Thursday, April 14, 2011

Abby Smith Goes to Washington

This is the article that Abby wrote and submitted to the various local newspapers. So far none of them have opted to publish it.

From April 2- 7, Abigail Smith, a homeschooled sixteen year old, attended the National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase Maryland. This conference raises the youth voice around issues and concerns facing youth in communities, provides opportunities for youth and adults to work cooperatively around real issues, and gives delegates the opportunity to help provide ideas for future 4-H program directions. As the only delegate from Connecticut, Abigail traveled with the group of 4-H delegates from Rhode Island. Abigail was chosen through a process which included a lengthy application and an interview, where her accomplishments in leadership, public speaking and community service were evaluated.

The first activity when they arrived was a pin swap. The 300 plus delegates from all over the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, exchanged 4H pins with each other.

Abigail attended many workshops during her five day trip, where she learned about leadership, advocacy, and public speaking. She also participated in round table discussions regarding how to keep college aged youth involved in 4H programs. Her round table group developed ideas for a program and then created a webinar to be shown to members of the USDA for possible implementation.

Abigail was also able to spend some time touring Washington D.C. She visited the Smithsonian Museum of American History, where her favorite exhibit was of dresses worn by past first ladies.

The highlight of her trip was the time she was able to spend speaking with Congressman Joe Courtney about the importance of 4H and it's programs for youth. She was able to share with him some of the opportunities that she has had because of 4H, such as speaking at public hearings and town meetings.

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