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4-H Day at the Capitol- A Day for #TRUELEADERS

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!

 

Helpful Resources:

Teaching Youth Citizenship this Election Season

4-H youth practices parliamentary procedure for club meetings.  Photo Credit: UF IFAS Bay County Extension

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.