4-H members meet N.H. legislators

An overhead shot of N.H. 4-H members seated in the New Hampshire Senate's chambers.

"These are your seats. The seats of the people." That's what Virginia Drew, director of the State House visitors' center, told 60 young 4-H members on April 26 as they sat down in the legislative chambers of the storied New Hampshire State House. Their tour was just the beginning of the first 4-H Citizenship Day in New Hampshire.

The day was the brainchild of 4-H program coordinator Michele King, who works on building leadership skills of 4-H members. "I think living in New Hampshire requires that you know how government works," she says. "And what better way to do that than to go to the State House, meet your legislator and ask questions?"

After an introductory tour, King moderated a session with legislators, who answered questions about why they ran for office, how a law is made and what a typical workday is like. When King asked if citizen input is important, New Hampshire Sen. Dan Feltes said, "Anything you do to participate in our democracy is seen and heard and makes an impact."

For most participants, the highlight of the day was eating lunch with the elected officials who represent their hometowns. Over turkey sandwiches and potato chips, the seasoned representatives and future leaders chatted about 4-H projects, current events and what the future may hold.

What citizenship means to me...

It means caring, but also doing something about that — doing something about your feelings and what you think is important.
—Daisy Burnes, 17, Belknap County

It’s setting an example for the rest of your community and paving the way and making decisions that benefit everyone and not just yourself.
—Hannah Falcone, 16, Sullivan County

It’s really standing up for what you believe in your community and really making a difference in what you believe your community should be.
—Turner Jennings, 17, Belknap County

This story originally appeared in the 2017 edition of Radius.