Youth join in 4-H’s National Conversation
Morgan County CSU Cooperative Extension
Twelve Colorado youth and adults were among 1,200 youth and adults from throughout the country who participated in the National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century held recently in Washington, D.C. This national summit was sponsored by 4-H to create a youth-led action plan to improve urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide. The National Conversation’s findings, tabulated using instant polling technology, will be presented to President Bush, members of Congress and other political and community leaders in April.
Speaking at the National Conversation, U.S.A. Freedom Corps Director John Bridgeland said the purpose of President Bush’s new volunteer initiative “is to ask every American to stop, to pause, to ask the question, ‘What will be my great service to my neighbor, my community, my country and the world?’ “
Bridgeland hailed the youth participating in the National Conversation, as well as the millions of 4-H members throughout the country saying, “You are the rising generation, and I know with your commitment to public service, you can in fact become the next greatest generation.”
Also speaking at the 4-H summit was Harris Wofford, chairman of America’s Promise, who described the youth in attendance as “the promise in America.”
Further, he underscored the importance of their role in U.S.A. Freedom Corps: “You are vital parts of those armies of compassion that President Bush has called into action.”
4-H youth presented Bridgeland and Wofford with a large check representing more than 1.3 million hours committed thus far by 100,000 youth and adults to the “Power of YOUth Pledge” Campaign, a volunteerism drive aimed at improving communities nationwide. The individual commitments were made to address a variety of community needs including:
– Helping a younger person (17 ,641 pledges totaling 282,221 hours);
– Improving my community (14,096 pledges totaling 187,748 hours);
– Helping an older person (16,723 pledges totaling 178,826 hours);
– Mentoring and tutoring (8,496 pledges totaling 137,905 hours);
– Building respect and tolerance (10,165 pledges totaling 136,954 hours);
– Improving the environment (12, 110 pledges totaling 119,333 hours).
Bridgeland described the “Power of YOUth Pledge” Campaign as “an engine of humanity that can change our country and the world” and “a great gift to America.”
4-H is sponsoring both the National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century and the “Power of YOUth Pledge” Campaign to mark its 100th anniversary.
“Rather than erect a monument to ourselves, we decided to make a gift to America by identifying the needs of our communities nationwide and to develop a youth-led action plan that addresses these needs,” said Donald T. Floyd Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council. “The Conversations will identify how to make America better and the Power of Youth Pledge Campaign will provide some of the resources to get the job done.”
“The generous support of our public and private partners is a strong indication that America has heard President Bush’s call to service loudly and clearly,” said Floyd.
For more about the National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century visit http://www.4hcentennial.org.
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