North Dakota: 4-H Leadership Awareness Weekend a Success
Youth participated in parliamentary procedure activities, break-out sessions and a service project, and met state and local leaders.
This year’s Leadership Awareness Weekend (LAW), a statewide 4-H civic engagement event, was a worthwhile experience for several North Dakota youth.
“4-H LAW is a wonderful opportunity for youth to make new friends, learn how to become a strong leader and become more connected with our government,” says 4-H’er Marie Kraemer of Grand Forks.
She was among youth from 12 counties who participated in parliamentary procedure activities, break-out sessions and a service project, and met state and local leaders during the recent three-day program, which North Dakota State University Extension’s Center for 4-H Youth Development organizes.
“One thing that stands out to me each time I attend 4-H LAW is the wonderful opportunity to spend the day at the Capitol,” Kraemer says. “While we were there, we met the North Dakota governor and several legislators, as well as sat on the floor as a legislator’s guest.”
4-H’er David Crain of McKenzie County says of his legislative experience: “I learned so much and loved sitting with my representative since I knew him.”
During LAW, teams of youth also participated in a parliamentary procedure contest. The Foster County team took home the traveling gavel. The teams from Oliver and Grand Forks counties placed second and third, respectively.
“The main focus of the 4-H Leadership Awareness Weekend this year was learning about parliamentary procedure, which I believe every individual should learn and understand,” Kraemer says.
Youth also participated in team-building activities and breakout sessions on topics that included leadership etiquette and vision boards. Dawn Thomsen, chaperone for a group of youth from Barnes County, reports that the youth thoroughly enjoyed LAW.
Other LAW activities included a charcoal-illustrated North Dakota history lesson from Fargo artist Steve Stark; local government and legislative panels; and information from North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Lisa Fair McEvers on careers and opportunities for youth today and in the future.
“While attending the LAW program, I was able to connect with both local and state politicians by asking questions and getting to know our representatives personally,” 4-H’er Faith Vasicek of Pembina County says. “I was also able to meet people from all around our state who had similar interest in government as me.”
In addition, LAW youth made blankets for the LEO’s (Law Enforcement Officers) Blanket Project.
“This project was started by youth in Montana as part of a Family, Career and Community Leaders of America project,” says Amelia Doll, an NDSU Extension agent in Burleigh County who coordinated the community service project during LAW. “Thirty-two blankets were handed off to the Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department to find their new homes from the back of officers’ vehicles when officers are called out and there is a child involved in accidents or even domestic situations.”
Visit the Center for 4-H Youth Development’s website at https://tinyurl.com/NDSU4-H-LAW to learn more about the LAW program.