A capital opportunity comes to local 4-H’er

Van Soelen

Riley Van Soelen has been selected to represent La Plata County for the Citizenship Washington Focus trip slated for June. He will experience the nation’s capital and governmental processes firsthand.

Citizenship Washington Focus is a 4-H summer civic education and leadership program for high school youths held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

Riley, a seven-year member of the Mountaineers 4-H Club, is the son of Tom and Cheri Van Soelen of Durango. He has completed 4-H projects in shooting sports, market goats, pigs, steers and rabbits. In addition, Riley has learned important life skills through attending many state 4-H leadership conferences.

When asked about his learning, Riley said, “4-H has taught me about the responsibility and appreciation it takes to raise animals and work the land.”

For more than 40 years, 4-H members from across the country have attended the National 4-H Youth Conference Center. These 4-H youths broaden their appreciation and respect for themselves and others in the world through civic workshops, committees and field trips. Participants learn and practice skills intended to make them better citizens and successful individuals. Nearly 2,000 youths will attend Citizenship Washington Focus, or CWF, in 2013.

“CWF is a premier 4-H opportunity that allows some of the brightest 4-H youths from across the country to visit their national 4-H home and explore the nation’s capital,” said Donald T. Floyd Jr., president and CEO of the National 4-H Council. “These youths are exceptional leaders today, learning through 4-H how they can impact their communities, country and world now and in the future.”

Riley is excited to represent La Plata County 4-H next month.

“I really look forward to gaining a better understanding of the political process,” he said. “I hope to take the knowledge I learn back to my community to make it a better place.”

I also asked Riley our state 4-H media campaign’s question of, “What’s your H?”

“My H is Hands,” he said. “I am big into rodeo and feel I use my hands to accomplish a lot in my life.”

We wish Riley the best on his trip and look forward to hearing how it all goes.

It is going to be an exciting summer for all of our 4-H members. This summer, 4-H’ers will be taking part in STEM Adventure Days, Livestock and Horse Days, 4-H marketplace and working demonstration workshops and much more. Members can check with the extension office to still enroll with some of these great activities.

Also, the San Juan Basin 4-H Natural Resources Camp will be June 26-28 this year along the Pine River in Bayfield. Activities include topics in botany, water quality, astronomy and archery combined with regular camp activities like camping, hiking, camp songs and crafts.

Finally, the theme is out for the Aug. 7-11 La Plata County Fair; it is “Where Farm meets Fun.”

felsengh@co.laplata.co.us or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.

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