By: Marc Cournoyer
UConn Extension 4-H Program Coordinator
Approximately 100 4-H youth and adults converged on the state Capitol in Hartford on Wednesday, April 15th for the annual state 4-H Citizenship Day. Representing all corners of Connecticut, these individuals came together to meet with legislators, explore our state Capitol, learn a bit more about government and how they can be active citizens in their neighborhoods, communities and throughout the state.
The theme for this year’s event was Living Out the 4th H: The Science of Healthy Living. Youth and adult members of the CT FANs IM 4-H club of New Haven County provided workshop stations where event participants had the opportunity to tune up their physical health by dancing or playing sports using the Nintendo Wii gaming system and record small group videos on iPads about making healthy eating and life choices. They also learned about composting and home gardening skills, as well as, how much sugar is in many of the foods we eat daily. At the conclusion of the workshop sessions everyone had the opportunity to view a video that was created from the many small group efforts and photos from the various workshops. Winners of the state 4-H public speaking contest also gave their presentations to the group assembled.
After a healthy lunch, everyone ventured to the Legislative Office Building where they learned about the history of our state and the buildings that make up our state Capitol. They then had the opportunity to mingle with legislators and staffers from many districts around the state during an ice cream social featuring UConn dairy bar ice cream in the historic Hall of Flags. 4-H members shared poster displays they created about the day’s theme or discussed their 4-H experiences with legislators in attendance. They also delivered ice cream to the governor and lieutenant governor’s offices.
The day concluded with an orientation for 40 youth from throughout Connecticut who will be attending a weeklong national citizenship education program this June in Washington, DC called Citizenship Washington Focus. This national effort is sponsored and facilitated by National 4-H Council and is open to high school aged youth who are leaders in their club and county 4-H programs.
Much thanks goes to the group of 4-H youth and adults who met over the course of fourth months to coordinate the logistics of holding this event. Special thanks also to state legislators and staff who assist every year in securing necessary meeting space and other logistical requirements, and finally Emanuel Lutheran Church who has served as meeting place for this event for many years.