Iowa 4-H Youth Council Begins New Term

AMES, Iowa – Forty-two Iowa youth are beginning their new terms as State 4-H Council members. They were inducted during the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Iowa 4-H Youth Conference on June 30.

These young leaders will serve as ambassadors for the 4-H Youth Development program throughout the state and in their local counties, said Brenda Allen, 4-H youth program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

To be considered for the State 4-H Council, each 4-H’er submitted an application and participated in intensive interviews. Youth then were selected based on their leadership and communication skills, as well as their potential to contribute to the large group.

“The members gain leadership and communication skills, both through training opportunities as well as through their responsibilities as committee chairs and representatives of the council at county and statewide events,” said Allen.

One of the biggest responsibilities of the council is to organize and implement the annual Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. Council members also volunteer at the Iowa State Fair and other statewide 4-H events and visit counties to share information with youth regarding opportunities that go beyond county lines. Another responsibility is to coordinate, promote and oversee the 4-H’ers for 4-H fundraising campaign.

“The State 4-H Council strengthens the 4-H Youth Development program because they are able to connect and share with their peers some of the exciting programs, experiences and information relevant to today’s teens,” Allen said. “They also provide feedback to the state 4-H office so we get a real perspective from current 4-H’ers when implementing programming and making plans for the future.”

Council members attend multiple retreats throughout the year that focus on developing leadership, citizenship and communication and personal life skills, while also providing opportunities to work as a team and to make friends.

“I loved being a part of the State Council because it was like a second family,” said Macy Evans of Union County. “We each had the same opportunity to discover things about ourselves.”

“I enjoyed being a part of State Council because I feel as if I have a second family,” said Megan Nemec of Johnson County. "I chose to join because I wanted to help our state’s 4-H program improve, as well as make a difference in the counties around me."

“4-H empowers one to reach your full potential,” said Jessica Bigelow of Polk County. “Coming back for my second term as a State Council member, I have grown to realize how many life skills I have gained, from leadership to communication and citizenship.”

The State 4-H Council members represent all parts of Iowa. They work to give back to their communities and help 4-H Youth Development best serve the youth of Iowa.

[PHOTO] Council members from central Iowa, from left to right: front row -- Rebecca Osthus, Polk County; second row -- Jessica Bigelow, Polk County, McKenzie von Rentzell, Madison County; third row -- John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, 4-H Youth Development program leader, Hannah McCoy, Warren County, Katie Thompson, Dallas County, Emily Heupel, Green County; fourth row -- Claire Whalen, Boone County, and Hannah Picard, Marion County. Not pictured: Laurel McGonegle, Polk County; Brooklin Border, Webster County; Lauren Mosher, Marshall County; Jenna Woodall, Hamilton County; Landra Jo Reece, Boone County; and Karrigan Mentzer, Webster County.

[PHOTO] Council members from northeast Iowa, from left to right: front row -- Julia Ringhofer, Mitchell County; second row -- John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, 4-H Youth Development program leader, Marissa Foels, Winneshiek County, Cora Fecht, Black Hawk County, Chelsea Boyden, Worth County; third row -- Alex Prestholt, Worth County. Not pictured: Emily Leerhoff, Butler County.

[PHOTO] Council members from northwest Iowa, from left to right: front row -- Brianna Goebel, Carroll County; second row -- Karisa Leinen, Monona County, McKenna Nielsen, Audubon County; third row -- John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, 4-H Youth Development program leader, Fran Conley, Cherokee County, Clare Conley, Cherokee County, Chase Pibal, Calhoun County; fourth row -- Kiley Boeshart, Woodbury County, and Olivia Hanlon, Calhoun County.

[PHOTO] Council members from southeast Iowa, from left to right: front row -- Emily Hora, Washington County; second row -- John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, 4-H Youth Development program leader, Renee Kerr, Muscatine County, Kylie Holubar, Johnson County; Megan Nemec, Johnson County; third row -- Joy Westercamp, Van Buren County. Not pictured: Jack Carter, Washington County, and Kristen Twinam, Washington County.

[PHOTO] Council members from southwest Iowa, from left to right: front row -- Allison Hadley, Union County; second row -- John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas, 4-H Youth Development program leader, Karly Smith, Pottawattamie County, Macy Evans, Union County, Zach Mass, Mills County; third row -- Ben Hennessy, Harrison County. Not pictured: Noah Heckman, Clarke County and Skylar Rawlings, Adair County.