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University of Minnesota Extension

4-H clover Minnesota youth learn about civic engagement in Washington D.C.

July 23, 2019
group of kids standing in front of the Washington Monument

43 youth and five adult chaperones from 20 counties and tribal nations participated in the 2019 Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) in June.

“CWF is a national 4-H experience designed to challenge youth to think about how they can use their voice to create positive, sustainable change in their communities,” said Jacquie Lonning, Civic Engagement & Leadership Director at the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Youth Development.

4-H Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) is held every summer at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Washington, D.C. Through a series of speakers, committee work, field trips and social events, youth explore, develop, and refine skills needed to be an outstanding leader on both a local and national level. CWF participants get a behind-the-scenes look at our nation's capital, meet members of Congress, hear from motivational speakers, and participate in educational workshops and assemblies that increase their individual commitment to civic involvement -building skills for a lifetime of success. Through CWF, youth strengthen their communication, leadership, and citizenship skills, and learn about the democratic process and the importance of becoming active and engaged community members.

Each day of the experience also included sightseeing for the Minnesota youth. They toured national monuments and historic landmarks including the Martin Luther King, Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Jefferson Monuments, the US Marine Corps, World War II, Vietnam War, Korean War, and 9/11 Pentagon Memorials, the National Cathedral, George Washington's Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery and the US Capitol Building. The youth also visited sites along the National Mall, including the Smithsonian Museums, the Library of Congress, the National Portrait Gallery and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

They had a chance to visit Minnesota's Congress people or their offices. Minnesota delegates took a trip to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a "night out" at Toby's Dinner Theatre, and for many, their first-ever flight delay!

Five youth had leadership roles on this trip:

Youth experience leaders: Branstyn Peterson (Sibley), Eileen Otto (Wright), Kate Lorang (Renville)

Youth social media leaders: Hally Frandrup (Dakota) and Hope Grafstrom (Roseau)

4-H offers leadership and civic engagement experiences throughout the year. To learn more, visit z.umn.edu/4HLeadership.

Funding is provided in part by donor gifts to the University of Minnesota Foundation and purchases from 4-H Clovermart at the Minnesota State Fair. We’re grateful for the many who support this valuable civic engagement experience.

Jacquie Lonning
Civic engagement & leadership director

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