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Local 4-H’ers meet with state legislators

STILLWATER — For 18 years, Oklahoma 4-H’ers have had an opportunity to tell their 4-H story at the state Capitol. This year was no different.

More than 100 club members and Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension educators from across the state, including Sadie Hainzinger of Ponca City, took part in the 18th Annual 4-H Day at the Capitol in Oklahoma City. Hainzinger is a member of the Braden 4-H Club.

Sen. Eddie Fields spoke to the group upon their arrival at the Capitol.

“As a former 4-H’er, I got to meet people from all across Oklahoma and other states,” Fields said. “Those connections are still important to me, and the connections you make with others will be important for you later on. 4-H is important because it provides you with opportunities to shape your mind and your future. It gives you the keys to be successful.”

Also a former 4-H’er, Rep. Dale DeWitt said he is very appreciative of all the opportunities offered to him through 4-H.

“It’s always a great day when young people visit the Capitol,” DeWitt said as he addressed the group. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for 4-H. Please take advantage of all leadership opportunities available to you through 4-H.”

Cathy Allen, 4-H curriculum coordinator at the State 4-H Office, said the delegates enjoyed meeting one-on-one with their respective senators and representatives.

“Our 4-H’ers had the opportunity to eat lunch with their senators and representatives and share their 4-H story,” Allen said. “They talked about the positive impact 4-H has on them personally, as well as on their communities. This year, because the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service is celebrating its centennial, our club members also discussed the impact Extension has had on the people of Oklahoma for the past 100 years. Some of our state’s leaders weren’t 4-H’ers growing up, so this one-on-one time with them is perfect to help them gain a better understanding of this great youth organization.”

Allen said she always receives positive feedback from the legislators about how well-spoken and knowledgeable Oklahoma 4-H’ers are and what an obvious positive impact 4-H has on Oklahoma’s youth.

The group met with Gov. Mary Fallin and posed for a group photo. A proclamation declaring April 1 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, Mary Michelle Boyles, a member of the Langston 4-H SET Club, and Ricki Schroeder, who currently is serving as president of the state 4-H leadership council, spoke to the legislators on behalf of the nearly 225,000 Oklahoma youth who were reached by 4-H last year. Boyles is a junior at Coyle High School, and Schroeder is a freshman at OSU.

“Visiting the Capitol and meeting a legislator is an experience our 4-H’ers will remember the rest of their lives,” said James Trapp, associate director, OCES. “It’s also an experience that teaches them how they can communicate with their legislators and have input now, and in the future, on what our state government does.”

4-H Day at the Capitol Day photos are available at http://kitchensink.okstate.edu/. Click on4-H, then click 2014 4-H Day at the Capitol.

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

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