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American Samoa 4-H Youth Council Attend The 2024 National 4-H Conference In Washington DC

Members of the American Samoa 4-H Youth Council and ASCC-ACNR at the 2024 National 4-H Conference in Washington, D.C. from April 19-24, 2024. (L-R, Back row) Esene Su’a, Iosefa Luamanu, Asifoaeuta K. Lagai, and Shelton Ume; (Middle row) Faagutu Salanoa, Renee Dunson, Maria Dolorosa Talatau, Tuluiga Siaki, Ida Tatupu, and Heavenlee Ames; (Front row) Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Aliimau Petaia, Ngaire Cendrowski, Fuarosa Molesi, Lemafoe Muliipu, and 4-H Agent Toepo Leiataua. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The American Samoa 4-H Youth Council represented American Samoa in the 2024 National 4-H Conference held in Washington, D.C. from April 19-24th. The National 4-H Conference is an annual premier civic engagement opportunity for 4-H members across the United States and serves as a centerpiece for 4-H promotion and development of civic engagement among youth.

Each year, every Land Grant University 4-H Department is invited to send a delegation of high-school-aged 4-H’ers to Washington, DC, to participate in the conference. This year, American Samoa’s delegation consisted of 13 current members of the American Samoa 4-H Youth Council: Fuarosa Molesi, Heavenlee Ames, Renee Dunson, Ngaire Cendrowski, Tuluiga Siaki, Lemafoe Muliipu, Ida Tatupu, Maria Dolorosa Talatau, Asifoaeuta K. Lagai, Iosefa Luamanu, Esene Su’a, Shelton Ume, and Faagutu Salanoa. Three delegates received scholarships for free travel and conference registration. The delegation was accompanied by the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) – Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR) Extension Coordinator and Territorial 4-H Program Leader Tialavea Molly Asifoa-Lagai, 4-H Agent Toepo Leiataua, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent Aliimau Petaia, Ag Extension Agent Mele Faiai, and Forestry Technician Pasia Setu.

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The conference included workshops, meetings with federal government officials, and other activities aimed at developing leadership skills and increasing participants' understanding of government functions and civic responsibilities. The delegates engaged in personal development experiences, networked with other 4-H youth, and participated in several roundtable discussions. During the conference, they discussed topics affecting youth and provided input to help shape future 4-H programming through briefing presentations to federal officials at agencies throughout the Washington, D.C. area.

“The conference is a platform for learning, but more importantly for the 4-H members to voice their opinions, share their unique perspectives, and contribute to the broader community planning and decision-making,” said Asifoa-Lagai. “All AS delegates did a good job with their presentations at the different federal agencies.”

The members of the American Samoa 4-H Youth Council collectively expressed their gratitude for the support and guidance they received throughout their conference journey in a Facebook post on the ASCC – ACNR Facebook page. In the post, they thanked several people including Bishop Kolio Tumanuvao Etuale, ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi-Pato, ASCC-ACNR Director Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta, ASCC-ACNR Extension Cordinator Asifoa-Lagai and staff, their 4-H clubs and advisors, families and friends, their parents, and God. Regarding the conference, they stated, “The knowledge, skills, and friendships we gained during the conference will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on our lives and our community. We return home with a renewed sense of purpose and a commitment to applying what we've learned to effect positive change in our territory.”

Established in 2023, the American Samoa 4-H Youth Council provides youth expanded citizenship and leadership opportunities and serves as the youth voice and advisory to the 4-H Youth Development Program at ASCC-ACNR. Currently, council members consist of high school juniors and seniors from three 4-H Chartered Clubs in the territory: Oceania Tautua, Leasina County, and the Nuuuli Vocational Technical High School Building, Construction, and Technology (BCT) 4-H Club. For more information about the 4-H Youth Development Program, contact ASCC-ACNR at 699-1575 or visit the website acnr.amsamoa.edu.

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