Local 4-H member participates in leadership programs

Jefferson County 4-H member, Ariana Woods, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roderick Woods of Pine Bluff, traveled to Washington, D.C., to participate in Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) — a weeklong summer leadership program for high school students.

CWF isn’t just another DC field trip – students learn essential civic and leadership skills and leave with the tools that will allow them to bring about real change in their communities. Youth use Washington, D.C. as a living classroom, and learn about the history of our nation, the leaders who have shaped it and their role in civic affairs both nationally and locally. CWF provides opportunities for youth to learn about the democratic process and their role as citizens while they experience our nation’s capital.

For more than 50 years, thousands of teenagers from across the country stay at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Md., while participating in CWF. They get the inside scoop about how government really works from prominent guest speakers. In addition, they participate in bill writing workshops, a national issues forum, mock elections and congressional sessions that prepare youth for leadership now and in the future.

In addition to the citizenship workshops and related activities at the 4-H Center, the week’s activities include a visit with Arkansas’ Congressional delegation on Capitol Hill, field trips to the Smithsonian, Washington National Cathedral, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, Iwo Jima, the White House, and the Lincoln, FDR and M.L. King Memorials.

Ariana also recently joined 31 other Arkansas 4-Hers and five adults to travel to Atlanta to participate in the National 4-H Congress.

The Arkansas delegation departed from the state Extension office in Little Rock on Thanksgiving night. The conference was held Nov 23-27, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta. “Become a Catalyst of Change” was this year’s conference theme. More than 1,000 delegates from across the United States and its territories participated in this annual event. The program provided educational, service learning and social opportunities including an Evening of Culture at the Atlanta History Center and the Congress Gala, which featured Robin Kaeppeler, Miss America 2012.

Ariana served as the state delegate advisor for Arkansas. In this capacity, she participated in the State Delegate Advisor Orientation Breakfast, conducted nightly state meetings and announced the delegation’s Clover House donation during the Congress Flag Ceremony and Challenge for Change Assembly. The Arkansas delegation donated $728, the third largest amount by all states, toward the third 4-H Clover House to be built in conjunction with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity.

National 4-H Congress is an opportunity for the Cooperative Extension System to recognize the nation’s brightest and best young people. The program is designed to help youth continue their development as the leaders of the next millennium.

The 4-H program is open to all youth between the ages of 5 and 19 without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or any other legally protected status. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (large print, audiotapes, etc.) should notify the county Extension office as soon as possible prior to the activity.