The Roundup -

Leland and Schepens attend the National 4-H Conference in Washington DC


From left to right: Garret Leland, Bailey Chalfant, and Taylor Schepens were the three 4-H members from Montana who attended the National 4-H Conference in Washington DC. Both Leland and Schepens are Richland County 4-H members.

Senior Richland County 4-H Members Garret Leland and Taylor Schepens recently attended the National 4-H Conference in Washington DC. They were two of the three 4-H members who represented Montana at the national conference; the two flew to Washington DC April 9th and returned April 14th.

Leland submitted his application for the conference after being encouraged by a neighbor and former 4-H member who'd attended the conference when he was in high school, and assured Leland it was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Schepens applied for the conference after the local Extension Agent contacted her and told her that there were still two spots available; having been to Washington DC before, Schepens didn't hesitate to go back for the event, which was held at the National 4-H Conference Center.

There were 4-H members from all over the country in attendance who participated in workshops and round table discussions, in which members had 10 hours to complete a power point presentation on specific topics. Leland was part of a group whose fitness topic entailed ideas about how communities and schools could help children with disabilities become more comfortable and involved with sports activities. Schepens participated in a round table discussion about emotional safety; each project requiring members to work together to create a comprehensive action plan to present to advisors.

"It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot," commented Schepens. "The Youth Rally was my favorite part. The lead singer of Sugarland was a guest speaker and then sang at the rally and the whole thing was aired on a local news channel. It was a very cool experience to see so many people together and super-excited."

"It surprised me how many people didn't have a farming and ranching background like I do. A lot of the people there focused on other aspects of 4-H," said Leland.

They also had time to take in some of the sights, visiting the WWII Memorial, Holocaust Museum, Vietnam Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial.

"It was a really great experience," Leland added.

Leland has been a 4-H member for eleven years and his involvement includes raising and showing market beef, leatherwork, and welding. Schepens has been involved in 4-H for nine years with woodworking and quilting projects, as well as raising and showing market beef. Both Sidney High School Juniors agree that 4-H has taken them out of their comfort zones in a beneficial way, giving them public speaking skills and hands-on experience in a variety of areas.

However, the two noted that the friendships they have made through 4-H are probably the biggest reason they would encourage others to join, and with so many projects for a variety of interests, there is really something for everyone.


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