DC or bust!

The Covington News - - SPORTS - TERRI KIM­BLE FULLER­TON COLUM­NIST Terri Kim­ble Fuller­ton is a New­ton County 4-H Agent through UGA Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion. She can be reached at tkim­ble@uga.edu.

In Ge­or­gia 4-H, most of us call Rock Ea­gle our home away from home.

In other states, I’ve heard a lot of 4-H’ers call the Na­tional 4-H Cen­ter in Chevy Chase, Mary­land, the home of all 4-H’ers.

With so many ac­tive 4-H mem­bers in Ge­or­gia, it’s a rare op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent Ge­or­gia 4-H at a na­tional event at the Na­tional 4-H Cen­ter.

One of those op­por­tuni- ties is Ci­ti­zen­ship Wash­ing­ton Fo­cus each sum­mer.

I’m in the car right now with New­ton 4-H’er MaKenzy McCord and Stephens County 4-H’er AJ Howard on our way to join 4-H’ers from sev­eral states across the coun­try for 6 days of ex­plor­ing our na­tion’s capi­tol.

My dad, 4-H vol­un­teer Doug Kim­ble, is also with us. It isn’t his first trip along this road with 4-H’ers; his first was 20 years ago on my first 4-H ex­change trip to War­ren, Penn­syl­va­nia.

We drove through Wash­ing­ton, DC, along our route, with an un­ex­pected high­way stop for a flat tire on the 4-H van.

I have to ad­mit, I don’t feel 20 years older than the two ris­ing tenth graders in the back seat. I’ll let you know if that changes by the time we’re on the way back next Satur­day.

(It’s even harder to be­lieve my par­ents had a high schooler at my age, when I’m ex­pect­ing my first child four months from to­day!)

To­day (Satur­day) we’ll drive through to Staunton, Vir­ginia. To­mor­row we have an easy morn­ing and af­ter­noon un­til check in at the 4-H Cen­ter in the af­ter­noon.

The 4-H’ers will be as­signed to com­mit­tees and start get­ting to know youth from across the coun­try.

A 4-H Pro­gram As­sis­tant will be as­signed to our group for the weeks’ ac­tiv­i­ties and tours. We have a busy sched­ule planned along­side the classes, con­gres­sional vis­its and time with other 4-H del­e­ga­tions.

I imag­ine we’ll get a lot of at­ten­tion; ev­ery­one has heard about Ge­or­gia 4-H.

In many states, the bulk of 4-H’ers are from ru­ral ar­eas and par­tic­i­pate in live­stock projects.

They’ll find it hard to be­lieve the Ge­or­gia 4-H’ers with us teach Health Rocks and bul­ly­ing preven­tion. They’ll try to de­scribe Rock Ea­gle 4-H Cen­ter and how it will feel with 1,000 high school­ers a few weeks from now at State 4-H Coun­cil, but most will prob­a­bly think that sounds pretty un­be­liev­able.

The first thing I’m re­ally ex­cited about is Mon­day night’s night light tour of the mon­u­ments.

Through­out the week we’ll get to tour sites from Mt. Ver­non to the Viet­nam Wall.

On that first trip 20 years ago, my strong­est mem­ory is of my dad look­ing for his friend’s name on the wall. On this trip, I look for­ward to see­ing the WWII mon­u­ment for the first time.

We’ll also visit with some of our elected of­fi­cials and get a tour from Rep. Austin’s in­tern and Ge­or­gia 4-H alum Tess Ham­mock.

For both 4-H’ers, this is their first trip to the na­tion’s capi­tol. One said the fur­thest she’s been from home is Ten­nessee; the other vis­ited In­di­ana and Colorado. Nei­ther has been this far on a road trip.

They’ve re­quested to visit the White House (I had no idea you had to re­quest a tour so far in ad­vance) and Smith­so­nian mu­se­ums.

With 19 Smith­so­ni­ans to choose from, we’ve nar­rowed our fa­vorites down to Amer­i­can his­tory and nat­u­ral his­tory.

AJ is also ac­tive with Army JROTC and his lo­cal Sher­iff’s Of­fice Ex­plorer Post, so he’s hop­ing to see any­thing mil­i­tary or law en­force­ment re­lated.

Mostly, we’re all just ex­cited to see the Na­tional 4-H Cen­ter and ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble in DC.

I’m not sure how much ex­tra we’ll be able to cram into our 6 days in town, but no mat­ter what we see or do I’m sure it’s a trip none of us will ever for­get.

Per­haps 20 years from now MaKenzy or AJ will be headed up the high­way as chap­er­ones, talk­ing about their first trip to DC with 4-H.

I just hope they don’t have a flat-tire-in-the-rain story to share with their 4-H’ers! Cross your fin­gers and tune in next week to hear all about our trip.

photo cour­tesy of Metro Cre­ative Con­nec­tion

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