Three Missouri youths attend National 4-H Conference
- Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Three Missouri 4-H members attended the 2019 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Md., April 6-11.
Sage Eichenburch of Prairie Home (Cooper County 4-H), Kayla Taylor of Leeton (Henry County 4-H) and Rachel Grubbs of Sikeston (Scott County 4-H) represented Missouri 4-H at the conference in the nation’s capital.
With only three youths chosen each year, attending the conference is a high honor that 4-H considers the pinnacle of achievement for young people in civic engagement, says Steve Henness, University of Missouri Extension state 4-H youth development specialist.
While in D.C., the Missouri 4-H delegates met with 226 other 4-H members from 45 states, Puerto Rico, the Northern Marianas Islands and Canada.
For Eichenburch and Grubbs, the 4-H conference was their first visit to the nation’s capital, which made a conference tour of D.C. monuments and landmarks a major highlight.
The youths witnessed the renewal of the cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National 4-H Council and the Cooperative Extension System that makes the 4-H program possible in every county.
The 4-H delegates worked with other youths in roundtable groups to prepare briefings for federal agencies on one of 15 different youth policy topics ranging from agriculture, bullying and entrepreneurship to distracted driving, mental health, opioids and renewable energy.
Grubbs and Taylor joined the distracted driving group, which gave a presentation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about programs to promote teen safety.
Eichenburch contributed to the energy roundtable, in which youths made recommendations to the U.S. Department of Energy for exporting natural gas to emerging markets in the Middle East.
Youth delegates wrapped up the conference spending a day on Capitol Hill visiting the offices of their senators and representatives and sharing how 4-H has affected their lives. Delegates said the greatest benefits they have received from participation in 4-H include confidence, leadership skills, adult supporters, expanded networks and college/career plans after high school.
“National 4-H Conference was a once-in-a-lifetime experience of incredible value,” said Eichenburch. “The conference took everything that 4-H has taught me over my 14 years of involvement and tied it all together.”
Eichenburch is a first-year student at the University of Missouri. Taylor is a sophomore at the University of Central Missouri. Grubbs is a freshman at Three Rivers College.
The National 4-H Conference trip is made possible by an endowment gift from the Nellie Turner family to the Missouri 4-H Foundation. Turner attended the first National 4-H Conference—then called 4-H Club Camp on the National Mall—in 1927. Her family has remained involved in national 4-H dedication ceremonies since then.
More than 55,000 members strong, Missouri 4-H is an active, dynamic organization of young people who are learning, growing and preparing to be the leaders of today and tomorrow – making a real difference in their community, country and world. 4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information, visit 4h.missouri.edu.
Photos available for this release:
From left, state 4-H specialist Steve Henness, Sage Eichenburch, Kayla Taylor and Rachel Grubbs in Washington, D.C., for the National 4-H Conference.
Kayla Taylor of Henry County at the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.
Rachel Grubbs of Scott County at the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.
Sage Eichenburch of Cooper County at the National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C.
From left, Kayla Taylor, Sage Eichenburch and Rachel Grubbs in Washington, D.C., for the National 4-H Conference.