Local 4-H members Reegan Steiner and Isaac Roehrig had the opportunity in June to be a part of a nationwide Citizen Washington Focus Experience.
Steiner provided this account of their trip:
“We traveled down to Milwaukee and boarded one of the amazing Badger Coach buses not knowing what to expect. On the bus there were kids from all of Wisconsin; there were 27 of us total and four chaperones.
“As soon as we were on the road we were conversing with each other and creating connections and friendships like no other. We knew the bus ride to Washington, D.C. was going to be a long one so we made the best of it. We stayed up all night long laughing, telling stories, sharing what we were trying to expect out of the trip, and just getting to know each other.
“As night turned into morning our very first stop was approaching, Gettysburg. It was very cool to explore the grounds where our forefathers had fought for freedom. After our first stop we were back on the road eager to get to D.C. As we were pulling into the National 4-H Center you could see kids from all over the United States but we were clueless to what states.
“Once we were off the bus and inside the building we were assigned a Delegation Huddle Room specifically for Wisconsin. We got to meet our amazing Program Assistant Lyrica and learned about how she would be assisting us through the week.
“In our Delegation Room we had many laughs, discussed ways to help our community grow, learned more about how to be a better citizen, and how to be an active member in 4-H within our communities. We were assigned roommates, workshop colors, and committee responsibilities. For the next two hours we were able to move into our room, get to know our roommates, explore the campus, and meet new friends.
“After that we had dinner in the Clover Cafe and then we had a ‘Welcome to Washington’ presentation. Here is when we learned that there was kids from Oklahoma, Iowa, California, Wyoming, South Dakota, Delaware, and Idaho joining us. Throughout the week we were able to mingle with members from each state and create friendships that we never could have dreamed of. To this day we still are all very close with kids from every state and talk every day.
“During our week in Washington, D.C. we got to explore the Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean, WWII, and MLK memorials, watch a performance titled ‘Twilight Tattoo’ put on by the soldiers currently serving at Arlington, the Air Force Memorial, Pentagon Memorial, the United States Capitol, all of Capitol Hill, Arlington National Cemetery, and many more amazing things.
“On our final day we said our goodbyes to life-long friends and our second home for the week. Wisconsin had the opportunity to stay in D.C. for a couple extra hours. In those hours we got the chance to see the Holocaust Museum, Ford’s Theatre, and where Abraham Lincoln was shot. With the remaining time we got to go out in groups and explore Washington, D.C. on our own. Before we knew it we were on our way back to our homeland, Wisconsin.
“I would like to give a huge thank you to the amazing 4-H program that gives teens like me an opportunity to discover the United States and learn more about where we came from and what citizenship really means to us. I would also like to thank the 4-H Leaders Council for assisting Isaac and I and gifting us a scholarship to make this possible. This experience has truly been unforgettable and will stick with me through the rest of my life. If you are a parent and you read this I would strongly encourage you to get your child involved in 4-H; this program will help your child grow into the person they are meant to be, give them opportunities of a lifetime, and help them gain lifelong friendships.”