ST. GEORGE – A Washington County teen represented local youth and Utah at the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.
From April 6 to 11, over 270 youth and adults representing 4-H programs from across the country gathered to exchange ideas, gain knowledge to share in their local programs and develop recommendations to help guide the future of 4-H. Through various conference sessions and facilitated discussions, delegates learned and shared information on current trends and issues relevant to 4-H youth, building effective partnerships, creating innovative programs, expanding the use of technology, working with diverse groups and understanding community needs. At the completion of roundtable discussions, delegates gave presentations to federal agencies to recommend innovative change and represent youth voice. They also had the opportunity to meet with their legislators on Capitol Hill Day and discuss state 4-H programs with congressional members and their staff.
Utah sent delegates to represent 4-H programs from 29 counties across the state. Local teen Kaydn Ence represented Washington County. Ence is involved in many 4-H programs, including robotics, shooting sports and raising pigs, and recently won Grand Champion at the Dixie Junior Livestock Show with his hog. He has served as historian, reporter, vice president and president of 4-H clubs. He was also selected as a 4-H Youth Delegate and State Ambassador.
“Through all my experiences in 4-H, I have been given opportunities to be a leader and mentor to teach younger kids and perform service in my community,” Ence said. “I now have the confidence to speak in front of large crowds and facilitate leadership activities. I’m always looking for ways I can make a difference in the community.”
“Kaydn is a normal teenager who has done many remarkable things through 4-H,” said Professor Paul Hill, Utah State University Extension. “Kaydn has become better through 4-H because he has chosen to make his 4-H projects a high priority in his life. His parents and 4-H leaders are very involved and supportive in his development as 4-H youth leader. Kaydn works very hard and doesn’t give up when learning gets hard.”
Ence spoke to the United States Department of Agriculture about how today’s youth generation is going to feed the growing world by 2050. He also met with Utah Rep. Chris Stewart and Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch to discuss his personal experience with 4-H and to ask them to continue to support local 4-H programs.
4-H is a nationwide youth development program funded by federal, state and local governments. Utah 4-H is administered by Utah State University. The Washington County 4-H program is divided into different project areas that provide youth with a path to master each project. Projects offered include Youth Leadership, Horse, Livestock, Robotics, Cooking, Sewing, Bicycling, Shooting Sports and Computer Programming.
“4-H is not a place parents can just drop off their kids. 4-H is a program where high-achieving youth come together with caring adults to learn and master life and technical skills and reach their greatest potential,” Hill said. “The Washington County 4-H program provides resources and training to youth and adults who want to get involved. 4-H doesn’t just happen to you; you have to make it happen by showing up and getting involved.”
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Contributing submission by: Washington County 4-H
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