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South Dakota Sends Youth to National 4-H Conference
South Dakota Ag Connection - 04/20/2017

Five South Dakota youth recently attended the National 4-H Conference held in Chevy Chase, Md.

"National 4-H Conference represents the premier opportunity for South Dakota 4-H members to get involved at the National level," said Matthew Olson, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor - Pennington County and one of two chaperones who accompanied the South Dakota youth on the trip.

Kaycee Jones, Haakon/Jackson/Jones/Mellette Counties SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Program Advisor also served as a chaperone.

Youth who attended the conference included: Matthew Bogue, Lincoln County; Matthew Sperry, Brown County; Jace Woodward, Custer County; Kelsey Frost, Minnehaha County and Emily Rolfes, Clay County. "The experience I will never forget," Sperry said. "National 4-H Conference is a productive collaboration with other delegates (together we) created a presentation for a Federal Department. Through our close teamwork, I now have 4-H friends from across the nation."

The National 4-H Conference is a premier professional and leadership development event for 4-H members, ages 16 - 19, across the U.S. and its territories.

The conference is administered by the National 4-H Headquarters of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Held annually, except for several years during World War II, the camp's mission is to assist in the development of the next generation's leaders. Delegates attend training workshops, become acquainted with government and have the opportunity to meet with state leaders.

While attending the conference, youth participated in roundtable discussions including: Ag Challenges; House Agriculture Committee; Science of Music; Smithsonian Institute; Emergency Readiness; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response; Wind Decisions; Department of Energy; Social Equity; Federal Bureau of Investigations and Working my Future; Department of Labor.

They also took part in workshops that focused on conflict resolution through cooperation; exploring power, influence and authority as well as advocacy.

The trip was sponsored and funded by the 4-H Livestock Industry Trust Fund.

"I recommend that everyone who is interested has the chance attend the National 4-H Conference," Frost said. "I had an amazing time meeting new friends, learning, exploring D.C. and presenting along with my roundtable. It has been an experience that I will treasure for a lifetime."

Rolfes added, "The National 4-H Conference is a great opportunity to meet new people, learn about 4-H and your roundtable, sightsee, meet your congressmen, and make life memories. I had mass amounts of fun and would go again if I could."

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