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JARAD JOHNSON, 4-H Congress County Reporter
Evan Buck, Kelsey Faulkner, Jesse Franklin, Jarad Johnson and Molly Odell served as ambassadors representing Lincoln County 4-H at the 66th annual 4-H Congress in Nashville, March 24th thru 27th.
Janie Peery competed in the state public speaking competition, representing Lincoln County and the Central Region during Congress.
Since its beginning in 1948, 4-H Congress has given more than 33, 400 4-H members and adult volunteers the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in the workings of state government. In addition to experiencing life in the state capitol, 4-H members learn about civic engagement, including such things as state government, service to others, and the election process.
While at Congress 4-H members act as Representatives or Senators and form a “junior” Congress. The theme for the 2013 4-H Congress was “Our Hands to a Larger Service”. Delegates collected items for the Nashville Rescue Mission and presented them during Congress.
Opening assembly took place on Sunday evening. Monday delegates visited the state capitol, sat in the legislature and argued and voted on bills. Each delegate had the opportunity to voice their opinions on the bills being discussed and to try to influence their peers. Monday afternoon delegates had legislative visits with their respective Senators and Representatives.
While in Nashville, delegates were treated to many of the sights and sounds of the capitol city, including a ride on the General Jackson, complete with show and lunch. Tuesday evening culminated in a formal Citizenship Banquet, followed by the Inaugural Ball.
One way to be a responsible citizen is to understand your government and how you can be involved so that your government represents you and other citizens. Democratic governments are established to be operated by the people, for the people. Citizen involvement in government is the only way to keep government responsive to the people.
This event provided new opportunities for 4-H members to develop a better understanding of citizenship and how it relates to daily living. It also provided the opportunity to learn how government functions and encourage youth to assume and continue leadership roles in our respective communities.
The opportunity to be a Congress delegate while interacting with state officials, legislators, 4-H donors, and others in Nashville was an event that has definitely left a lasting impression on us all. 4-H Congress was truly an eye-opening citizenship experience.