4-H brings ci­ti­zen­ship to life in DC

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

As twi­light faded into a rainy night, we cir­cled the Iwo Jima me­mo­rial in a char­ter bus with Ge­or­gia, Florida and New Mex­ico 4-H mem­bers.

The 4-H Ci­ti­zen­ship Wash­ing­ton Fo­cus pro­gram as­sis­tant read an ac­count of Iwo Jima shared by James Bradley, the son of one of the men de­picted on the statue, as we stared at the me­mo­rial in si­lence.

“…(There) are gen­er­als who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were seven­teen, eigh­teen, and nine­teen years old.”

Boys. Boys like those on our bus—at least half these kids are 17 or older.

Old enough to have fought in World War II; old enough to lie un­der the stones in the ad­ja­cent Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery.

The next night we spent time at the Pen­tagon Me­mo­rial, where the youngest vic­tim on the plane was the same age as our Ge­or­gia del­e­gates—only 3 years old on Septem­ber 11, 2001.

This na­tional 4-H pro­gram pro­vided us a new per­spec­tive to the lessons on ci­ti­zen­ship and lead­er­ship we ex­plored all week through bill writ­ing work­shops, con­gres­sional meet­ings, Wash­ing­ton tours and other hands on learn­ing.

Se­na­tor Saxby Cham­b­liss told our two youth del­e­gates, MaKenzy McCord of New­ton County and AJ Howard of Stephens County, about his first pub­lic speak­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in Ge­or­gia 4-H.

Tess Ham­mock, UGA Col­lege of Agri­cul­tural and En­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ences con­gres­sional agri­cul­tural fel­low for Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Austin Scott, gave us a per­sonal tour of the Capi­tol and talked about how her 4-H ex­pe­ri­ence led to this 12-week paid in­tern­ship.

Aides for Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Doug Collins and Paul Broun treated us to Ge­or­gia peanuts and Coke while dis­cussing the is­sues their of­fices are work­ing on cur­rently, in­clud­ing the agri­cul­tural ap­pro­pri­a­tions bill which was on the floor this week.

We watched a dra­matic pre­sen­ta­tion of Amer­i­can mil­i­tary his­tory on Joint Base Myer-Hen­der­son Hall dur­ing Twi­light Tat­too.

Col­le­giate pro­gram as­sis­tants led dis­cus­sion as we vis­ited me­mo­ri­als for Wash­ing­ton, World War II, Viet­nam, Lin­coln, the Korean War, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jef­fer­son, FDR, Iwo Jima and the Pen­tagon.

We vis­ited Mount Ver­non and the Na­tional Cathe­dral.

Youth wrote bills, held a mock con­gres­sional ses­sion and ex­plored how to cre­ate com­mu­nity ac­tion plans around lo­cal is­sues.

Our del­e­ga­tion saw a con­cert at the Kennedy Cen­ter and ex­plored the Smith­so­nian mu­se­ums for Amer­i­can his­tory, nat­u­ral his­tory and air and sci­ence.

No, we didn’t sleep much the last 8 days at the Na­tional 4-H Youth Con­fer­ence Cen­ter in Chevy Chase, Mary­land.

In fact, both teens are asleep in the back seat as I write this on our way home. Vol­un­teer leader Doug Kim­ble is brav­ing the traf­fic.

I hope our del­e­gates are as thank­ful as I am for vol­un­teers like my dad— half the states at the con­fer­ence couldn’t even find a male chap­er­one.

Nearly 300 youth are headed back to seven states from Florida to New Mex­ico to Ne­braska this weekend, pre­pared to serve our clubs, com­mu­ni­ties, coun­try and world as bet­ter cit­i­zens and lead­ers.

Know a youth who could ben­e­fit from this pro­gram in the next few years? It’s never too early to start sav­ing and get more in­volved in 4-H. E-mail me at tkim­ble@uga.edu.

Bring ci­ti­zen­ship to life, the way the story of a vet­eran brought one me­mo­rial to life for us:

“Sud­denly the mon­u­ment wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag stick­ing out of the top. It came to life be­fore our eyes with the heart­felt words of a son who did in­deed have a fa­ther who was a hero. Maybe not a hero in his own eyes, but a hero nonethe­less.”



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