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Teens from the WSU King County 4-H Program visit Olympia | Know Your Government Conference

WSU King County 4-H trained and sent eleven young delegates to Olympia Feb. 18 through 21 for the 2012 Know Your Government Conference. From left to right are: David Frothingham, Brendan Wiens, Naomi Musgrave, Chris Sechrist, Maranda Butterfield, Jordyn Anderson, Gabriella Sechrist, Kelsey Messecar, Katie Miotke, Magaret Edwards  - Courtesy photo
WSU King County 4-H trained and sent eleven young delegates to Olympia Feb. 18 through 21 for the 2012 Know Your Government Conference. From left to right are: David Frothingham, Brendan Wiens, Naomi Musgrave, Chris Sechrist, Maranda Butterfield, Jordyn Anderson, Gabriella Sechrist, Kelsey Messecar, Katie Miotke, Magaret Edwards
— image credit: Courtesy photo

WSU King County 4-H trained and sent eleven young delegates to Olympia Feb. 18 through 21 for the 2012 Know Your Government Conference, also known as KYG, under the WSU 4-H Youth Development Program.

This annual state-wide conference is designed to connect youth with our political and government process by providing hands-on learning experiences for teens from every county via a mock, non-partisan, political party convention.  Each year KYG focuses on a specific aspect of government. This year the conference, which was sponsored by Chevron and Microsoft, focused on political elections and the media.

Each county brings a team of teenage delegates, a teen candidate for governor, and a set of positions (a.k.a. planks) the teens have developed on key issues currently facing our state. During the conference, the teens from all Washington State counties select a single teen candidate for Washington governor and work in committees to develop state-wide party planks on each current issue. This year the planks were on education, immigration, health care, environment, safety and security, economy, election reform, and energy.  After the conference, a booklet that presents the elected teen candidate and the finalized party platform is assembled and delivered to each Washington State Legislator.

Eleven teen representatives from King County spent their Sundays in January to attend two training sessions and worked between each session to prepare for the conference.  They formed a team of policy developers who put together King County planks on each issue.  They chose seventeen-year-old Chris Sechrist, who is in 4-H family living, leadership, sheep, poultry, and dog projects, to be the King County candidate for governor and they formed a campaign team with speech writers and campaign managers to support his election. Chris didn't make it into the top ten so, his team decided to back another candidate from Lincoln County with only four 4-H delegates including himself. The King County team transferred all of their resources to him and spent hours of their free time working to get him elected. He made it into the top three. While the Lincoln County candidate didn't ultimately win, he was very proud of his accomplishments and made some wonderful friends from King County.

WSU 4-H members in King County were awarded the Chevron Community Service Award Monday night during KYG for the wonderful “Christmas at the Farm” event they’ve held annually.  The December 2011 event, which won’t be held again unless King County decides to add WSU 4-H back into their budget, showcased various 4-H projects, offered pony rides, hosted a petting zoo, provided craft activities, and included a visit from Santa for roughly 50 homeless children from Hope Place, a Union Gospel Mission shelter in Seattle. The 4-H kids also held a warm coat drive that generated 20 large bags of coats, as well as gloves, scarves, and hand-knitted hats. Members of WSU King County 4-H ensured the families had a great time with Teen Leaders for Tomorrow and Family Living 4-H members cooking lunch.

The annual KYG event, only one of many WSU 4-H opportunities, provides a wonderful way for our teenagers to practice and use critical thinking, problem-solving, decision making, goal-setting, and public-speaking skills.  In fact, while in Olympia King County delegates Katie Miotke from Issaquah, Brendan Wiems from Carbonado, and Maranda Butterfield from Enumclaw testified at the State hearing for a proposed 4-H license plate.  4-H, which is the largest youth development programs in the United States, is founded in interest-driven projects to keep youth engaged.  A network of trained adult volunteers have been providing real-life, skill-building experiences and research-based, educational programs in leadership, citizenship, science, engineering, and technology to more than 10,000 urban, suburban, and rural youth in King County alone.  Throughout the state children ages 8 to 19 are involved in WSU 4-H organized clubs, special interest groups, school programs, and short-term projects.

This is may be the last year King County youth will be included because it is our county government system that has stopped funding the 4-H Youth Development Program, which was jointly operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington State University's Extension Program and King County Government until King County eliminated it from the 2012 budget.  WSU is temporarily funding the program in King County so members can finish their year.  Shutdown activities are underway and scheduled to be completed by September 30th.  This is hard for those familiar with the program to understand since the WSU 4-H Program, primarily delivered by trained adult volunteers, is low-cost* for King County and since Dow Constantine stated that “King County is back on sound financial footing” and that “we are no longer forced to drastically slash services, year after year” in his February 6th State of the County address.

 

Name

Home Town

4-H Projects

Chris Sechrist

Enumclaw

Leadership, KYG, Dog, Family Living, Poultry, Sheep

David Frothingham

Seattle

KYG, Robotics, Family Living

Margaret Edwards

Sammamish

KYG, Cavies

Katie Miotke

Issaquah

KYG, Cavies

Jordyn Anderson

Maple Valley

KYG, Cavies, Dog

Gabriella Sechrist

Enumclaw

Leadership, KYG, Dog, Family Living

Kelsey Messecar

Auburn

KYG, Dog

Naomi Musgrave

Renton

KYG, Leadership

Maranda Butterfield

Enumclaw

Leadership, KYG, Llama, Performing Arts, Family Living

Brendan Wiens

Carbonado

Leadership, KYG, Cat

Steven Johnson

Kent

Leadership, KYG, Dog, Photography

 

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