by David Annis, County Extension Agent – Agriculture & Natural Resources
I talk on agriculture all the time, but today, I want to talk about 4-H and the experiences our youth are having.
Texas 4-H Youth Development sent 20 youth delegates on the Texas 4-H Leadership Conference tour, November 26 through December 1, in Washington, D.C. including Christian Dieterich of Double Oak (son of Tina and Mark Dieterich).
Christian was one of these youth participants who earned this opportunity as recognition for their first-place 4-H Record Book on the state level. 4-H members document their project activities, leadership and service and submit the book for evaluation at the county level. Record books are entered in one of 31 4-H project areas such as Clothing and Textiles, Beef, Rabbit, Foods and Nutrition or Science, Engineering and Technology. From the county evaluation, one book for each category advances to District competition and then onto State, where approximately 300 books are evaluated. Achieving a state-level first place record book is an accomplishment of a lifetime! The Leadership Conference tour recognizes that accomplishment but also serves to challenge the youth to continue their leadership and citizenship experiences.
The group toured the nation’s capital during the Thanksgiving holidays, staying at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD. The six-day experience began with an evening tour of the 911 Pentagon Memorial. The next day, the group took in the National Zoo and visited the pandas and other animal exhibits. Navigating the D.C. Metro system was a learning experience of its own as these winners learned to wait on subways, catch the bus – all with exacting schedules. They experienced first-hand what happens if you are late – that could mean waiting another thirty minutes for the next train!
Throughout the week, the group toured several of the memorials including the Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Iwo Jima. One of the most cherished activities is visiting Arlington National Cemetery to watch the changing of the guard and laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. From here the group traveled to George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, touring the home of George and Martha. The night continued with dining at Old Ebbitt Grill, the oldest saloon in Washington D.C., founded in 1856. Located just blocks from the White House, Old Ebbitt is now revered as one of the most favored restaurant venues in D.C. The evening of culture in D.C. culminated at the Opera House of the Kennedy Center for a performance of ‘The Nutcracker’ by the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.
The week-long experience culminated on Monday morning with a guided tour of the US Capitol and scheduled visits with congressional members or members of their staff. 4-H members had the opportunity to share their 4-H experiences and how Texas A&M AgriLife Extension programs have made a difference in their counties. Touring the Library of Congress and visiting Smithsonian Museums of their choice rounded out the final day of the tour.
So, when you see Christian, tell him “good job!” Then ask him what it was like walking over 40 miles around the nation’s capitol!
For more information on this and our other educational programs, visit the Denton County AgriLife website at denton.agrilife.org or contact either David Annis or Morgan Wilson at 940.349.2884 for more information.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s mission is to provide quality, relevant outreach and continuing educational programs and services to the people of Texas. Extension educates Texans in the areas of agriculture, environmental stewardship, youth and adult life skills, human capital and leadership, and community economic development. The agency improves the lives of Texans through an educational process that uses research-based knowledge focused on issues and needs.