From January 9-12th, six students from Wood and Wirt County travel ed to the National Youth Summit on AgriScience. The youth-foc used conference was held in Chevy Chase, Maryland at the National 4-H Conference Center. The students were Samantha Burns, Brighton Robinson, and Adeline Sims from Wirt County and Wyatt Eaton, Gracie Kent, and Olivia Mullen from Wood County.
Callie Daugherty, former WVU-Wirt County Extension Service Agent, says, “This conference is a unique experience for youth to experience Washington, D.C. and meet other 4-H’ers from across the Nation. It is a full four-days with activities planned from 7:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. each day. Our 4-H’ers really worked hard and enjoyed the entire conference. They are inspired to bring back what they learned to our community.”
This was the seventh annual National Youth Summit on AgriScience and the second year West Virginia students attended. The conference teaches youth about improving their community through agriculture and science. In addition to many workshops on AgriScience, youth also developed a community action plan, visited Smithsonian Museums and National Monuments, and listened to inspiring speakers. Over 250 youth and adults participated in this year’s conference from 28 different states.
Adeline Sims, 11th grade 4-H member, stated, “I really enjoyed my first trip to D.C. I want to go back! If I wouldn’t have came on the trip, I would have never wanted to visit here.”
The youth from Wirt and Wood County worked together on their community action plan. The plan required youth to identify a problem in their community and come up with a solution. The participants came up with addressing the unique issue of helping children in the community become more independent with their project called “Cooking with Kids.” The target audience for the project is youth who are responsible for preparing their own meals. Participants noted many of their peers go home from school and cook their own dinner because their parents aren’t always home.
Cooking with Kids aims to teach youth how to cook simple, healthy meals using produce that can be grown in home gardens. The 4-H’ers hope to partner with already existing organizations like The Recovery House and the Community Garden in Wirt County and The Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg to make their program successful.
As part of the planning process, the 4-H’ers identified potential challenges to implementing their problem. These barriers included resources, time, money, dedication, transportation, and advertisement. Lindsey Boso, WVU-Wood County Extension Service 4-H Program Assistant, said “The group seemed really interested in completing the project and thought through many of the different aspects to making it successful.”
The National Youth Summit on AgriScience was made possible by the following sponsors: Bayer, CHS Foundation, Microsoft, and ADM. Bayer was the Summit’s main sponsor, providing three scholarships to each conference presenter. Callie Daugherty, former Wirt County Extension Service Agent, was accepted as a presenter for the conference, allowing the three Wirt County participants to attend for free. Local sponsors made it possible for the three Wood County Youth to participate for free, as well. Scholarships were provided by the Wood County 4-H Leaders Association, Wood County Junior Livestock Sale Committee, and the Bubba Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund.