Clark 4-H’ers attend inauguration
Published 8:03 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017
For a year and a half, District 4 4-H Agents and youth from across the Bluegrass Region have been planning and preparing for the 4-H National Citizenship Washington Focus: 2017 Presidential Inauguration Conference.
After months of fundraising and attending workshops focusing on the presidential election process, youth culminated these experiences with a trip of a lifetime to witness the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. The schedule included a 4-H Inauguration Ball dinner cruise on the Potomac River.
Four Clark county youth were among the 503 youth from across the country to attend this inaugural 4-H conference. The following are stories from their trip.
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Being at the 2017 presidential inauguration was very inspiring. Despite the cold, despite the rain, despite the fact that I was too short to see much, I felt a sense of patriotism like I’d never felt before. The sheer volume of people in attendance was incredible and hearing the sound of all those people cheering during the ceremony was overwhelming. I will never forget that day.
Another thing that I will never forget was all the leadership classes we had at the National 4-H Conference Center. The classes were interactive, fun and informative. While at the Center, I met other 4-H’ers from all across the United States, even Alaska. I had the chance to room with people from other parts of Kentucky and now count them among my friends.
We also got to go on several fantastic tours during the week, including a nighttime tour of the National Mall, the Smithsonian museums, and, my favorite, the Newseum, where we got to touch a piece of the Berlin Wall. We also visited three presidential homes — Mount Vernon, Montpelier, and Monticello.
I am thankful to 4-H for providing the opportunity for me to attend a historical event of this magnitude. I offer a huge thanks to our Clark County 4-H agent Heather Cassill and former agent Rachel Noble for making this trip possible. It was only through the support of our many sponsors that we were able to attend. I am grateful to all of them but would like to especially thank East Kentucky Power Cooperative, where my dad works, for sponsoring me and the other Clark County 4-Hers. Finally, I want to thank my mom and dad (and all the other parents) who worked hard in our fundraising and planning efforts.
Going to Washington, D.C., was an amazing adventure! We got to see a lot of monuments, visited a couple of the Smithsonian museums, and even toured a few presidents’ houses. My favorite part about this trip was seeing the new president being sworn in, hearing the cheers of the crowds and just being a part of history in the making. It was a thrilling experience. I want to thank everyone who made this trip possible Kentucky Bank, Rose Swope, and my Aunt Tracy just to name a few. This trip was a once and a lifetime opportunity which I will always remember and hold dear.
I have always been fascinated by history and those who made it. Before we got to the National 4-H conference center, we visited the homes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington. I was already in complete awe of these people but after seeing their homes, I walked away with a bigger insight into their lives. Walking through the doorway felt like I was stepping back into the past. This trip made history come alive.
Once we got to the 4-H center, it was non-stop. We had several different speakers on different aspects of government and the media that surrounds it. I was able to visit the Newseum and the Archives. At the Newseum, my favorite part was the 9/11 exhibit. Though I was only 2 when 9/11 happened, the aftermath is still very prevalent and affects me. It was very emotional to hear the first-hand accounts of the people there and who witnessed it. At the Archives, I saw the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Personally seeing the signatures of the founding fathers on the document that has continued to shape this country gave me chill bumps.
It was such an honor to represent Clark County and Kentucky at the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. It was a display of how you can disagree with the governing powers and their decisions but you still have to respect and wish them the best because they are the one leading your country.
I would like to thank my parents, David and Tonna Dodd, Rose Swope, Nancy Centers, the Clark County Farmers Market, Winchester Federal Bank, Farm Credit Mid-America, Creative Coffees Roastery and those that contributed to the fundraiser for personally helping me get to DC and participate in the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I remember getting into Washington, D.C., and thinking, how can such a small place be such a big deal? I enjoyed how different it was; there were so many people and so many things to see but sadly there just wasn’t enough time for all of it. I wanted to explore every nook and cranny while there and eat at every amazing-looking restaurant.
This trip was so much fun I didn’t even realize how much I was learning about our nation’s history and even a few scandals. Being able to attend the inauguration was an amazing experience, even if a cold one! Seeing first hand our new president being sworn in is something I’ll never forget and cherish for a lifetime. My favorite part was the dinner and dance cruise on the Potomac River. I loved being able see the city from the water and dance for what felt like hours. I wish every other teen in Kentucky had the chance to expand their borders and see where the most important things in our country happen.
I hope to see more teen involvement in 4-H and more once in a lifetime experiences happening across the state. I would like to give a special thanks to The Greater Clark Foundation, Kentucky Bank and Rankin Paynter for helping this wonderful trip become possible.