National 4-H Conference

National 4-H Conference

April 19-24, 2024
In Person and Online
Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA

National 4-H Conference is the pinnacle experience in 4-H Civic Engagement, providing the opportunity for young people to connect, learn, engage, lead and impact their communities, nation and world.

Hosted by the USDA

Whether you attend in person or virtually, you will gain a real world experience in several different aspects.
Known as “the Secretary’s Conference,” this Conference is the flagship youth development opportunity of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has administered the National 4-H Conference on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture in Washington, DC since 1927.

As a delegate, you represent California 4-H

If you are selected as a delegate to represent California 4-H at the conference, you will have the following opportunities:

  • Participate in round table discussions
  • Share your voice with federal partner agencies and congressional committees
  • Engage with your U.S. Senators and Representatives
  • Tour national landmarks in Washington, D.C.
  • Become familiar with the government and future career opportunities

Travel and conference expenses are sponsored by a generous grant from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation.

Apply for National 4-H Conference


Youth Delegates must be at least 16 years of age as of December 31, 2023 and enrolled as a 4-H Youth Member. 4-H members can only serve as a delegate to National 4-H Conference once.

Completed applications are due by 5:00pm November 30, 2023. Completed applications must include the following:

References should include one each of the following

  • County 4-H staff person: 4-H Program Representative, 4-H Regional Program Supervisor, 4-H Advisor, or County Director
  • 4-H Member or recent 4-H alumni (not over 21 years of age)

References should not be a family member. References will only be accepted through the link below. Additional Letters of Reference will not be accepted.




Delegate Selection

The aim of the selection committee is to select a team that encompasses the diversity of California and the University of California 4-H Youth Development Program. The selection committee aims to select up to six 4-H members from Community Clubs, School Enrichment and After-School programming; and one 4-H Professional. The State 4-H Office may actively recruit or modify the makeup of the team to ensure diverse representation. 

Selection Criteria

The evaluation of candidates is weighted as follows:

  • 20% 4-H Resume
  • 50% Essay Questions
  • 10% Unique characteristics and skills 
  • 20% References

Delegates should possess the following characteristics:

  • Able to work and communicate effectively with peers, executives, and the public.
  • Broad 4-H experience (within and beyond the county.
  • Well acquainted with the entire University of California 4-H Youth Development Program.
  • Able to participate fully in a very active and demanding program involving long hours.
  • A role model—through actions and words, show a respect for human dignity and an appreciation for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, religions, abilities, and sexual orientations.

Download PDF of application information listed here.

2 youth posting with the Washington Monument
California 4-H delegates posing with the California pillar.

Schedule & Expectations
  • December 15, 2023 Notification letter will be emailed to applicants.
  • January 18, 2024 Team Meeting-online 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • February 8, 2024 Team Meeting online, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    Additional pre-conference meetings will be scheduled by the team at the first meeting.

Expectation for delegates

Prior to Conference

  • Attend the team meetings via webinar and in person
  • Gather facts, opinions, and data from the 4-H Youth Development Program at the local, county, sectional, and state levels
  • Interview a 4-H Professional in your county and submit a recap to the California 4-H Office about the variety of services and programs offered by the 4-H Program in your local county and throughout California.
  • As a team, develop a consistent message from California 4-H to deliver at the conference.

During Conference

  • Be an active participant while attending the National 4-H Conference.
  • Be flexible, adaptable, and able to get along well with many types of personalities

After Conference

  • Attend the team post-conference meeting via webinar
  • Complete a team report about the conference.
  • Write a thank you note to the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation.
  • Complete a post conference project.