Washington County Delegates include: Top row L-R: Scott Schmidt (advisor), Olivia Kreft, Ashley Mihm, Emily Schmidt, Alison Kescenovitz (advisor). Middle row L-R: Kaitlyn Miller, Autumn Morrow, Libby Willkomm, Nathan Schmidt, Otto Jung, Micah Stege Bottom row L-R: Brady Falk, Stephanie Hartwell, Rhea Dricken, and Elizabeth Rhinehart
Rhea Dricken from Kewaskum was one of hundreds of 4-H youth who attended the 96th annual 4-H & Youth Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus in June.
Dricken and 12 other delegates joined about 500 other young people representing UW-Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program.
The adult 4-H leaders advising the county delegation were Scott Schmidt and Alison Kescenovitz.
“Youth Conference was a great way for me to meet new people, learn leadership and communication skills, and try new things,” Dricken said. “One of my favorite parts of the conference was our last speaker who expressed the importance of going out of your comfort zone through humor and music.
“It was really enjoyable and gave a really important and good message. Another moving experience was during our first day; everyone went off into Madison to do community-service projects, and at the end of the day at an assembly, an event organizer told us we gave Madison $10,000 worth of work that day.
“It was an eye-opener for me, in that it showed me that even doing four hours of volunteer work is making a difference in an individual’s life, in businesses, and in communities. Youth conference was a fun and worthwhile experience and I would definitely recommend it to 4-Hers looking for a fun experience that will teach life skills and values.”
The annual four-day conference gives youth a chance to learn about a variety of 4-H and other youth programs, experience hands-on learning in a university campus atmosphere, strengthen life skills such as communication and leadership, gain knowledge to share back home, and exchange ideas and form friendships with youth from around the state.
The delegates attended workshops and assemblies developed around the theme “Picturing Our Success” which highlighted leadership, individual responsibility, goal setting, healthy living, and living up to potential. Students participate in a variety of community service projects designed to stimulate interest in replicating similar projects in their own communities.
Workshop topics included everything from communication arts to building leadership skills, healthy living, STEM topics, youth citizenship, and a host of other exciting subjects.
The Wisconsin 4-H Foundation provided financial support for this conference.
Visit UW-Extension Youth Development programs or contact Washington County 4-H Youth for more information about 4-H.
About the author: Rhea Dricken, 13, is an 8th grader at Holy Trinity School in Kewaskum and she is part of the Washington County 4-H Equestrians.