Washington County 4-H Youth Meet With State Legislators and Elected Officials
Thirteen youth from the Utah State University Extension Washington County 4-H program recently visited the state capitol to learn about how government works and meet with state legislators, elected officials, and lobbyists.
The youth experienced a private tour of the capitol building, met with officials from the state treasurer and state auditor offices, and observed state representatives on the balcony of the house of representatives during a legislative session. Representative Brad Last, who organized the experience for the youth, made a special effort to recognize them during the session.
The youth then met with Lt. Governor Henderson, followed by Governor Spencer J. Cox, who spoke to them about his duties as governor and the issues he wants to address (education, housing, water conservation). He took questions, gave the youth advice on their careers, and inspired them to stay involved as leaders in their communities.
“The Washington County 4-H Youth Officer program is very rigorous and competitive,” said Paul Hill, USU Extension professor. “These are very ambitious youth with high aspirations. This experience at the state capitol was one they have prepared for over several months, deciding which leaders to meet with, what questions to ask them, and developing their public presence skills.”
The youth ended the trip by meeting with lobbyists to learn about their role in representing large groups and providing expertise and opinions legislators use to sponsor and support bills.
“The whole experience was amazing!” said Ana Carnavale, the Washington County 4-H Youth Officer program president. “All the elected leaders were so nice and genuine. We learned more details about our government and how it works. They made it exciting and easy to understand. This is by far one of my most amazing experiences yet!”
Civic engagement is one of the four program areas of 4-H. The 4-H program aims to help youth discover their individual voice and begin to interact with their communities and solve problems, create change, and expand their sphere of influence.
“The data we collected from the youth’s experience demonstrates that they were further motivated to become even more active and informed citizens in their community,” Hill said. “They have an increased desire to learn about the critical issues our elected leaders are working to address.”
To learn more about the USU Extension 4-H program, visit https://extension.usu.edu/utah4h.