St. John 4-H’ers experience ‘jam-packed’ week at Citizenship Washington Focus

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2023

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WASHINGTON DC–Two St. John Parish 4-H members were recently immersed in a comprehensive citizenship program sponsored by the National 4-H Council called Citizenship Washington Focus.

  Xavier Bell, St. John Parish 4-H Agent, once interned for this national 4-H program and felt the need to bring it back so youth in Louisiana could experience it. Bell said when he was a 4-H member, he did not have the opportunity to participate in the event, but since having the opportunity to intern and lead delegations through the experience, he wanted to make sure his 4 H’ers  saw the vast opportunities 4-H can give to a child.

  This summer, 10 4-H members from six parishes across Louisiana made up the Louisiana 4-H delegation, and of the 10, two youth were from St. John Parish. 

Bell said, “Citizenship Washington Focus is one of the unique 4-H experiences a high school member can participate in.” During the event, youth learned about the legislative process, how to have civil conversations while talking about current issues, and drafting community action plans.

  Although 4-H’ers dedicated themselves to intensive citizenship activities at the conference hotel, there was still time for other events. The youth went on a nighttime tour of the WW2 Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam War Veterans Memorial; visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian National Zoo, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, a private tour of the National Portrait Gallery, as well as took meetings with staff members of the Louisiana Congressional Delegation on Capitol Hill.

  “What makes this program so unique is, it is intentional about using Washington D.C. as its classroom and allow youth to view the federal city differently than most tourist,” said Bell. “Youth become inspired to get more involved civically and engage in current affairs by participating in this event.”

  The St. John Parish 4-H program will continue to offer programs like this to expose youth to endless possibilities. Learn more about 4-H in St John Parish at or find them on Facebook.