By Pam Phillippe
Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) is a 4-H leadership program for senior 4-H members. Delegations from across the county attend this 6-day program at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, located just outside Washington, D.C. The program is designed to enrich young people’s lives by broadening their appreciation and respect for themselves and others in the world. Participants attend workshops, committees, field trips and social events, giving them hands-on opportunities to learn and grow. Participants learn and practice skills that will make them better citizens and more successful individuals. Highlights of the CWF week are listed below.
Each participant is encouraged to research their representative and their senators to learn what committees they serve on, what bills they have introduced or supported, and how they have voted on issues of concern to Florida residents. This gives CWF participants a solid background for designing questions and comments they will have during their Congressional visits. Participants are also encouraged to research the issues facing teens in their community.
CAPITOL HILL DAY
Youth spend the day on Capitol Hill meeting with the Representative of their home district and with the Florida Senators. Youth are able to discuss issues and concerns with these Congressional leaders based on their pre-trip research.
Throughout the week, all participants visit national memorials, historical sites, museums, and other places of interest. Mount Vernon, the Library of Congress, the Lincoln Memorial, the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, Ford’s Theatre, the Supreme Court Building, Arlington Cemetery are but a few of the places visited. Each visit is done as a state group, with CWF program assistants providing historical information.
YOUTH ISSUES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Each participant works with teenagers from other states to examine the issues facing today’s young people. This is done in working groups, with the members examining the problem and setting goals to address the problem. Participants are encouraged to take home an action plan they can implement in their county or community.
Each participant also serves on a committee with youth from other states, to lead many of the activities held during the week. Media and Public Relations, Healthy Lifestyles, and Talent Show are just some of the fun committees.
State delegations choose an activity to provide teen participants an opportunity to be part of the social scene of Washington D.C. Some delegations choose to attend a performance at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, while others choose to attend a local dinner theatre.
State delegations also choose activities they wish to do on Delegation Day. Delegations have chosen to spend the day at the Smithsonian Museums, tour the Pentagon or visit Gettysburg battlefields. For more information on this summer adventure, visit http://florida4h.org.