4-H-ers return to New Hampshire with Plans for Healthy Living

4-H youth speaks at summit

In the month of February, I experienced an event that affected my perspective of 4-H and what it has to offer. I attended the National Healthy Living Summit held at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. This was my first time at the center. My experience, however, began long before I entered the auditorium for the welcoming ceremony on Feb. 16. It began the moment I went through the Marketing You program and decided to apply for this amazing opportunity.

I remember walking through the door to my interview with Kate Thomas and Heidi Barker. I was extremely nervous, but at the same time, I knew I was going to be all right because I am effective at talking about what I have done for myself, my club and my community. The interview began and, as soon as it started, it was over. Now it was time to wait. It wasn’t long before my fellow 4-H’ers and I found out who was going to which trip; the results were announced at the Teen Conference banquet dinner, another 4-H event I absolutely love. I was lucky enough to have been chosen to attend the Healthy Living Summit, and at that moment, my journey began.

Three other 4-H’ers also were chosen. From June 2017 all the way up to a week before the trip in 2018, we, along with Heidi Barker, exchanged emails, communicated with each other and prepared for the trip. No amount of preparation, however, could have readied me for this type of national experience. Coming from the quaint state of New Hampshire, it isn’t very often that I get a national point of view on 4-H topics such as activities and lifestyle.

At the National 4-H Center, we were surrounded with a diverse selection of opinions. These perspectives didn’t come only from the other teenagers. Various speakers, chaperones and workshop hosts each had something different to offer. This variety also applied to the general topics and the larger subject of healthy living. Most commonly, I think of eating fruits and vegetables as the biggest part of healthy living, but what I learned at the summit is that healthy living is so much more than that.

Healthy living is not just making sure you have a glass of milk a day. Yes, nutritional health is crucial to a healthy life, but factors such as physical fitness and relationships also play a huge part. As an attendee of this summit, I went to workshops about these topics and learned how I can then bring these concepts back to New Hampshire. I didn’t just gain information and knowledge. I also learned how to incorporate this information into games and activities so I can relay the information easily back to my communities. Opportunities like this don’t happen very often, and I am beyond grateful I was lucky enough to have been a part of the summit.

My group and I have come back from this trip with a plan. We are excited to implement what we have learned in our homes and towns and want to see our state grow healthier each year. This new passion and excitement of mine wouldn’t have developed if it wasn’t for this opportunity, and that is invaluable to me.

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by Chryssabella Craig