AMES, Iowa — In June, 300 youth delegates gathered at Iowa State University for the 2022 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, themed “Building the Future.” Teens from across the state came to the Iowa State campus for three days filled with speakers, workshops, mixers, dances, special events and civic engagement activities.
Young people who attended the June 28-30 conference immersed themselves in their passions, discovered career opportunities and learned about life on a college campus while meeting other young people from across the state. Delegates participated in educational workshops, heard from several keynote speakers, showcased 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 lab, exploring processed meat products in the meat lab, design architecture, research diseases at the Veterinary College, learn about mental and emotional health and much more.
“The conference is hosted by the State 4-H Council, a group of high school youth motivated by leadership,” said Haley Jones, conference coordinator and 4-H youth program specialist. “Everything from the theme, keynote speakers, service plan, banquet entertainment and schedule of events is determined by the members of the State 4-H Council. 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 because 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 wellness session focused on stress management and goal setting, and learned about another country and his culture.
State 4-H Council member Josie Burkett, Madison County, attended the conference as a young 4-H member, when she enjoyed the event as a participant. Now, as a board member, “it was an amazing experience to be able to plan and host the event!” said Burkett. “I loved seeing the young participants enjoy the activities the State 4-H Council has put so much time and effort into. I also learned how to effectively lead and engage large groups of people while building professional and personal relationships. »
The Iowa 4-H Youth Conference welcomed two keynote speakers to the Stephens Auditorium stage to address delegates around the theme, “Building the Future.” Kansas City Chiefs (KC Wolf) mascot Dan Meers opened the conference with a motivational message about pursuing your goals. Former Black Hawk helicopter pilot Elizabeth McCormick spoke about the challenges. Noah Sonie provided mentalist/hypnosis entertainment for the delegation at the official banquet.
Youth who have completed eighth grade through those 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 welcome 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 about the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/4h/iowa4hyouthconference.
- State 4-H Council: Members of the 2021-2022 State 4-H Council planned and facilitated the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference.
- STEM Workshop: Iowa 4-H Youth Conference attendees participate in an educational STEM workshop.