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Chester County 4-H members attended the 2019 Pennsylvania 4-H Capital Days. Front row, left to right: Melissa Johnson, Aaron Phillips, Anna Grace Jones. Back row, left to right: Dr. Joshua Rice, Suzanna Angstadt, Mary Wirtel, Melanie Fusco, Tara Mondock.

Six youth members representing Chester County were among nearly 120 4-H delegates from across the commonwealth to attend the annual Pennsylvania 4-H Capital Days program at the Hilton Harrisburg Hotel and Capitol Complex in Harrisburg.

The youth representatives from the county included: Suzanna Angstadt of Coatesville, Melanie Fusco of Pottstown, Melissa Johnson of Glen Mills, Anna Grace Jones of Aston, Aaron Phillips of Elverson, and Mary Wirtel of Malvern.

Sponsored by Penn State Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program, Capital Days is a three-day educational program designed to engage youth in the bipartisan diplomatic process and prepare them to become active engaged citizens. Participants learn about parliamentary procedure, how to read legislation, party roles, and affiliations. Additional workshops included topics on advocacy, civil discourse, elections and the voting process. As a culmination of the event the youth used the knowledge gained to discuss and debate a bill by participating in a mock legislative session.

“Capital Days is an outstanding 4-H event that teaches our 4-H youth the importance of civic engagement and the value of civil discourse,” said Dr. Joshua Rice, Penn State Extension assistant director for 4-H Youth Development programs. “The youth who are wearing the 4-H clover today are our next generation of leaders, and it is important that they know how to work effectively as a team through positive conversations.”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding met with the 4-H members during the event’s legislative lunch. Secretary Redding shared remarks about how the 4-H youth development program plays an important role in developing leadership potential, as well as the current Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Ag and Youth Grant program. Youth programs will be eligible to apply for grants to increase youth exposure to agriculture and grow the industry’s future leaders.

Administered in Pennsylvania by Penn State Extension, 4-H is a community of more than six million young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. Penn State Extension 4-H youth development educators in all 67 counties throughout the commonwealth administer local 4-H programs through non-formal education and outreach. To find your local program, visit the Penn State Extension website at https://extension.psu.edu/programs/4-h.

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