National 4‑H Council is partnering with Nationwide to build a diverse pipeline of youth leaders in agriculture with a commitment of $1 million through 2022. The 4‑H Leaders in the Field program will help inspire youth to be active leaders in their community.
In its pilot year, Leaders in the Field will allow youth from Ohio to work with members of the Ohio Farm Bureau to refine and execute community action plans that address a need or challenge in their hometown. From strategic planning meetings to implementation, youth will be partnering with local Farm Bureau leaders to implement positive community change.
To hone their leadership skills, the grant will support scholarships for youth to attend Citizenship Washington Focus, 4‑H’s premier citizenship and leadership experience for youth. Held in Washington, D.C., each summer, CWF empowers high school students to practice and recognize the importance of civic and social responsibility by strengthening their leadership and citizenship skills. It prepares them for life; inspiring them to be invested, informed, and accountable for generating the change they want to see in the world — and to create their own success in the future.
Support from Nationwide will provide sponsorships for three delegations of youth from Ohio to travel to the nation’s capital to experience hands-on educational workshops, tour Washington’s living classrooms and meet with members of Congress to build the skills to be active citizens back home and in their future agriculture-industry endeavors.
“We live in a time where agriculture, and its future leaders, are becoming more important than ever in the assurance of a safe, efficient, and abundant food supply for generations to come,” said Mark Berven, President and COO, Nationwide Property and Casualty and National 4‑H Council board member. “By investing in the next generation of agricultural leaders, Nationwide and 4‑H are building a diverse leadership pipeline, lifting up our communities, strengthening grassroots relationships, and empowering the youth of today to seek out positive change.”
As part of the 4‑H Leaders in the Field program, select Diversity in Ag Teen Ambassadors will participate in events with Nationwide to help engage a dialogue about today’s agriculture and ways that youth can make a positive impact. An Ag Teen Ambassador will also be featured in an upcoming 4‑H Day in the Life video featuring a celebrity 4‑H alum and NFL player who grew up working on his family’s cattle ranch.
“When young people take responsibility to find answers to challenges, extraordinary change happens – in youth themselves and in their communities,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4‑H Council. “Opportunities like Citizenship Washington Focus help inspire active citizenship and position youth with the skills they need to succeed in their life and career.”