Watch What Happens
National 4‑H Conference delegates engage in personal development experiences that increase their knowledge, resources, and skills while they discuss topics affecting youth and 4‑H programming nationwide.
Delegates not only learn while at the conference: they are empowered to create positive social change in their communities and have the opportunity to practice and apply their skills in a real-world setting.
Already preparing for the 2018 National 4‑H Conference? The conference dates are April 7 - 12, 2018.
About the National 4‑H Conference
Land Grant University 4‑H Departments send a delegation size of their choice to participate in the conference. The selection and registration process is up to each Land Grant University 4‑H Department.
Youth delegates must be between ages 15 (by January 1 of the conference year) and 19 years old.
The delegates choose an important societal topic and in round table groups prepare a briefing. During the conference, the groups present their briefing to federal officials around the Washington, D.C. area.
- Learn – Provide youth a broad- based learning experience in which they will acquire practical knowledge and skills to reinforce the attitudes and motivation that will give them a heightened sense of responsibility and capacity to connect as active members of their communities, nation and world.
- Practice – Engage youth in hands-on educational activities in which they explore, practice and master existing and newly developed skills/knowledge in civic engagement, civic education and personal development.
- Apply – Facilitate direct opportunities for youth to apply what was learned in real world experiences in which they develop leadership skills using their voices, work, ideas and/or behavior to make a difference in their community, country and world.
National 4‑H Conference Logic Model
The National 4‑H Conference Logic Model stems from the Citizenship Mission Mandate logic models. National 4‑H Conference is specifically focused on civic engagement, civic education, and personal development.
Delegates arrive at the National 4‑H Conference Center ready to connect, learn, engage, lead and impact their communities, their nation and their world.
The National 4‑H Conference is administered by 4‑H National Headquarters of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
This experience upholds a tradition dating back to 1927. Known then as the “National 4‑H Club Camp”, delegates slept in tents on the grounds of the National Mall in front of the USDA in Washington, DC. The camp served to develop the next generation of leaders. Delegates attended training workshops, became acquainted with government and had the opportunity to meet with state leaders.
In 1958, the event name was changed to National 4‑H Conference and, in 1959, the meeting moved from the National Mall to the newly founded National 4‑H Center in Chevy Chase, MD (right outside of Washington, D.C.).
Preparing for Conference
National 4‑H Conference is a working conference – and the work begins before delegates arrive. There are two areas delegates should be educated about to prepare for the conference; their round table topic and information about 4‑H.
At the conference Youth Delegates explore current issues affecting youth and the role 4‑H can play in addressing those issues. Each youth chooses their topic before they arrive for conference. During the conference, youth develop a presentation on their findings/discussions to share with a federal agency’s key decision makers.
Delegates must study the roundtable topic information sent to them by National 4‑H Conference. They can also research their topic within their state. This preparation allows them to jump into the topic discussion and bring perspective from their state.
Delegates have the opportunity to choose roundtable briefing topics as part of the registration process. View 2016 Roundtable Topics.
Information About 4‑H
Delegates should be well informed about their local 4‑H program, local/state 4‑H demographics, 4‑H programming within the state, the role of Cooperative Extension and the land-grant university in 4‑H, and most importantly, the basic history and structure of 4‑H.
Selection of Youth Delegates
4‑H National Headquarters extends an invitation on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture, to the more than 100 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities across the U.S. and U.S. Territories to send a delegation to the National 4‑H Conference. Each land-grant institution has a process by which it selects delegates to represent their 4‑H program at the National 4‑H Conference. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a delegate, contact your land-grant college or university’s State 4‑H Program Office.
Each delegate to the National 4‑H Conference will need to be registered for the conference. Each land-grant institution has a designated conference delegation coordinator who manages the registration process for their delegation. Completed and signed forms should be returned to the delegation coordinator at the State 4‑H Program Office. Delegation Coordinators will process individual registration as part of the state delegation.
Find more information on how to register and appropriate forms, on the registration page.
Delegation Adult Advisors
Delegation Adult Advisors are valuable participants in National 4‑H Conference and Youth-Adult Partnerships are essential to a successful conference.
Delegation Adult Advisors must be at least 25 years old or Extension Staff professionals. Adult volunteers should be selected by their respective land-grant institution 4‑H Program Office and meet their 4‑H program’s chaperoning requirements. All chaperones are required to go through the eXtension online chaperone training (password is N4HRM) or a chaperone training provided by your state/LGU. You are encouraged to participate in a pre-conference webinar.
Delegation Adult Advisors assume a myriad of responsibilities in conjunction with National 4‑H Conference. Some of them include:
- Ensure the health and safety of their state delegates, as well as all youth delegates.
- Be informed about any delegates’ special needs and communicate special needs as appropriate.
- Serve as the “adult voice” and provide guidance to all youth delegates at all times.
Before the Conference
- Be familiar with the Conference Handbook
- Complete the chaperone training specified above and participate in the pre-conference webinar
- Assist delegates with conference pre-work which will include preparing for round table topics and Capitol Hill Day visits
- Review the delegate and conference program/schedule with delegates
- Assist with coordinating delegates’ travel to and from National 4‑H Conference
- Attend all conference events as a full-time conference delegate, including special events
- Manage registration and check-in/check-out for their delegation
- Participate in the Adult Advisor orientation. Adult Advisor workshops are optional, but encouraged
- Check in with the Conference Office as needed
- Facilitate meetings with their delegations during designated time, including reviewing the next day’s program, talking about work done in delegate round tables, and planning for application of skills learned when youth have returned home
- Escort delegates to appropriate bus/transportation loading areas and follow procedures for boarding delegations, as necessary
- Report emergencies to Conference staff as needed
- Enforce the dress code
- Address Code of Conduct violations and are prepared to send delegates home early if necessary
- If ill, arrange for another delegation adult advisor to supervise your youth delegates and report this to Conference staff
- Escort delegates during “Day on the Town” in Washington, D.C.
If you have questions contact National 4‑H Conference at 202-720-6962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Leadership Team
Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 National 4‑H Conference Youth Leadership Team. The deadline to apply is October 10, 2016. Refer to the YLT Application Form, YLT Recommendation Form and YLT Information Sheet in the Resources section below.
College students can apply to be a new facilitator, a returning facilitator or the lead facilitator. One Cooperative Extension faculty member is also recruited to serve as the facilitator adult advisor. Details and application materials for the upcoming 2017 conference will be posted here in August 2016.
2017 Facilitator Adult Advisors
Facilitator Adult Advisor application available below under “Resources.”
Jim Kahler – USDA-NIFA- 4‑H
Sekai Turner – North Carolina A&T State University
2017 Roundtable Facilitators
Roundtable Facilitator application available below under “Resources.”
2016 Roundtable Topics
- Analyzing Climate – NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Agency)
- Importance of Agriculture – House/USDA (U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture / United States Department of Agriculture Administration)
- Backyard Farming – NIFA (National Institute of Food & Agriculture)
- Food Networks – EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Bioenergy – DOE (Dept. of Energy)
- Irrigation Options – NRCS (Natural Resources & Conservation Service)
- Climate Change – NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association)
- Disaster Health Impacts – ASPR (Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response at Health & Human Services)
- Emotional Safety – SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration)
- Strengthening Communities – CNCS (Corporation for National and Community Service)
- Fitness – PCFSN (President’s Council on Fitness, Sport & Nutrition)
- Plan & Save – DOL (Department of Labor)
- College Ready – ED (Department of Education)
- Business Training– SBA (Small Business Association)
- Choosing Peace – State (Department of State)
Typical National 4‑H Conference Schedule
- Arrive late in the day
- Opening Ceremony
- Social Activity
- Motivational Keynote Speaker
- Multiple Round Table Sessions
- Skill Building Workshops
- Cultural Entertainment
- Special Guest Speaker from the Federal Government
- Multiple Round Table Sessions
- Skill Building Workshop
- Briefing Rehearsal
- Team Building Social Activity
- Briefing Preparation
- Briefing Presentations at Federal Agencies
- Monument Tours
- State Delegations Make Capitol Hill Visits
- State Delegations Tour the National Mall
- Closing activity and Dance
- Return Home
Taking It Home
Empowering and mobilizing 4‑H youth to create positive social change in their communities in a meaningful and genuine way.
As a National 4‑H Conference delegate, we expect you to spend time prior to, during, and after Conference planning, implementing, and evaluating an idea/program that you would like to work on back in your local community or state. The following resources are designed to assist you and your adult partner in the process.
Resources to Assist Adult Partners in Understanding Civic Engagement
Note: These resources have been recommended by various 4‑H staff across the country. Inclusion in this list does not constitute any endorsement of these resources by 4‑H National Headquarters.
The Forum for Youth Investment
Center for Disease Control
University of Minnesota Center for Youth Development
Registration to attend the National 4‑H Conference is coordinated through each state’s 4‑H program office. Youth and adult participants are selected by their respective state 4‑H program and attend the conference as part of a group delegation. NO individual registrations are accepted.
Payments and Fees
General Registration Fees 2017
The following feeds are estimates based on 2016 registration costs.
- Youth Delegates – $835
- Delegation Adult Advisors – $935
- Late Fee – $50 per adult or youth (see below for details)
*Actual registration fees to be confirmed by November 2016.
Registration rates include lodging*, meals (except Wed evening dinner and meals during travel), conference activities and materials. Room check-in: 3:00 pm; check-out: 11:00 am.
Each participant, youth and/or adult, registering after the regular registration deadline will be assessed a $50 late fee. Registration after the final deadline will not be accepted.
Payment methods include P.O.; credit card (Visa, MasterCard and Discover); and check.
If a member of your delegation is unable to attend, you must send an email cancellation notice to email@example.com no later than the regular registration deadline for a full refund. If your cancellation notice is received after cancellation date there is no refund.
For questions contact National 4‑H Conference at 202-690-1227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Extended Stay Lodging
A special lodging rate is available to delegations extending their visit to Washington, DC beyond the general conference dates. This special “extended stay” lodging rate is being provided outside of the conference room block. Therefore, based on group bookings/room availability, participants may be subject to change rooms on the applicable nights.
2017 lodging rates for extended stay:
- Occupancy rates to be provided in November 2016
- Meals are available at the conference center if the café is already open, check for availability
- Delegations are responsible for their own activities, costs, transportation, etc., outside of the general conference dates and are not accountable to National 4‑H Conference.
- Delegations must ensure youth delegates are appropriately chaperoned.
- Payment only accepted via a check, cash or credit card, no purchase orders will be accepted.
- Extended stay lodging reservations and payment must be made directly with the National 4‑H Conference Center – contact Mary Ann McCoy at (301) 961-2843 or email@example.com.