When driving in downtown Oklahoma City, one of the buildings dotting the landscape is the Capitol Building. While most people simply drive by, a group of Oklahoma 4-H’ers recently spent the day there while learning about how the state’s government works.
More than 130 club members from 57 counties took part in the 21st Annual 4-H Day the Capitol where they not only learned about government, but also shared with legislators the positive impact the Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program has had on them and their communities. Attending from LeFlore County were Kayla Chaplin, who is a member of the Wister 4-H Club and Delanie Williams, who is a member of the Fanshawe 4-H Club. This year’s theme was “4-H ... Making Oklahoma Communities Better.”
Cathy Allen, 4-H curriculum coordinator at the State 4-H Office at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, said 4-H Day at the Capitol is a wonderful learning opportunity for both club members and our state leaders.
“It’s one thing to be a civics or government class and learn about how our state operates, but the lessons these club members learn in class come to life during 4-H Day at the Capitol. They see first-hand our senators and representatives who are hard at work for our state,” Allen said.
Rep. Scooter Park took a few minutes to address the crowd and explained how there are three classes of people.
“We’ve got leaders, we’ve got followers and we have the ones who get in the way. Keep in mind leaders aren’t always the ones who are saying ‘look at me.’ Leaders naturally rise to the top,” Park said. “Leaders – that’s what you become in 4-H. Set your sites high and you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.”
Aside from being in the military, Rep. John Pfeiffer said being in 4-H has been one of the most influential things he has ever done.
“I did a lot of bake shows when I was in 4-H. I wasn’t good at it, but doing so helped me realize my reluctance to do things I wasn’t good at,” Pfeiffer said.
“I learned from those experiences and learned how to be more responsible. The lessons I learned in 4-H are ingrained in me and helped me become who I am today.”
Oklahoma Representative Rick West, top left, Senator Mark Allen, top right, and Representative Johnny Tadlock, bottom right, meet with LeFlore County 4-H Day at the Capitol delegates Kayla Chaplin and Delanie Williams.
Sen. Chris Kidd said he gave his first 4-H speech when he was in third grade. He attributes being a member of 4-H helped him build his foundation.
“I gained the skills that I still use to this day. 4-H was the catalyst that put me on the track to great things,” Kidd said.
Allen said participants had the opportunity to have lunch with their respective senators and representatives.
“It’s not often you have an opportunity to sit down with state law makers and tell them how much the 4-H program means to you and your community,” Allen said. “We had a wonderful turnout of legislators who took time out of their day to have lunch with our club members and they were able to hear first-hand about how important 4-H is around the state.”
The group met with Gov. Mary Fallin and took a photo. A proclamation declaring April 5 as 4-H Day at the Capitol was read in both the House of Representatives and Senate Chambers.
Jacob Sestak, president of the State 4-H Leadership Council, along with Khalil Muhammad, 4-H member from Coyle, spoke to state leaders while the group was in the House and Senate Galleries.
“The things our club members do in their communities is so important and providing these youth with an opportunity to show law makers the positive and lasting impact 4-H has it vital to the program,” Allen said.
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