Garfield County Cooperative Extension

4-H'ers get first-hand look at Oklahoma government in action

Trisha Gedon Agricultural Communications Oklahoma State University

STILLWATER, Okla. – A group of 136 Oklahoma 4-H’ers gathered recently in Oklahoma City and got a first-hand look at the governmental processes of the state.

The delegation, representing 55 counties, gathered recently to take part in the 20th Annual 4-H Day at the Capitol, including Madison Deeds, Garber 4-H Club, and Morgan Messall, Drummond 4-H Club.

Cathy Allen, 4-H curriculum coordinator at the State 4-H Office on the Oklahoma State University campus, said this year’s theme was 4-H Grows Here and participants had an opportunity not only to learn more about the state’s governmental processes, but also to inform legislators about the positive impact 4-H has on Oklahoma youth and what it inspires to grow in every county across the state.

Thomas Coon, vice president for agricultural programs at OSU, said 4-H Day at the Capitol is a great learning opportunity for club members.

“Participating in 4-H Day at the Capitol is a great opportunity to see people in a serving role,” Coon said. “Being in 4-H is a way to learn what it means to be of service.”

Jim Reece, secretary and commissioner of agriculture, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, addressed the group and encouraged them to stay active and involved in 4-H.

“You will progress through different leadership roles in your life, and one of these days, it will be you out there as the ones who are leading this state,” Reese said.

While at the Capitol, the 4-H’ers had an opportunity to meet one-on-one and eat lunch with their respective senators and representatives and share their 4-H stories.

“They talked about the positive impact 4-H has on them personally, as well as on their communities,” Allen said. “This is such a great opportunity for our state’s leaders to hear firsthand what a positive impact 4-H continues to have on our youth.”

Rep. R. C. Pruett, Dist. 19, said he has served in his leadership role for 12 years and has been fortunate to participate every year in 4-H Day at the Capitol.

“I’m always extremely impressed with the leadership and communication skills these kids have,” Pruett said.

The group met with Gov. Mary Fallin and posed for a group photo. A proclamation declaring April 6 as Oklahoma 4-H Day at the Capitol was read in both the House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers.

While visiting both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Steven Baringer, president of the State 4-H Leadership Council, and Tsion Abebaw, a 4-H’er from Langston, Oklahoma, spoke to the legislators on behalf of the nearly 225,000 Oklahoma youth who were reached by 4-H last year.

“This is my fifth time to participate in 4-H Day at the Capitol, but I learn something new each time.” Baringer said. “I hope everyone goes home with a sense of pride that they played a part in our state’s legislative process. And I hope all of the participants stay involved in 4-H and go back to their communities and find an opportunity to take on leadership roles and make a difference.” 

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: eeo@okstate.edu has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

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