- Author: Aidan Reyes
Your mission, if you so choose to accept it, is Anything is Possible!
Do you want to take your camp experience to the next level? Are you a camp staff, leader, or director looking to refresh your camp program?
The 2024 California Camping Conference offers the latest and greatest insight into the ideal camping experience! Various workshops will be dedicated to improving your camp. These workshops include topics on traditional camp activities and how to update them for modern times. Roleplay scenarios, learn about diversity and inclusion, and network to share ideas! During the conference, there will be announcements on updated rules and policies that you won't want to miss.
Send your executive staff to this fun and informative conference in the scenic coastal redwoods of Santa Cruz. The California 4-H Camping Conference will be held from Friday, March 8 to Sunday, March 10, 2024. We hope to see you there! Learn more and register on our Camping Conference event page.
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- Author: Lily Quiles
I'm Lily Q from Contra Costa County and I was declared the Overall Champion of the National Fashion Revue Constructed Category at the 4-H Family & Consumer Science (FCS) National Championship 2024 in San Antonio, Texas. I have a passion for sewing and fashion. I have been learning how to sew since I was 8 years old. Due to my disability I wanted to learn how to alter clothing because it's hard to find clothes straight off the rack that fit me. I joined 4-H three years ago and have been a part of the sewing and textile project. My sewing mentors are Teri and Allie. They have taught me so much over the years. My goal at Nationals was to make them proud!
This past year I made a stylish faux leather jacket and competed in the leather creations category for my second year in Fashion Revue. It took me a total of 63 hours to complete the jacket. It was the most challenging garment I had made so far. I placed first at the County level then advanced to State and won there as well. After that I qualified to go to Nationals and represent California 4-H. I was so excited to travel to Texas and compete against other teens from around the country. I was notified that I had to construct a garment to go under my leather jacket, so I made a wrap polyester dress in a month.
The 4-H Family & Consumer Science National Championship 2024 was held in San Antonio, Texas on January 10-13, 2024. It was a great experience to meet so many other teens who enjoy fashion like me. There were several workshops, I learned about consumer waste and how I can do my part to minimize it, I participated in sewing a quilt block to add to a beautiful quilt for Quilts of Valor. Plus, we had a state pin exchange! I collected pins from 12 different states! I made new friends who share an appreciation for sewing. I competed against 14 other contestants. They all had well-constructed garments with each one showing their individual personalities. We had to do an interview and modeling of our garments. During the fashion show we got to walk down the catwalk and show off our lovely outfits to our family and friends. Once our contest was complete, we had a free day to go sightseeing and shopping. We were walking distance from The Alamo and the gorgeous San Antonio Riverwalk.
My favorite part
The last day of the nationals was the award banquet. My favorite part of the competition was the awards because you're so excited to hear the results but then nervous too. Sitting there waiting for your name to be called is both thrilling and terrifying. The competition was so good, you really don't know who the judges are going to pick. Every contestant there looked and sounded great. 2nd place overall went to Olivia, the other contestant from California 4-H. I was so happy for her. Then when they announced first place and said my name I was so excited and surprised. I received a ribbon and a jewelry box. California 4-H took the top two spots for National Fashion Review. It was a fantastic experience that I will never forget!
I highly recommend to all fellow 4-H'ers: "If you get the chance to go to Nationals, believe in yourself and do it!"
-To Make the Best Better-
- Author: Andrew Logan
Our California 4-H Horticulture Team headed to Kalamazoo, Michigan on October 6th to participate in the 2023 National Junior Horticultural Association (NJHA) annual convention. The event included teams from all over the country. Each state brings a state display which highlights agricultural products from their home state. Our theme this year was nut production and we shared samples of various California nuts. It was an exciting and educational experience for all!
Representing California 4-H
Our California 4-H team members— Allura Andersen (Contra Costa County), Richard Paseman (Alameda County), Andrew Logan (Yolo County) and Karenna Henneker (Alameda County)—qualified for the event by being among the highest scoring seniors at the State Field Day Plant Identification Contest in May 2023. Throughout the fall, our team practiced both individually and together via Zoom with our wonderful and dedicated coach, Michael Rethwisch, who taught us so much in a short time. We are so grateful for his support and wisdom.
Our California team did extraordinarily well in the competition, placing 2nd overall! We also placed well individually:
4-H Senior Individual category
- Andrew Logan - 1st place
- Richard Paseman - 5th place
- Allura Andersen- 10th place
Open Individual category: Karenna Henneker, 1st place
In addition to our team, two California 4-H'ers attended the NJHA convention to participate in the open class divisions. In the junior division, James Logan of Yolo County 4-H placed first, and Grace Logan of Yolo County 4-H placed 2nd! They were inspired to join our team at the NJHA convention from participating in the Plant Science Contest at State Field Day, where they placed 1st and 2nd at the Junior level. We are so proud of all their amazing accomplishments and hard work.
Learning, Fun and Team Bonding
The NJHA convention was full of amazing opportunities to learn about horticulture and to make lasting friendships and connections with teammates. The team participated in several workshops and tours, including to the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Food Innovation Center. We toured the facility and learned about aquaponics, hydroponics, and horticulture therapy. In addition, we had several study sessions and workshops with NJHA leaders, our coach Michael, and even a very exciting round of Horticultural Connections, a jeopardy-like game complete with buzzers, pitting states vs. each other in a fun and friendly way.
Sharing a Passion for Horticulture
The NJHA convention is a wonderful opportunity for youth who are passionate about horticulture to meet new people with similar interests and learn from experienced horticulturalists from all over the United States. The highlight of the convention is the Plant Identification Contest, where youth identify 100 different plant samples, answer 80 multiple choice questions, and complete a judging section, where youth grade plants by quality and uniformity.
We are all grateful for:
- The support from our families, who encouraged over the last several months and for attending the convention with us
- State and County 4-H leaders for their generous support
- NJHA leaders for convening such an inspirational convention, and
- Especially our coach, Michael Rethwisch, for his support, expert coaching and encouragement to do our very best.
Plant Science Contest at State Field Day
We'll be hosting the Plant Science Contest at State Field Day again this year in May, on the UC Davis campus. Subscribe to the state 4-H newsletter to stay updated on contest registration and event updates as it gets closer.
- Author: Michaela Beckman
- Author: Isabelle Cialone
- Author: Tejas Billa
- Author: Sanjana Badami
This April, five of us California 4-H'ers traveled to Washington D.C. for the 2023 National 4-H Conference. We even had a California 4-H'er, Ben Cederlof, on the USDA's 4-H Youth Leadership Team for the second year in a row! With a focus on civic engagement and leadership, we participated in roundtables to create briefings for federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and met with our Congress people to discuss support for 4-H at a federal level. We had opportunities to see historic sites and monuments, as well as to meet and engage with 4-H'ers from so many other states and US territories.
It was an incredible experience for all of us to be able to learn more about the 4-H experience of other youths, as well as to be able to share our own stories. We all encourage 4-H'ers in California to consider applying to be a part of future National Conference delegations, as this was something we will never forget!
My name is Michaela and I had the opportunity to be a part of the California delegation to the National 4-H Conference this year! It was my first time traveling to the east coast, and it was absolutely incredible to meet so many people from every corner of our country in one place. We had a state pin exchange on the first day where we even managed to trade with Alaska 4-H!
A highlight of the trip for me was meeting my Congresswoman, Katie Porter. We discussed support for 4-H through the Farm Bill, and had an amazing meeting with her. It was incredible to see how our efforts led her to advocate for 4-H on the House floor a month later. (Watch the video here!)
I even got to meet a cabinet member, Secretary Marcia Fudge of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and presented a briefing to her staff about how HUD-assisted youth can be helped to gain more financial education, though it technically didn't have much to do with civic engagement or leadership. Learning line dances from the other 4-H'ers was pretty cool too!
Hi! My name is Isabelle, and I was a part of the California National 4-H Conference delegation. My roundtable (shoutout roundtable 17!) was focused on the Department of Labor and youth workforce and education re-entry programs. My favorite part of the conference (aside from learning a bunch of line dances) was getting to see the city of D.C. and exploring the different landmarks, both with the whole group during the night tour and with my delegation. During the night tour, we played Presidential Trivia and I answered three out of five questions correctly! I was surprised by how much I knew about presidents. My favorite monument was the Washington Monument, because it looked really pretty with the sky, like you can see in the picture. It was also a fun challenge to try to collect pins from as many states as possible!
My name is Tejas, and I loved my experience as a National Conference Delegate for California 4-H. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to provide a youth voice on Capitol Hill and at the Department of Energy, where I presented my youth roundtable. My favorite parts were meeting with our legislators at the Capitol and exploring the city with our delegation. Our roundtable group from all across America put tons of hard work into researching our topic, nuclear energy marketing, and presenting our briefing to staff at the Department's headquarters. Additionally, we all scheduled meetings with our politicians in D.C. to advocate for more funding for 4-H through the Farm Bill. I got a coveted selfie with Senator Alex Padilla! One of my favorite experiences was also getting a library card from the Library of Congress. National 4-H Conference was the single best opportunity I've had to expand on my passion for civic engagement, and I highly recommend attending!
Hi, I'm Sanjana! Being a part of the California 4-H National Conference Delegation has been an incredible, and also rewarding experience. My favorite part of the National 4-H Conference was exploring D.C. and line dancing with the California delegation. It was also great to make 4-H friends from all across the United States, and I'm so glad to still be in touch with my roundtable friends! My roundtable focused on creating a presentation on ensuring success in various career pathways, which we presented to the Department of Education in D.C. It was great to listen to new perspectives and get to know one another. Not only did we engage in roundtables, but we also did community service at the United States National Arboretum! While our delegation was there, we went on a scenic tour and learned about the types of plant species there and their history. We explored the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, the National Capitol Columns, and various gardens as well.
Hi, I'm Rachel from Santa Barbara County! At the 4-H National Conference, I had the chance to present a presentation on Mental Health needs in rural communities to lawmakers and facilitate the discussion of the importance of mental health initiatives.
Through research with my workshop group, I learned how mental health is a serious issue in rural America. According to the National Rural Health Association, rural Americans are more likely to experience mental health problems than their urban counterparts. They are also less likely to have access to mental health care. Our goal in meeting with lawmakers was to raise awareness of this issue and to urge them to support mental health programs in rural communities. We shared statistics and personal stories about the struggles faced by rural Americans. We also provided ideas for initiatives and efforts that would help with this problem.
Speaking before the House Committee on Agriculture was nerve-wracking yet empowering. It was an honor to represent California 4-H and to advocate for mental health awareness. Leaving D.C., I felt a sense of accomplishment as I not only felt successful in creating a powerful presentation, but also felt successful in creating new memories and friendships.
Registration is now open for the 2024 National 4-H Conference
Don't miss your chance to make your own memories and life-long friendships. The 2024 National 4-H Conference is April 19-24 in Arlington, Virginia. All expenses are paid through a grant from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation.
Go to our event page to see all the requirements to apply and get started. This is an opportunity for you to meet 4-H'ers from across the country and have your voice heard by top government agencies. Applications and references are due by 5:00 pm, November 30, 2023.
- Author: Eve Dowdell
Let's give the 2023 California 4-H Diamond Clover awardees a round of virtual applause!
We are so proud of this year's Diamond Clover awardees. They've been developing their 4-H career for years to earn this award. We congratulate them for their commitment to and passion for the 4-H program. Each of the six awardees have dedicated over seven years of service and leadership to 4-H. Some have spent more than ten years, striving since Day One to be the change in their community. We hope that you continue to make the best better throughout your life.
Now for our awardees:
Sanjana Badami, Alameda County
As a senior from Alameda County 4-H, Sanjana Badami has spent her seven years in 4-H wisely. Serving as her club's President, working on Youth Summit and SLC Planning teams, and representing her county as a County Ambassador are just a few ways she has been of service to the 4-H program. Her contributions to 4-H also include civic engagement, spending her time to serve her community through coat drives and food bank donations. Sanjana also leads her club's Service-Learning Project. As a Teen Leader, she helps project members fundraise and put together projects like hygiene kits for homeless shelters, sock drives for kids, and more. Sanjana has demonstrated her commitment and care for the 4-H program and has grown, thanks to her time in 4-H. As she says herself, “I'm learning to be strong when faced with adversity and become a leader that is ready to face the challenges of the world”. We celebrate Sanjana and are proud to see what inspiring things she does next.
Michaela Beckman, Orange County
As one of your 2022-2023 4-H State Ambassadors, Michaela Beckman strives to demonstrate key 4-H values. Her time in 4-H has made her a passionate believer in the power of youth and inspiring others with actions. As an active member in her club and county, Michaela spends her time working to leave a positive impact through holiday-time service projects, environmental projects, and youth mentorship projects. Furthermore, her work with the Second Harvest Food Bank helps provide fresh, healthy produce for those in need. Her belief in the childhood mantra, “Sharing is Caring” guides her every action, inspiring her to show the importance of caring more for others than our own self. This philosophy has helped her get far in the 4-H program and will help her as she moves through her final year in 4-H. We celebrate Michaela and cannot wait to see how she helps makes the world a more united, caring place.
As one of your 2022-2023 4-H State Ambassadors, Ben Cederlof uses the six “C's” to cultivate his leaderships skills and involvement in 4-H. From starting a multi-county initiative that promotes leaderships opportunities in 4-H – to serving in several club leadership roles – to representing California 4-H at the National 4-H Conference – Ben's experiences have taught him how to use his skills to find solutions for problems in his community. Using the competence and confidence from his leadership and public speaking experiences, Ben has been able to connect with people across the nation. He has developed an awareness of the words and actions he uses which has led to the development of his character. Last, but not least, Ben has created opportunities to show care and support to 4-H'ers throughout the state. Throughout his nine years in 4-H, his contribution to the 4-H program has grown and made a difference in the lives of those around him. We celebrate Ben and look forward to how he continues to practice the six “C's” to accomplish his goals.
Serafina Martinez, Orange County
Missy Pendleton, Sonoma County
4-H has instilled a passion for community service in all of its participants, but few are as active as Missy Pendleton. In addition to partnering with local service agencies like Salvation Army and Oakland Children's Hospital, Missy collected numerous donations for homeless shelters, senior homes, and military drives. Furthermore, she has been recognized by various organizations through awards like the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, the San Francisco 49ers' Community Quarterback award, and the Soroptimist Divisional level award. These awards acknowledge her drive for civic engagement and leadership from her early years of 4-H to now as an adult volunteer. Missy has served in leadership roles like County "All-Star" Ambassador and Executive Club Officer, cultivating her teamwork and communication skills. Missy spends her time now giving back to the 4-H program, advising her County Ambassadors as the All-Star Advisor. Young Alumni, like Missy, who see the value in the 4-H program are now using their California 4-H Grown skills to shape the leaders of tomorrow.
Collin Robinson-Burmester, Yolo County
Collin Robinson-Burmester's 4-H journey started in 2009. Since then, he has completed over 50 projects, contributed to countless service opportunities, led various county events and more as a passionate 4-H'er. As a Yolo County Ambassador, Collin demonstrated to his peers how much 4-H can add to a life. He developed his connection and communication by collaborating and building positive relationships with both youth and adults. Collin's civic engagement has included using his spark for metal working to support his community. In partnership with a local non-profit, Bike Garage, he repaired bikes and taught the basics of bike maintenance to his community. Collin has also worked in countywide and multi-county events like the Youth Summits, through which he taught youth to respect others and their contributions. He credits his strength of character, confidence, and competence to the 4-H program. We celebrate Collin for his commitment to the 4-H program and can't wait to see how he grows as a successful adult that makes a positive difference in his club, community, country, and world.
CONGRATULATIONS, again to our HIGHEST ACHIEVING YOUTH of 2023. You truly are the best of the best!
If you are interested in applying for the Diamond Clover Awards, you can find more info on our Diamond Clover Awards page. Though you can apply as early as 17-years-old, you need to start working on the qualifications a few years before applying. Applications are open year-round and evaluated each June.