While students arrived to Gannon and Goldsworthy dorms to register and check in on Sunday afternoon, on June 28th,they all were very excited to start the festivities. They talked with their new friends and waited to head up to their dorm rooms. After settling in their rooms, students went out and explored the Washington State University campus with their adult GEAR UP supervisor. Some students went to the rec center to jump in the pool, play volleyball, or do some exercise. Exploring the WSU campus was very rewarding for the students because they got to become familiar with the campus while also having fun with their new acquaintances.
As students transitioned from a little free time, all students were directed to Thompson Flats to have a large barbeque. Shortly after having dinner, the students sat on the grass and had a motivational speaker, Carlos Ojera Jr. talk about how important youth empowerment is and how students need to be their own voice. It was very clear that students made at least one connection with Carlos because they all raved about him. Carlos touched all students and adults when he revealed that he is deaf but has overcome the struggle he had with his disability as he was growing up.
As the adult supervisors made their way to their orientation meeting, students stayed with the 4-H conference leaders and participated in all sorts of group challenges and ice breakers. After the sun set, students and their adult supervisors all made their way to their dorm rooms and called it a day.
Early Monday morning, some students went for a run or participated in exercise activities. After this, students gathered for breakfast at Southside Dining Hall. From breakfast, all students broke off and walked to their assigned workshops. An interesting workshop was the Handwriting Workshop that focused on teaching students lost workplace skills. At this workshop students got to learn about the two different writing types of print, which are D’Nealian and Standard print. Students practiced these styles by writing in both. Other workshops included student’s definition of citizenship and also about the connection 4-H has with Burundi. This workshop included some team building skills by having the whole group hold a bed sheet as tight as possible and then have a ball, which represents the globe, roll around without falling off the bed sheet. The catch was that slowly people started to let go of the bed sheet which represented people dying off, and in result made students realize that without teamwork and the people in our world it would be very difficult for the world to function. This workshop also informed students that WSU 4-H is raising money and awareness to give back to Burundi sister schools because of their current financial situation.
Once students finished their last workshop they made their way back to their dorm rooms to get dressed for the evening banquet that was held at the Schweitzer Building. Students were presented with a fancy dinner that was paired with a guest speaker who spoke about different ways of preparing oneself for college and the future. Following the banquet, students were bused back to campus and some got to listen to another speaker, Tyler S. who spoke about his tragic car accident due to reckless speeding while others played games and participated in craft activities with other students.
On the last day of the 4-H Teen Conference, students enjoyed a nice buffet style breakfast and then walked over to the CUB building. There, students were spilt up into two big groups, one attended the Career and Education Fair at the CUB Ballroom and the other group traveled to the CUE Building and participated in the Who Wants To Be a Credit Card Millionaire Financial Literacy Workshop. This workshop taught students about the different terminology in the credit world. Students got to play Who Wants To Be a Millionaire with questions that were related to credit.
After students got to talk to different universities and companies at the Career and Education Fair, they were sat down for a conference closing. Guest speaker, Carlos Ojera Jr. spoke about losing his father so abruptly and how that tragic event made him realize that he regretted not doing more with his father before he lost him. He told students that they needed to tell their family or whomever they are close with, that they love them because they need to know that. It was an emotional speech but also an impactful one because students were able to connect with Carlos. Following the speaker, students were given their Ignite Your Future t-shirts and were instructed to write what ignites their futures inside the flame that was printed on the back of the shirt. After that, students were given the opportunity to sign each other’s t-shirts and then they were saluted with a goodbye from all the camp leaders and director Jan Klein and encouraged them to come back again next year.
Thanks to River View High School GEAR UP, 4-H Teen Conference, River View High School Principal, Bryan Long, and everyone else who allowed these students to experience this Teen Conference. These students had a great time at the 4-H Teen Conference up in Pullman. Irene Cuevas specifically said, “All the workshops were my favorite part of the conference and also my roommate.” Another Finley 4-H camper, Andres Flores said “My favorite workshop was workshop A (Combat Challenge).” Andres also mentioned that before he attended the 4-H Teen Conference he was set on joining the Military after high school but because of the conference he was introduced to another career option which is becoming a firefighter. These students were glad they got to experience such a wonderful exposure to college life and said they really enjoyed the 4-H Teen Conference.