The 4-H Club Orcas Fur and Feathers sent four high school delegates to the four-day Washington 4-H Know Your Government conference in Olympia to learn about civil discourse and the effects of bias in the media. From Feb. 16 -19, delegates Anwyn Thompson, Sofia Fleming, Rachel Lum and Martha Lum participated in group discussions of current issues and community service, and created presentations and posts for multiple social media platforms for their topics with other delegates from around the state.
Each Orcas delegate worked with a group of peers to share their assigned topic on social media. Each group created a short YouTube video; a blog post; and Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts on homelessness, renewable energy, human trafficking or the Hanford Project. Orcas delegates participated in the opioid crisis, free higher education, immigration or later start times in school. Delegate Anwyn Thompson represents the opioid group and believes the conference gave her a better understanding of communication. “I learned how to spot bias in the media, take part in civil discourse and create neutral arguments about controversial subjects,” said Thompson, when reflecting on her experience. Working to create a YouTube video allowed her to expand her knowledge of her topic. “Before I went to this year’s KYG conference, I had only heard of the opioid crisis. Now I can help take part in the fight to help stop it, by sharing my knowledge that I learned from KYG.”
The delegates were also able to meet with District 40 representatives Jeff Morris and Debra Lekanoff during their time in Olympia. Sofia Fleming expressed how important it was for her to meet with her representatives: “I believe youth need to be active in politics so their opinions, concerns and ideas can be expressed. Meeting my legislators makes it clear — no matter a person’s age their views matter.” During their meetings, the group asked questions about current events in regard to their KYG topics as well as share their experience and why programs like 4-H are so valuable. Last year the conference focused on the legislative branch, with each group supporting a bill, which was passed in a mock session. Last year the Orcas group, made of eight delegates, supported bills focused on orcas protection and the carbon tax. Despite that, neither of these bills are currently active. The current group of delegates was able to discuss these issues with their representatives using the skills they learned.
The delegates would like to thank the community for the donations given to 4-H which allow for the group to attend this event. They would also like to thank their fearless leader Kathy Morris who works so hard to oversee this event. Morris states: “This is my third year taking a group of delegates to Olympia for the 4 H KYG conference. … I am very proud of their accomplishments and grateful to their parents who trusted me with their kids for four days.” The Know Your Government program is open to 4-H members in high school. 4-H is a great way for kids to connect with their community and learn valuable lessons about leadership and agriculture.