Tama Co. 4-H members attend Iowa 4-H Youth Conference

Tama County 4-H members (l-r) Carter Kemp, Amaya Peterson, and Emily Hulme pictured in Ames this past June while attending the 2022 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. –Photo courtesy of Jenny Hulme

In June, 300 youth delegates gathered at Iowa State University for the 2022 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, themed “Building the Future.” Teenagers from across the state came to the Iowa State campus for three days full of speakers, workshops, mixers, dances, special events, and civic engagement activities. Three youth along with their adult chaperone attended from Tama County.

Youth who attended the conference June 28-30 dove into their passions, discovered career opportunities, and learned about life on a college campus all while meeting other youth from across the state. Delegates participated in educational workshops, heard from multiple keynote speakers, exhibited their talents, and gathered new ideas to take back to their communities. With over 20 workshop topics to choose from each day, delegates were seen identifying insects and plant diseases at the Field Education Extension Laboratory, exploring processed meat products in the meat lab, designing architecture, researching diseases at the College of Veterinary Medicine, becoming educated about mental and emotional health and much more.

“The conference is organized by the State 4-H Council, a group of leadership-driven high school youth,” said Haley Jones, conference coordinator and 4-H youth program specialist. “Everything from the theme, keynote speakers, service project, banquet entertainment, and schedule of events is determined by the State 4-H Council members. They can consider their own experiences and interests and those of their peers during the planning process, making the 4-H Youth Conference a truly unique experience as it is planned for youth, by youth.”

The annual conference also allows youth to participate in civic engagement sessions. Delegates created nearly 500 homemade dog toys from recycled t-shirts, participated in a well-being session focused on stress management and goal setting, and learned about another country and its culture.

The three Tama County 4-H members that attended shared their thoughts. For Amaya Peterson, “4-H Youth Conference gives you a chance to learn more about the world through various workshops. I encourage anyone who is in 4-H or is not in 4-H to attend the conference.” Emily Hulme shared, “It was so much fun and I liked meeting new people and dancing.” “Yeah, it was pretty good” from Carter T Kemp.

The Iowa 4-H Youth Conference welcomed two keynote speakers to the Stephens Auditorium stage to address the delegates surrounding the theme of “Building the Future.” Kansas City Chiefs Mascot (KC Wolf) Dan Meers opened the conference with a motivational message about striving for your goals. Former Black Hawk helicopter pilot Elizabeth McCormick talked about overcoming challenges. Noah Sonie provided mentalist/hypnosis entertainment for the delegation at the formal banquet.

Youth who have completed eighth grade up through youth who have completed 12th grade are invited to attend the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference each year. 4-H members, as well as youth who have not participated in 4-H, are invited to attend. Registration for the 2023 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference will open in March 2023, with conference dates set for June 27-29, 2023, at Iowa State University.

For more information regarding the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, visit  https://www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/iowa4hyouthconference