“I've entered another realm of 4-H and discovered a higher meaning of it. This trip will stick with me forever!”-4-Her from SE, Iowa
National 4-H Youth Conference Center
7100 Connecticut Ave.
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
“It was probably the best experience of my 4-H career. I met lifelong friends that I still communicate with, and had an absolute blast. Definitely an experience I will never forget!”- Kansas CWF alumni
Hear more about what past CWF delegates have said about the program and learn about the impact CWF has had on their communities.
So we have the Derby today and I am super excited. I can’t wait to play all the different games. Also I’m happy to have fun and interact with new and different people. I’m sure me and all my friends will have lots of fun. I would also love to make more friends. Some of the things we’ll be doing is basketball, water fight, blind fold race, and it’ll e lots of fun. There will be lots of creative things. There will be lots of competition.
My fist day at CWF was very exciting and interesting. When I arrived I was amazed at how many teenagers came out and how much it looked like a college campus. On the first day we went to Blooming Dales and had lots of fun. There were a lot of expensive and different stores that I’ve never seen. When we arrived back at the 4H center we got a chance chill in are rooms and explore campus. The campus has a game room, vending machines, gifts shop ect . Are rooms are a nice size and full of space. That night me and my roommates stayed up and talked about what we were looking forward to doing. We were all very ecstatic.
By Caipriest Wilson
Citizen Washington Focus has been an amazing experience for me since my very first day. It has been inspiring, educational, dedicational, time consuming, and much more along with the fun and joy of meeting new people from all regions of the country. Now, I will warn you that I am not that great of a writer, but as I joined the communications committee I knew exactly what I wanted to do…write about the traveling experience on the way here. As I thought about this I wondered if anyone had similar experience as the New Orleans, Louisiana delegation. As I went around interviewing others I realized that everyone had different experiences. They were all wonderful stories to hear though.
My group’s (New Orleans, Louisiana) experience to CWF was definitely and adventure. The best part (besides that it was my first airplane ride) was the fact that we barely knew each other and bonded through all of the trials we went through. We were all up either from four or five o’clock in the morning getting ready to head to the airport for six. Once we got there and got through security and onto the plane, we had to wait for a while because there was a problem while we were about to take off. Three of my colleagues and I were on the plane for the first time and I really thought it was going to blow up or something; thank god that didn’t happen! There was not one complaint and we all sat in the airport having conversations for hours until it was time to go. Once we eventually made it to the 4-H National Conference Center we came to see that the power was out and we couldn’t eat a proper lunch in an appropriate amount of time. There STILL weren’t any complaints. All-in-all this has been an great experience and the trip here was an true adventure for us.
By Rachel Danitz, N.J Delegation 7/12/12
Several hundred different 4-H’ers from ten different states, all coming together for a common purpose, to learn. This is the exciting beginning of Citizenship Washington Focus in a nutshell. If you have ever been to CWF, you have figured out that even the most intellectual and informed of delegates will be hit with some new concepts. Although 4-H as an organization strives to teach leadership, citizenship and teamwork, at CWF these things are not only taught, they are LIVED. It’s hard to not participate in the engaging workshops designed to help youth develop and practice using these skills.
The most advertised and talked about fart of CWF is the sightseeing. The monuments, the tours and the National 4-H Youth Conference Center itself! It’s all awesome! But one thing a lot of the delegates didn’t expect was that they would learn about what is behind all these things. The meaning in the monuments, the hard work that goes on behind the closed doors of government office buildings as well as the character qualities and ethics of the people who’s statues and houses they photograph. What they may not have realized, is that through all these experiences, they can learn about and develop the skills that can help them make a difference just like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. and other people they admire.
In workshops, kids learn to express their opinions by discussing current congressional issues. They become educated about government processes (which kids say their schools either don’t stress or haven’t refreshed for a while) in bill writing workshops, practicing by writing sample bills using congressional issues.
Committees provide a way for youth to develop their skills in more specific areas pertaining to their interests. Each committee has a responsibility at CWF, such as planning an event, updating websites or facilitating group discussion. So CWF is, in part, run by it’s participants, a kind of “government by the people”, teaching the delegates to develop and exercise leadership skills.
The highlight of the trip is, of course, the on Capitol Hill. After three days of preparation, the delegates get to put their communication skills to the test. Aside from the touring, the delegates spend the day meeting with and talking to their representatives, or their representative’s assistant. They spend some time discussing what the representatives are currently working on in the House, getting acquainted and answering questions on both sides. This is an opportunity for members and showcase 4-H and what they have learned so far at CWF.
Later on in the week, they use the knowledge they gain from these interviews and their workshops to hold a mock congressional session in which bills they wrote themselves are brought to the floor to be debated and voted on.
Past CWF attendees have said that their week at the National 4-H Youth Conference center far exceeded their expectations. When it comes time to leave, no one wants to go! But when they return to their home towns, they go as confidant, informed young people ready to make positive differences in their communities. There are few events through the 4-H program that so thoroughly immerse 4-H’ers in learning by doing and making the best better as Citizenship Washington Focus.
By: Kelly Skaer and Bambi Shore.
I’m sure all of us have heard the bag v.s. bag conversations. I mean, how could you not? They start with odd looks and whispers, but quickly escalate to screaming the phrase, “YOU’RE SAYING IT WRONG.” Seeing as though we’re both from Wisconsin, we often experience being ganged up on at least once a day, if not more. This is all done in fun, obviously, but it allows us to realize the different places we’ve come from.
As fellow Wisconsinites, we’re not used to hearing strong accents. We love hearing y’alls accents- that’s why we’re constantly telling you talk! But the point is, we’re all speaking the same language and using the same words, the only difference is the emphasis we put on certain letters in the words. All of us can grow substantially from each other, no matter what state we’re from. We all have the ability to change each other for the better, even though we’re only together for a week.
By Linette Reeman, Monmouth County 4-H
The morning of July 8 dawned bright and early for the delegates of 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) arriving to the National 4-H Conference Center. It did not, however, stay bright for long.
Around the time of late check-ins and dinner, at about 5 p.m., the power all over the campus was suddenly extinguished, due to the storm raging outside.
Delegates from CWF, as well as the Junior National Youth Leadership Conference (Jr.NYLC), suddenly found themselves in pitch darkness, nervous and fumbling around for phones and flashlights.
However, chaperones and staff members of the National 4-H Conference Center were determined to keep to schedule as much as possible.
Fares Hihit, front desk agent at the National 4-H Conference Center, said that the staff’s first priority was making sure that everyone stayed calm and “doing anything… to satisfy [the guests].”
Hihit said that although a blackout had never, to his knowledge, happened before, the staff was luckily prepared for the emergency, even going so far as handing out or suggesting alternative sources of light to those who wanted to take a shower or walk around.
“[The blackout] was a cool experience,” Hihit said, grinning. “It really brought the team together.”
Despite the staff’s measures to keep everything under control, there are simply some activities that were hindered by the blackout.
Emma Wagner and Mariah Martin, both from Wisconsin and audition managers/program designers on the Talent Show Committee, said that conducting auditions in the dark and without microphones proved to be challenging.
Martin said it was hard because they had to audition people in the lobby instead of in the Aiton Auditorium, and “people were walking through,” causing a distraction to the auditionee.
Wagner, however, went on to say that she did not think the people who auditioned in the dark were at a disadvantage compared to those who auditioned when the power was revived. In fact, she thought it gave them an edge over everyone else, as the auditioners were able to see a potential performer face distraction, and judge how well they were able to adapt to un-ideal situations. “They stuck through [the auditions],” Martin concluded.
While having the blackout on the first night of CWF was not an opportune opening to the week, it did not set the precedent for the rest of the conference. The delegates of CWF continued to persevere and perform with the energy, creativity, and enthusiastic spark that is present within every 4-Her, no matter the challenge.
By Kathleen Widmer
Delegates arrived in Washington DC to find themselves without power. A recent storm caused power outages for much of the area. Delegates went without air conditioning and hot water, and there were few lights, none of which were in the rooms. People got ready for bed and even showered in complete darkness. Luckily, the power returned to CWF on Monday morning. Cheers could be heard as the lights turned on and air conditioners provided some relief from the heat. It was a very unique way to begin our CWF experience and it perhaps taught us not to take the electricity for granted.
Wednesday was the Fourth of July, and the delegates at this week’s CWF celebrated the holiday by watching the fireworks. The delegations went to different locations in the city. Some were at the Jefferson monument, some at the Iwo Jima memorial, and others near the Washington monument. The nation’s capitol had some more elaborate fireworks than many 4-Her’s were used to. After the fireworks ended, delegates braved the crowds. For some delegates from rural areas or small towns, the crowds were a little bit stressful. Some delegates walked through crowds bigger than they had ever seen, and others got onto the subway. Celebrating the 4th Washington D.C. style has been an experience than many delegates will never forget.
During our experience at Citizenship Washington Focus, each delegate has been enhancing his or her leadership and citizenship skills. One of the ways these students learn more about the government and its procedures through being part of a committee dedicated to writing a bill regarding a current issue. There are eight different committees discussing opposite positions on four separate topics. The topics include food labels, renewable resources, youth working on farms, and federal government financing of art education classes in public schools. While the students are preparing these bills, they learn valuable skills: communication, compromise, and discussion. These bills will be presented to a government committee who will finalize the bill in preparation to be voted on by the entire delegation. This experience has given each delegate the opportunity to go further understand how our government system operates.
By Sharon Palmer
On the morning of Monday, July 2, the delegates of Citizenship Washington Focus 2012 traveled to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. On the bus ride to our destination, our Program Assistants instructed us through an activity relating to leadership as well as citizenship. As we went through Mount Vernon, the delegates noticed the many points in George Washington’s in which he displayed acts of citizenship and leadership. One example was during the French and Indian War. Despite the hot and humid weather, many delegates realized that there was much more to the Mount Vernon estate than we were able to see during the few hours that we were allotted to spend there. The visit the Mount Vernon was a learning experience for all.
Week #1: June 2-8
Week #2: June 9-15Week #3: June 16-22 - SOLD OUT
Week #4: June 23-29 - SOLD OUT
Week #5: June 30-July 6
Week #6: July 7-13
Week #7: July 14-20
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