When you hear “CWF” or see youth walking down the streets of D.C. with “CWF” plastered on their shirts or around their necks, maybe you think it means Cats Will Fly or even Chicken Waste Flavor. Really, it stands for Citizenship Washington Focus. CWF is a week-long congregation of hundreds of 4‑H’ers meeting in our nation’s capital to discuss and promote the things that really matter. Citizenship reflects the role we play as citizens. During the week, we work to become involved members of the community by discussing problems our society faces. Washington represents the district where we all come together. Focus represents the devotion and realizing what government means to each of us.
Imagine this, you just found out that you are able to attend this fantastic experience known as Citizenship Washington Focus. However, as the weeks draw closer, feelings run rampant inside your mind. Excitement, nervousness and hope for going on new adventures and diving into somewhere new. Wait, wait, nervousness? What? Who’s nervous? If you silently just said ‘me’ to yourself, this blog post will decrease your harbored fears. Nervousness is a feeling that should be the least of your worries so you can just focus on the fun.
- Ok, so we do have one suggestion about packing clothes and belongings. We know everyone packs all their nice clothes that are probably not the most comfortable. Looking good is important for making that first impression, but by the time the day is over and you get back to the room, you’ll have wished you packed those over-worn sweatpants and baggy pajama shirts.
- Be prepared (or thankful) that you will have a full week of not having to explain to others what 4‑H is, what you do, or how much it means to you (at least to many of your fellow delegates). You will have amazing opportunities to explain 4‑H and leave a lasting impression on congressmen and women of the government.
- CAPTURE THE MEMORIES! It’s easy for time to fly while you are here, but not everyone you talk to is here with you. When you’re back home you’ll want to visually show everyone what fun you had (and perhaps make them jealous). So, save room on your phones for pictures, safety pack those cameras, and get those charger packs to last the whole day. A helpful tip is to take AS MANY pictures as you can. It’s better to get a few blurry ones in there than to not have any photos of one of the beautiful places you were able to visit.
- Worried about the condition of the rooms that you will be in at the National 4‑H Conference Center? Have no fear! The rooms are super nice! They have two bunk beds with sheets, blankets, a closet, TV, full bathrooms and nice pillows.
- Take care of yourself! Remember to take your medication no matter how much fun you’re having. Drink water, lots and lots of water! Bring that sunscreen, because the sun in D.C. is nice and hot in the summer.
- Prepare yourself to meet a panoply of 4‑H’ers. There’s going to be youth from all over the nation. Instead of laughing at the differences, take advantage of all of the new things you can learn. Everyone back home will think you are a travel guru when you can list off facts about other states that you could have only learned from the locals. For example, Wisconsin’s production of cheese and cheese curds is no joke. Also, New Jersey’s favorite breakfast meat is pork roll (at least according to the delegates at CWF from New Jersey). Did you know that bubblers are water fountains and some Americans call soda ‘pop’?
Take note of these helpful hints and reach out to others if you are still nervous. Your parents, chaperones, 4‑H Leaders, and other youth can help you have the best week ever at CWF. It’s a one-of-a-kind coming of age experience. You’ll come out a more knowledgeable citizen of your club, your community, your country, and your world. After all, 4‑H does make the best better.