committees on topics ranging from government to healthy living. Workshops focused on current Congressional issues including the new Farm Bill, immigration and renewable energy; the bill writing process in the House of Representatives and strategies to support or not support public opinion for different bills.
The group visited Capitol Hill to observe a Congressional session and meet with Adrienne Wojciechowski, Senior Advisor for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, and Jake Oster, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Congressman Peter Welch. They also toured the Capitol, Library of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.
On the Fourth of July, the delegates helped carry a 30 by 50-foot American Flag with Missouri 4-Hers in the Independence Day Parade and watched the fireworks from the Iwo Jima Memorial.
Other highlights included the 4-H Talent Show and a night tour of many of Washington's iconic landmarks including the Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean Memorial, World War II Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
They also viewed the changing of the guards at Arlington National Cemetery; toured the Holocaust Museum, National Cathedral and several memorials and enjoyed an evening of dinner theater. Prior to the start of the conference, the delegation visited the National Zoo. On the way home they stopped in New York City to see the Freedom Tower and Times Square.
The Vermont delegation included, by county:
ADDISON--Dacey Anechiarico, Whiting; MaKayla Foster, Middlebury; Megan Hill, Bristol; Tiffany Tracey, Vergennes
ORLEANS--Katelyn Patenaude, Derby Line
RUTLAND--Isabella Williams, Brandon
Accompanying the group was Tricia Foster, the adult 4-H Leader of the Cornwall Musketeers in Middlebury.
To learn more about UVM Extension 4-H Teen and Leadership Programs, contact Lauren Traister, 4-H Teen and Leadership Program Coordinator, toll-free at (866) 260-5603 or firstname.lastname@example.org.