Reflection on National 4-H leadership opportunity

Teens have an opportunity to serve on the National 4-H Congress design team. One teen learned a great deal from this experience.

Drew Neyer
Drew Neyer of Isabella County was part of the National 4-H Congress design team member. Photo by Joyce Neyer.

Each year, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development sends a group of delegates to the National 4-H Congress held in Atlanta, Georgia. The National 4-H Congress is a leadership conference held annually where teens learn about leadership, cultures and community service. After attending the program, teens have a chance to elevate their leadership experience by applying to serve on the national design team. Drew Neyer, 18-year-old 4-H member from Isabella County, recently completed his year of national leadership by serving on the design team.

The National 4-H Congress design team is an opportunity for teens to be able help plan and coordinate Congress. Eight kids from across the country are awarded this position each year and are selected from the past year’s delegates. Youth work alongside adults on the design team to help make Congress a success.

“Being on the National 4-H Congress design team was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” said Neyer. “After having an awesome time at Congress in 2018, I wanted to be able to help other kids have the same experience, which is why I was so thrilled to be selected for the design team. Being able to share my ideas and work with other kids at such a huge level helped me build upon leadership skills. I was also quite humbled and amazed at how much work goes into making Congress a success. It was heartwarming to hear how happy the hotel staff was to have Congress delegates year after year, and how much they appreciate and respect all the things that 4-H does. Most importantly, I was able to make a lot of new friends and connections that I will take with me throughout my life.”

In addition to his experience on the National 4-H Congress design team, Neyer has been involved in the Isabella County 4-H Program for 10 years. Locally, Neyer has been engaged in a variety of ways at his county fair showing animals and making still exhibits. He has also helped out with several community service projects that his clubs participate in. Currently, he is in two different 4-H clubs and is president of both.

At the state level, Neyer has been involved with Michigan 4-H Dairy Conference, Michigan 4-H Dairy Days, Michigan Milk Producers Association 4-H Milk Marketing Tour and Michigan 4-H Dairy Judging Team.

At the national level, in addition to being on the National 4-H Congress design team, Neyer has attended National 4-H Dairy Conference, National Agri science Summit, NAILE and All American Dairy Show Dairy Judging Contest.

If you are interested in learning more about local, state and national 4-H opportunities, contact your  county MSU Extension office. Neyer is one of many exceptional youths in the 4-H program. Come join him and many other youths in making a difference in your community, state and nation.

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