HARRISBURG - Local youth were among 88 4-H'ers from 38 counties across the state who met in Harrisburg recently for the annual Pennsylvania 4-H Capital Days program. Capital Days is a citizenship-awareness and civic-engagement educational program held by Pennsylvania 4-H. Attending from Juniata County were Makayla Reid and Jensen Swartz, both of Port Royal.
4-H Capital Days is designed to engage 4-H'ers in the political process and prepare them to become active and engaged citizens of Pennsylvania. Youth learn about governmental issues and the political process; how to advocate and speak out about issues that affects them, their families and their communities; and gain valuable leadership and citizenship skills.
"Fifty years of reaching Pennsylvania's youth during 4-H Capital Days has been a real milestone for the 4-H program," said Christy Barley, 4-H program leader for Penn State Extension, which administers 4-H in Pennsylvania "Citizenship is a national 4-H mission mandate, and civic engagement is a core 4-H value. Programs like this prepare our youth to be actively involved in the affairs of their communities."
From left, Jensen Swartz, State Representative C. Adam Harris, and Makayla Reid meet during the recent Pennsylvania 4-H Capital Days program in Harrisburg.
Delegates participated in workshops on parliamentary procedure, party roles and affiliations, advocacy, etiquette, and community service. They also learned how to read and debate a bill and participated in a mock legislative session. Each year, bills that are currently under debate in the General Assembly are chosen, and this year the bill addressed neighborhood watch groups.
Delegates also toured the Capitol and had their photographs taken on the rotunda steps. State Secretary of Agriculture George Greig addressed the group after the tour. Following the visit to the Capitol, the delegates visited the State Museum of Pennsylvania, where they explored the various exhibits and displays.
On the last day, the 4-H'ers hosed a brunch for their state legislators. During the brunch, delegates talked with their legislators one-on-one and related their 4-H experiences. In addition, three former 4-H'ers told their own 4-H stories: Eric Cowden, community outreach manager for the Marcellus Shale Coalition; Liz McAndrew, sophomore Animal Science major at Penn State: and
Ashely Shaw, senior agribusiness major at Delaware Valley College.
Additional speakers included Bartley; Barbara Christ, interim dean of Penn State's College of Ag Sciences; Mark Lowery, dairy and livestock marketing specialist for New Holland North America; Lyndsey Royek, credit analyst for AgChoice Farm Credit; and Zachary Swartz, associate with McDermott Will & Emery LLP.