4-H Day at the Capitol is a unique day where our State Capitol in Tallahassee is overrunning with a sea of 4-H green! Youth from all 67 counties in Florida will travel to our Capitol on February 22nd to learn about their state government and experience the political process first hand. Throughout the day, youth will hear from public officials, participate in educational workshops, and see their legislators in actions! 4-H’ers have the opportunity, on this special day, to have their voices heard by the leaders of our government and make an impact with their 4-H story.
The day begins with an address from the 4-H State Officers and from our Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam himself. Putnam is a 4-H alumni and a leader in our Agriculture Industry. He takes pride in sharing his story annually to the #TrueLeaders of upcoming youth in 4-H. Listen to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s interview with Southeast AgNet about how participation in 4-H helped him develop the citizenship, speaking, organizational and leadership skills that he draws on to this day. Listen Here
“(4-H) Shaped my outlook on life and prepared me for the world beyond just county fairs and livestock shows. Even my exposure to campaigns and elections came through participation in 4-H programs and the State 4-H Council.” – Adam Putnam, Florida Agriculture Commissioner
After the address from Mr. Putnam, youth explore the new and old Capitol buildings, can listen in on an official meeting, and have the opportunity to meet one on one with their legislators. We do encourage 4-H Agents, Volunteers and youth to make appointments with their legislators prior to 4-H Day at the Capitol to ensure a meeting space and time. You may be surprised to discover that many of the professionals working throughout the Capitol are 4-H Alumni and continue to utilize the life skills they learned during their 4-H experience to aid them in their careers daily.
Walton County 4-H’ers enjoying their Capitol tour.
In addition to meeting with legislators, youth may participate in mock sessions, scavenger hunts around the Capitol and educational workshops! For example, youth can sign up to take a tour of the Big Bend Farm at the Tallahassee Museum, experience IMAX National Parks and learn about the national parks while completing science labs, or they may visit the Governor’s Mansion to learn about Florida’s First Family’s official residence! Come take advantage of this annual event that exemplifies how 4-H Grows our future leaders and why “you’re going to need us.” Sign up on 4honline today through January 31st!
4-H Day at the Capitol provides youth an opportunity to use their voice and practice good citizenship while
educating representatives and senators about the 4-H Program. 4-H members are highly encouraged to make an appointment with their congressmen or a congressional aide to talk about how the Florida 4-H Program has impacted their lives. During the day, participants will hear from public officials, participate in educational workshops, and see their congressmen in action. This year’s event is planned for Thursday, March 23rd.
Registration for this event is open through March 1st via 4HOnline. You may have participated in this event in the past, but this year, there are several important changes that will make your experience a little different (and hopefully even better).
This year, there will not be planned workshops for you to register for, but the 4-H Day at the Capitol Guidebook does include suggestions for educational tours and sites in Tallahassee that your club may want to take advantage of. Your registration includes a 4-H polo and lunch. Please wear dress pants, a skirt or khakis with your polo (no jeans or shorts). You want to look professional for your meetings with elected officials!
One of the primary goals of this event is for 4-Hers to have an opportunity to connect with their representative and/or senator to educate them about the 4-H program. Learning how to do this is a valuable citizenship skill. Please refer to the guidebook for detailed information and frequently asked questions. Here are a few tips to help you set up your appointments and prepare for your visit:
- Identify your State Representative and Senator
- Call the Capitol Office and request an appointment- Contact the Capitol office the first week of March to request an appointment. The secretary will ask you to call back closer to March 23, 2017 to confirm an appointment time.
- Learn about your Elected Officials
- Make a Plan for your Visit and Practice – During the months the Florida Legislature is in session, legislators work long hours and have limited time. Most likely you will only have 3-5 minutes for your meeting, so you need be prepared. Refer to the guide for some tips on preparing for your meeting. Decide what member(s) of your club or council will speak and practice!
- Call to Confirm your Appointment- Call your legislators’ Capitol Office again the week before 4-H Day at the Capitol to confirm your appointment with your legislator (or their aide of the legislator is not available)
Do you have an interest in government and citizenship? If so, consider enrolling in 4-H as either a member or volunteer. We have several programs to help youth learn about how our government works and how they can be an involved, caring and compassionate citizen. Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit some of these links:
4-H youth practices parliamentary procedure for club meetings. Photo Credit: UF IFAS Bay County Extension.
No matter what your political beliefs, there’s one thing we can all agree on: We have been inundated with election coverage. In November 2016, a new president will be elected to serve a four-year term, so now is an ideal time to start teaching kids about the presidential election process. Even though they may not be quite old enough to vote, kids can still benefit from learning about elections and how they can take part in the political process. Chances are that your child has noticed campaign signs, television commercials, news coverage, T-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons and conversations about the election. You may even hear them reciting what you say about each candidate.
Florida 4-H has a wonderful project that can help youth understand their government. It is Exploring Citizenship – My Government Unit 6. The My Government‖ project helps youth learn about our democratic form of government and understand the importance of citizen involvement in the government. It will also help youth find ways to get involved in government. 4-H Club officers are the beginning of the process learning basic parliamentary procedure. Another wonderful opportunity is the 4-H Day at the Capitol Program that provides youth with an opportunity to learn more about their state government and experience the political process first hand. During the day, participants will hear from public officials, participate in educational workshops, and see their congressmen in action.
4-H also has an outstanding teen program, 4-H Legislature, in Tallahassee annually. Senior 4-H’ers, ages 13 to 18, develop their skills to debate, analyze legislation and speak publicly, all while making new friends. At this civic educational event, youth can sponsor a bill, amend, or lobby it, then debate the issues on the Capitol House and Senate floors. The 4-H Legislature Program enables youth to understand the basic principles of democracy.
Democratic government requires citizen participation. Each citizen has a responsibility to stay informed on public issues, to express an opinion on these issues, and to make sure that government stays sensitive to the desires of the people. In the United States, only a small group fulfills this responsibility. To most people, voting is the extent of their participating. After election time they wait until the next election to become active again. Many citizens never become active even to register or vote.
Don’t be a “let someone else do it” citizen. Get involved! Make sure your democratic government represents you and other citizens and make sure your child understands what it means to be a citizen of the United States. For more information visit our website . 4-H is one of the nation’s most diverse organizations and includes people from all economic, racial, social, political, and geographic categories. There are no barriers to participation by any young person. Participants are given the opportunity to engage in activities that hold their personal interest. If you wish to volunteer or for more program information contact your local Extension office.