North Dakota Youth Build Connections & Leadership Skills At National 4-H Conference

The delegates explored issues affecting youth & role youth can play in addressing those issues.

Attending the weeklong National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C, helped Burleigh County 4-H member Elizabeth Sikes feel more confident in her ability to lead.

 "The National 4-H Conference was one of my favorite things I have done through 4-H and has helped me further develop my leadership skills," Sikes says. "It was a wonderful experience, and I loved meeting people from all over the U.S. and from different territories."

Sikes was one of four North Dakota 4-H'ers who attended the National 4-H Conference April 19-24. The other delegates were Aubrey Delaney, Cass County; Aubri Staloch, Williams County; and Nora Severance; Cass County.

More than 260 youth attended the conference to explore current issues affecting youth and the role that 4-H can play in addressing those issues. Delegates participated in roundtable groups that researched issues, developed presentations on their findings and then shared the findings with key decision makers at various federal agencies throughout the Washington, D.C., area.

For Sikes and Delaney, the roundtable groups and presentations were one of the most impactful parts of the conference. All the delegates said that another best part of the trip was making connections with other youth from across the U.S.

"I gained many new skills and made great memories with amazing people from around the U.S.," Staloch adds. "It was a truly amazing experience that I will treasure forever."

"National 4-H Conference was an amazing experience that I am so grateful to have been able to attend," says Delaney. "I especially enjoyed getting to explore some of the National monuments and presenting to the federal partners."

Chaperone Kelly Leo, a North Dakota State University Williams County Extension agent, enjoyed watching the young people evolve through their experiences.

"The maturity and responsiveness of the youth to their roundtable issues was impressive," Leo says. "Their presentations would rival even the best adult presenters and truly impressed the federal agencies."

Delegate Severance encourages other youth to apply.

"Deciding to apply for the trip is one of the best decisions I have made, and I would recommend it to anyone," she says.

Applications to serve as a 2025 delegate are due to the NDSU Extension Center for 4-H Youth Development by Aug. 1. For more information, contact Rachelle Vettern, NDSU professor and Extension leadership and volunteer development specialist, at 701-231-7541 or [email protected].


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