- 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.
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.
The 2023 University of California 4-H Golden Clover Awards recognize outstanding achievements of members, volunteers, program staff, and groups within the UC 4-H Youth Development Program. This 4-H year, we offered Special Edition Golden Clover Awards in two categories, Robert Brownlee Science and Jack and Robert Clay Outdoor Adventure. We had four winners, two in each category, that demonstrated excellence in their corresponding category.
These youth and adult leaders were announced during the Closing Ceremonies at the 4-H State Leadership Conference. Here are your Special Edition awardees!
Robert Brownlee Science Golden Clover Award
The Robert Brownlee Science Award recognizes science inquiry and experiential learning in 4-H work to help youth increase knowledge, skills and competencies and improve their attitudes about science. This includes increasing science awareness and use in 4-H projects by testing predictions and making sense of observations. The Robert Brownlee Science Award is sponsored by the Robert Brownlee Foundation. In honor of the visionary, Robert Brownlee (1942-1991), the Foundation was established in 1987 to provide financial awards for creating and maintaining innovative programs for youth.
Hannah Perry, Sonoma County
Hannah Perry earned this award for her research and work writing a paper on the importance of beeswax and its uses by both bees and humans. Her outstanding essay titled, “The Importance of Beeswax”, demonstrates her knowledge of bees and how they rely on beeswax for the success or failure of their colony. Hannah explains in her essay that humans have been utilizing beeswax for thousands of years. From embalming in ancient Egypt to letter seals in Rome to perfecting beauty products in the USA, beeswax and humans have a long history together. Hannah's essay brought light to the cleverness of bees as well, pointing out that bees build their hexagonal combs close together to ensure they have enough room for food and to raise their young. Hannah went above and beyond with writing this essay. We will be sharing her full essay on this blog soon.
Liza Stefani, Placer County
Liza Stefani earned this award for her leadership of her club's Swine project for eight years. In addition to instilling a passion for swine, Liza helped her members have a close-up experience with raising swine. Her goal for each project was to teach the “why” behind the swine and the broader livestock industry. Furthermore, Liza advocated for more opportunities for youth in her community to experience the “behind the scenes” of the swine industry. Liza went above and beyond the basic swine school lesson for her youth, giving them a taste of what it is really like to pursue a career in swine. Through this, Liza inspires youth to find their own spark and use it to give back to their community.
Jack and Robert Clay Outdoor Adventure Golden Clover Award
The Jack and Robert Clay Outdoor Adventure Award recognizes outstanding achievement, leadership, and promotion of 4-H camping and outdoor adventures such as camping, fishing, hiking, climbing, GIS/GPS, among others. The Jack and Robert Clay Outdoor Adventure Award is sponsored by the Friends of Jack and Robert Clay. Following a tragic accident in 1987, this Memorial Award was established by the family and friends of Jack Clay and his son, Robert, who were enthusiastically involved in the 4-H camping and outdoor adventure projects as leader and junior leader in Alameda County.
Duarte Goncalves, Madera County
Duarte Goncalves earned this award for his longtime commitment to his county as a chaperone, project leader, and camp adult staffer. With a passion for 4-H Shooting Sports, Duarte became certified in rifle, shotgun, and archery to start his club's 4-H Shooting Sports project. This provided opportunities for youth to experience Shooting Sports and learn about gun safety and marksmanship. In addition, Duarte has been a great presence and influence at his county's summer camp. From hauling materials to camp, to leading Shooting Sports activities, to making campfire and dances safe and fun, Duarte's bright attitude ensures that each camper makes the best memories every year. In every area of his participation, Duarte goes out of his way to ensure members have a positive and beneficial 4-H experience.
Diane McLoughlin, Placer County
Diane McLoughlin earned this award for her efforts and outstanding leadership in addressing and raising awareness in 4-H Shooting Sports and outdoor adventure. Her time as the Penngrove 4-H Club Project Leader for the Shooting Sports – Archery, Outdoor Adventure, and Gardening projects has fostered a collaborative culture for her members and inspired them to embrace knowledge, passion, and advocacy in each project area. Whether she was demonstrating Archery techniques at 4-H events, transporting youth to 4-H competitions, or leading youth through outdoor adventures, Diane consistently motivates youth and guides them as they achieve their goals. With her many accomplishments and involvement in 4-H activities, she embodies the mission of 4-H, engaging youth to reach their fullest potential.
CONGRATULATIONS again to all of our 2023 winners! We celebrate each of you for all you do to help young people reach their full potential and thrive.
Check out our other Golden Clover Award winners.
Applications Open until September 11, 2023
Golden Clover Awards are open to 4-H members, volunteers, groups and staff. Be sure to apply for a Golden Clover Award before September 11th, 2023. There are many types of Golden Clovers you can earn. Learn more about the different awards on our Golden Clover Awards page.
- Author: Laura Snell
I just wanted to give a little update on the 2023 Devil's Garden (DG) Colt Challenge. We had 40 youth in 4-H and FFA enroll in the program from 18 counties all over California. This year, weanlings through two year old wild horses were available to participants from the 2022 Devil's Garden Wild Horse gather. Youth picked up their horses around January 1, 2023. A competition will be held on June 17th at the Junior Livestock Showgrounds (8th and Nagle) in Alturas starting at noon for them to compete for awards in halter, showmanship and obstacle course.
Each April we have held a video challenge for youth to show us how far they have come with their horses. This was a great activity during Covid but has continued to be a highlight and opportunity to share more about our youth and their horses with partners and interested parties. Videos were evaluated on 4 criteria: Creativity, Horse Behavior, Trainer Ability, and Grooming. The winners this year are below, please enjoy watching their videos. All three winners are 4-H'ers this year!
Thank you for your support of this program and the unique opportunity it provides for youth in California. Please feel free to share this with other contacts that may be interested in the success of this program as well.
Zoey and Ginger: Fresno County, Reedley 4-H
Anika and Rusty: Contra Costa County, Brentwood 4-H
Aubrielle and Mystic: Shasta County 4-H
Smiles despite the rain at Ag Day 2023
Despite the cold and rainy weather, California 4-H stood strong at Ag Day at the Capitol 2023. Tons of people stopped by the 4-H booth, taking time to pet the animals and chat with our 4-H'ers from Sheldon 4-H. We were overjoyed for the number of public officials, 4-H alumni, and Ag supporters that made a point to stop by the 4-H booth. Each person made the day such an awesome experience for our youth, staff, and volunteers.
Thank you to Sheldon 4-H Members
Thank you to our Volunteers
We also want to recognize the fabulous Sheldon 4-H volunteers who came to support their club members and the 4-H program. Robyn Long, Jamie Woods, and Ronda Lyn Solano gleefully snapped photos, answered questions, and helped 4-H'ers on site stay hydrated and dry. Rocking their Sheldon 4-H gear and rain ponchos, each volunteer helped make the day a success, and had fun doing it!
Thank you to our Sponsor
We were fortunate to have our booth sponsored by the Sacramento law firm, Kahn, Soares & Conway, LLP. Their support helped us connect many people to the 4-H program through interactive and educational exhibits. The number of visitors seemed endless, as many stopped to collect 4-H tote bags, ask questions, pick up 4-H Impact Sheets, and most of all, greet the animals.
Many thanks to everyone that spent some time at the
It was exciting for so many people to stop at the 4-H booth. Many legislators shared their wisdom with our 4-H'ers and mentioned their love for Ag. Some even proudly shared their 4-H alumni status! See some pictures of the various officials below.
We appreciate California 4-H State Ambassadors, Isabelle and Tejas, for representing the State 4-H program.
From petting goats and bunnies to sharing umbrellas to photoshoots and conversations, every attendee made lasting memories at this year's Ag Day. California 4-H thanks every single person who contributed to such a successful day. Even if we didn't run into to you or snap a photo with you, we felt the love and 4-H spirit just like the rain on our coats.