A Pratt County 4-H member was selected to participate in what is described as the pinnacle experience in 4-H citizenship. Taylor DeWeese, 17, submitted an application, was chosen for an interview, and as a result, was one of six Kansas delegates to the National 4-H Conference April 6-11 in Washington, D.C.
There was plenty of time for sightseeing, entertainment and fun activities, but the event is designed as a working conference. Delegates were expected to complete "homework" in preparation for round-table discussions and presentation. DeWeese was a member of a round-table focusing on 4-H'ers role in global climate change mitigation — she simplified the topic to energy efficiency. The group met at least twice a day during the conference to prepare a presentation for officials of the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency. The recommended promoting energy efficiency to young people via Facebook and Twitter.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made a presentation to the youth, stressing the need to "step up" and take responsibility. Delegates also had the opportunity to meet with their state representatives in Washington.
The Kansas group flew from Wichita with an adult chaperone on April 4, arriving a couple of days early to give more time for sightseeing. DeWeese admitted she was a little nervous about her first flight, but it went well. She's still catching up on one subject at school, after missing a week of classes.
National 4-H Conference delegates become members of the State 4-H Youth Leadership Council, with responsibilities for helping with three major state events: Citizenship in Action, held each year in Topeka, a camp-ference that is a transition between camping and conference for middle school youth and a Kansas Youth Leadership Forum. In addition, each of the four K-State Research and Extension areas holds its own leadership forum, so DeWeese will be a member of the planning committee for the southwest area.
She is the daughter of Jerry and Anita DeWeese, rural Pratt.