4-H’ers, Other Youth Gather in Denver to Address Youth Issues, Celebrate Colorado 4-H Day

Members of 4-H from around Colorado will gather Feb. 3 with representatives from other youth groups to pinpoint how communities and youth groups can help youngsters and teens grow into productive, positive adults.

The meeting, part of a nationwide movement organized by 4-H, will eventually lead to ideas and an action plan that will be presented to President George Bush, his cabinet and Congress and which will be implemented by 4-H and other youth groups, such as Scouts, on a community level.

The event – the Colorado Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century – is sparked by the 100th anniversary of 4-H in the nation. As part of the centennial celebration, the conversations will bring together youth, adults, community and civic leaders in states across the nation to discuss ways to improve communities through volunteerism and youth development.

"This event really gives kids of all ages a chance to be heard by adults," said Dale Leidheiser, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension 4-H youth development specialist.

"Adults often make decisions for youth without asking their opinions about what kinds of support will help them successfully brave adolescence and develop life skills to be responsible, productive, compassionate, empowered adults."

Following the event, delegates from Colorado Conversation will travel to Washington, D.C., to join 100,000 youth and adults from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the five U.S. territories to create a plan of action for communities and youth.

The day after the Colorado Conversation on Feb. 4, a proclamation will be read in the Colorado House of Representatives and Senate declaring Colorado 4-H Day.

4-H is an organization lead by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension within the state and by the broader Cooperative Extension system around the nation. Originally focused on agricultural projects, 4-H has followed the needs and interests of youth into urban and suburban communities.

The organization involves youth in its development and government and engages them in community service and activities that hold their interest while providing guidance by adult volunteers. More than 6.8 million youth are involved in 4-H programs each year.