New Jersey 4-Hers Boost Leadership and Civic Skills in Washington, D.C.

New Jersey 4-H delegates to the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus on the steps of the Capitol.

New Jersey 4-H delegates to the 2014 Citizenship Washington Focus on the steps of the Capitol.

New Jersey 4-H members learned about government processes in the vibrant, living classroom of the nation’s capital as part of Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF), an intensive 4-H civic engagement program for high-school youth held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The New Jersey 4-H delegation of 30 youth and three adult chaperones attended week 6 of the conference from July 6-12.

The delegates attending this year’s conference were drawn from Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset and Salem counties.

For over 50 years, the National 4-H Youth Conference Center has invited 4-H members from across the country to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in civic workshops, committees and field trips before returning home to make positive changes in their own communities. CWF not only strengthens young people’s understanding of the government’s civic process, it also boosts their leadership and communication skills, and overall confidence.

During the weeklong program, the youth get a behind-the-scenes look at the nation’s capital during meetings with members of Congress to learn more about how government works. At the end of the program, the 4-H youth develop action plans to address important issues in their respective communities.

“CWF is a great opportunity for young people to come together, discuss the problems they see in their communities and identify solutions to make their communities stronger,” said Jeannette Rea-Keywood, state 4-H agent in Department of 4-H Youth Development. “The experiences that young people gain during CWF give them the proper tools and confidence to become successful, articulate leaders in the future.”

The 4-H Youth Development Program is part of Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station-Cooperative Extension.  4-H educational programs are offered to all youth, grades K-13, on an age-appropriate basis, without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, marital status, domestic partnership status, military service, veteran status, and any other category protected by law.

For more information about the New Jersey 4-H Program visit the 4-H website at http://nj4h.rutgers.edu/.