4-H Youth in Action: Learning Citizenship through CWF

By Lexie Lerblance September 28, 2016

The Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) trip is almost a rite of passage for the older 4‑H members in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, or at least it felt that way to me. Many of my 4‑H role models and friends were older than me and therefore got to go on the CWF trip years before I could. This summer was (finally) my turn! For Oklahoma delegates, CWF is a ten-day bus trip—four days traveling and five days in Washington, D.C.

On the way to D.C., we stopped in Gettysburg, Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We had the opportunity to learn about historical events that happened in each city that helped shape our country, and we also had the chance to see and experience things as they were two hundred years ago. Our time in Washington, D.C. was action packed. Personally, I’ve traveled to D.C. a few times before going on CWF, but I had never experienced anything like this. It’s more than just a tourist trip.

On the trip, we toured monuments and memorials, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, and the National Cathedral. At each of these places, we learned more than just facts and figures. We learned why each memorial and monument was created and who they honor. We toured George Washington’s home and walked around the grounds as he would have. We visited the graves of the Kennedy brothers and witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We found a 4‑H clover and a piece of lunar rock in the stained glass windows of the National Cathedral.

My favorite parts of CWF were touring and learning about the monuments/memorials and seeing the other delegates’ reactions to all of the places we went to. Even though we had late nights and early mornings, I loved how excited the Oklahoma delegation was to learn something new each day.

When we weren’t touring, we were at the National 4‑H Conference Center learning about what it means to be a good citizen and a good leader. We learned about how our government works and how bills are passed in workshops, and then we got to experience United States government first hand during our time on Capitol Hill.

Being a delegate on this year’s CWF trip has given me a greater appreciation for history. I’m more aware of little things that had a helping hand in shaping this country. I also learned things like the properties of a good citizen: being respectful, up-to-date on current issues, obeying the law, being patriotic, etc. Being a good citizen is important, and going on this trip has taught me how to be one. While the trip was educational, it was also extremely fun! I met so many new people. 10/10 would recommend.

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