WASHINGTON — As Washington began its transformation for inauguration day 2017, the patriotic colors of red, white and blue mixed with touches of green that sprouted around the nation’s capital.
Delaware 4-H was represented at the festivities by 15 youth delegates and five adults who joined 500 youth members from 25 other states for the National 4-H Citizen Washington Focus: Presidential Inauguration conference.
Along with their chaperones, the high-school aged youth took part in the weeklong program that aimed to enrich young people’s lives by providing enduring lessons of civic engagement by broadening their knowledge and understanding of the executive branch of government and developing a personal role in citizenship through service civic education and engagement.
The event combined leadership workshops, attendance at inauguration-related events and sightseeing.
“It was a momentous opportunity to be present to witness the 58th Presidential Inauguration,” said Chris Wood, a 4-H member from Kent County. “It was so full of energy and the event itself was incredibly powerful and moving. I am so glad to have been able to be a part of it. Through this experience, I have learned a lot about the democratic process.”
“My favorite part was meeting 4-H’ers from around America and listening and sharing opinions on today’s society,” said Brittany Carpenter, who represented Sussex County 4-H.
The process of governance, rather than politics, was central to the overall experience.
“Even while there is a decided divide in our nation, the promise of a peaceful transition of power gives hope to the idea that freedom will continue in our nation,” said Madison Cook, from Kent County.
Rene Diaz, 4-H educator and afterschool director, appreciated the opportunity for the teens to learn about their nation’s government. “They are our future leaders,” Diaz said. “The challenge for them is to take what they have learned and effect change in their local communities. Perhaps some will even be inspired to hold public office one day.”
“CWFPI really improved my view on politics,” said Garrett Geidel, a 4-H member in Kent County. “I’m more interested now to see that I can have a real impact on my nation’s inner workings.”
During the week, conference delegates had the opportunity to visit memorials, historical sites and museums in addition to experiencing Inauguration Day events as well as leadership sessions held at the National 4-H Center.
“The workshops were so interesting and helped me learn about the democratic process. A memory I made was learning about the president’s cabinet. I learned all about the different positions and what they are,” said Jenna Anger, a 4-H’er from Sussex County.
“My favorite part of this trip was going to the Newseum. It was really interesting to see how the media plays a role in government,” said Meredith Carey, a 4-H’er from Sussex County.
“This was a once in a lifetime experience, and seeing the museums and historical landmarks was very moving. I learned teamwork and social skills and also about the voting process,” said Heather Brown, from Kent County.
For more information about Delaware 4-H, visit the website.
Representing 4-H Extension staff were Kristin Cook and Rene Diaz. Adult chaperones were Tammy LeCates, Gina Anger and Teresa Truitt.
The Delaware 4-H delegation included:
- New Castle County: Grace Cords, Caroline Cords, Glynnis Leach, Heather Brown.
- Kent County: Christopher Wood, Noah Gardner-Bowler, Patrick Trunfio, Leslie Webb, Garrett Giedel and Madison Cook.
- Sussex County: Tanner LeCates, Ryan Cummings, Jenna Anger, Brittany Carpenter and Meredith Carey.