Area students were recently given the chance to take a trip to Washington, D.C. The students were able to see the sights and also discuss prominent national issues with fellow 4-H participants from around the country. The trip is offered every other year, and qualifying students have half their expenses paid by the John Hattery Fund.
“We talked about a lot of hot issues today, like gun rights and gay marriage, with people from all over the country,” said Garrett Longnecker, 17, a senior at Nevada High School this fall. “It was interesting to hear what everyone had to say.”
Flying to a metropolitan area was quite a change from the cattle operation outside Nevada that Longnecker calls home. His 4-H projects have included showing cross-bred steers and Hereford heifers, continuing the 4-H tradition of his parents, Jeff and Twila, and older sisters Kaylee, Chasity and Sydnee.
Creighton Caple, 15, a Collins-Maxwell sophomore, also visited the nation’s capital and continued his own family’s tradition of learning through the local 4-H program. Caple’s older brother Drake, and parents Bryce and Beth, have all been part of a 4-H club. Caple has worked on a variety of projects, including food and nutrition; swine; and citizenship projects like the viewing benches installed at the Maxwell Prairie just south of town, as well as a presentation at this year’s Story County Fair on the Washington, D.C. trip. Caple also enjoyed the mix of sightseeing and hearing from his 4-H peers across the country.
“It was really interesting to see perspectives on different things, like minimum wage,” said Caple. “I really liked all the monuments, too, but if you ask me which one was my favorite, you’ll get 100 different answers. I learned a lot of American history that you wouldn’t expect to learn on a 4-H trip. I didn’t know the Roosevelt Memorial had four different waterfalls for his four terms.”
Another student who took advantage of the trip offered was Chasity Moody, a 16-year old junior at Collins-Maxwell. Moody enjoyed meeting Senators Grassley and Latham and visiting Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate. Moody, who grew up on a cattle and hog farm southeast of Maxwell, inherited her love of working with cattle from her father, aunts and uncles. She has shown swine and cattle and participated in projects dealing with food and nutrition, visual art, woodworking and fashion review.
“It was great to see things face-to-face and not just in textbooks,” said Moody, “I would highly recommend it even if you’re a little scared. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”