Wrap-Up of the National 4-H Youth Summit on Healthy Living 2020

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National 4-H Youth Summit on Healthy Living 2020

On February 13, over 300 delegates from all over the United States gathered at the National 4-H Center for the National 4-H Youth Summit on Healthy Living, in Chevy Chase, MD. Five outstanding youth represented North Carolina’s two Land-Grant Universities, North Carolina State University (Autumn Apple, Alaysia Perry, A’Shari Watlington, Na’Shara McNeill, and Coleman Brothers) and North Carolina A&T State University. 

4-H Youth Summit participants

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

A strong theme of equity resonated with our youth as Dr. Gail Christoper, a change agent for social justice, opened the summit with a moving discussion on our responsibility to serve the underserved and advocate for equal access to health resources. The Healthy Living Summit gave the opportunity for youth to learn innovative ways to encourage healthy lifestyle choices and better reach their communities through 4-H Healthy Living Programs. 

4-H members

“I learned all kinds of things from so many different points of views.” -Alaysia Perry

To better understand the needs of our communities, a poverty simulation guided youth through the life of a person below the national poverty level. During an outing to the University of Maryland, youth participated in a food waste audit to observe the importance of portion sizes and eliminating food waste. In addition to topics on food waste, teens discussed ways to balance their diet, learned tips and tricks for nutrition education, and learned the importance of positive relationships between youth and adults. 

two 4-H members

“This trip has taught me how to care for others” -Coleman Brothers

Delegates used the knowledge gained from these experiences to develop a community action plan for their individual local communities. Each of the youth presented their action plan for an opportunity to win a mini-grant under the Robert F. Wood Foundation and implement this plan. From Warren County, Alaysia and Coleman teamed up in a plan to build a youth mentoring program for elementary school students in their community, supply them with academic resources, and serve as positive role-models. Autumn Apple, from Brunswick County, planned for a community health fair to showcase the healthy living resources available in her community.

In service to those in the surrounding D.C. community, 4-H teens led the way in supporting projects. As a treat, our delegates explored the U.S. National Mall, viewed National Monuments during the night, and toured the National Gallery of Art! These opportunities allowed for youth to network with people from all over the United States and learn the importance of collaboration. It was absolutely amazing to see the genuine connections that youth made with one another. 

Youth Summit participants

 “I met people from all over the US and made SO MANY unbreakable bonds!” -Autumn Apple

Written by Kenan Bridges, N.C. 4-H Healthy Living Program Coordinator