Area 4-H’ers to take Iowa to D.C.

Four area 4-H members are traveling to Washington, D.C., to represent Iowa at the National 4-H Conference April 5-10.

Raeann Hanlon of Calhoun County, Rebecca Nellis of Webster County, and Renae Drey and Tyler Pickhinke of Sac County were chosen this year.

“Four kids from the state of Iowa are selected by judges a whole year ago, and they get to go to the National 4-H Center and work with other 4-H’ers from the United States and work on procedure and policy, and procedure for the rest of the 4-H program,” Linda Cline, Webster County youth and 4-H coordinator, said.

The four students, chosen in March 2013 for the trip, have spent the year since preparing for the conference, which will offer the 4-H’ers many opportunities and events.

“They’re going to do different workshops. They just get to find out that other 4-H’ers are like them. They are goal-oriented. They are working on the same type of stuff,” Cline said. “They’ll get to see their senator at the Capitol … and talk about 4-H.”

Hanlon said she is looking forward to the trip.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to go to Washington, D.C. We’re going to have lots of opportunities to meet with other 4-H’ers from across the country.”

Jill Mims, Calhoun County youth and 4-H coordinator, said she was proud of Hanlon.

“She is a good example of what we want 4-H’ers to be,” Mims said. “She has worked really hard developing communication skills. We think she will represent us very well and really communicate to congressmen … basically what 4-H is, why it’s important to her and how it helped her to develop certain skills. She’s a really good example to others and therefore she’s a good leader and role model to others in the community.”

She added, “She’s just an awesome young lady.”

Nellis, while selected to go the conference, won’t be able to because of other commitments.

“Rebecca worked very hard and did a lot of community service in Webster County,” Cline said. “She had worked with getting wigs for a cancer program.”

Steph Erpelding, Sac County youth and 4-H coordinator, was proud, she said, that half of the students representing Iowa come from Sac County.

“It’s a great opportunity for them. And they’ve definitely earned it,” she said.

Both Drey and Pickhinke have led projects which have positively impacted their communities, Erpelding said.

“Tyler did the Easter egg hunt for his town, in Early. He was in charge and had to do the advertising and all that,” she said. “Renae has been very instrumental in doing a Valentine’s dinner in February. What they do with the money is, they give it to Relay for Life. They’ve also given it to families, and some of the money goes to kids who want to attend camp or 4-H conference.”

The projects illustrate the students’ abilities and dedication, Erpelding said.

“Both of those projects are quite large projects to lead. And with them being in high school and all of those activities, it’s not like they just go to school and come home,” she said. “They’re involved in sports and mock trial and church activities, and they’re able to get all their things done with their busy lives.”

According to Cline, the benefits of 4-H to young students are many.

“They are learning to be a leader in their community, in their school,” she said. “They are helping others by doing community service and they are working with their peers, they’re learning great communication skills.”