STATE—On April 1, 2 and 3 this year, three members of Wayne County's 4-H program traveled to Harrisburg for the annual Pennsylvania 4-H Capital Days program.
According to a release from the Penn State Extension, Capital Days is a “citizenship-awareness and civic-engagement” program designed to educate its participants on the political process and all its nuance.
This year, Bethany Club member Carmen Rutledge, Creamton Area Ag Club member Amy Gaudagno and Brianna Metschulat from the Explorers Club were part of the 133 state-wide participants in the program.
“Going to Capital Days with 4H was a memorable experience,” stated Metschulat.
“Learning how a bill is debated upon and amended was very interesting. It helped me understand the legislative process better.
I was also able to meet other 4-H members from across the state and reconnect with a few I met at other 4-H State events I have attended in the past.
Overall it was a great experience and I would recommend it for other 4-H members.”
While attending the event, Rutledge stated she “learned how the state and the local government work, how laws are passed, and how the senate, and the House of Representatives work.
I also got to meet with my local representatives! I met with Representative Jonathan Fritz, and Representative Mike Peifer as well as Senator Lisa Baker’s assistant Chris Ramsey.
Capital Days was a great experience that I would recommend to any 4-H member that is considering going in the future.”
Guadagno described it as “an incredible experience.”
She added “From the tour of the Capital to the brunch with Pennsylvania’s legislators, there were so many opportunities for me to learn, and to have fun.
Among the things I learned about were how to read a bill, how to use social media to spread awareness for a cause, and the rich history of Harrisburg.
Next year, I plan to return to this event.”
Penn State Extension 4-H Educator Jessica Scull explained that the delegates chosen to go each year are each an “outstanding member in the club and program.”
Scull stated the attendees are chosen due to their commitment to the community, their involvement in the club and in the county and their years of service in 4-H.
They are also members of the Teen Council, said Scull.
According to a release, the delegates were treated to a tour of the House and Senate floors led by Senator Scott Hutchinson (R-21) and a speech by Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding.
Redding told of his son's experience with the club and the benefits he reaped from it.
Perry County 4-H'er Lorelei McIntyre-Brewer received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Humanitarian Award at the brunch held on the group's last day in Harrisburg.
McIntyre-Brewer was lauded for her efforts in creating the “Heart Hugs” organization wherein she makes compression heart pillows for pediatric cardiac patients.
She spoke to the other delegate, encouraging them to get more involved in their government activities as a means of helping their communities.
The release states McIntyre-Brewer's mother also addressed the room and challenged the 4-H'ers to “find something they care about and make a difference.”
—Information from a release was used in this story.