Ohio Teens Take on Health at the National Youth Summit on Healthy Living

What do you get when you combine teams of teens, plus a heaping teaspoon of health, with a dash of DC? The 2017 National Youth Summit on Healthy Living!

Thanks to the Ohio 4-H Foundation’s investment in the Ohio 4-H Health Heroes, a 14-member delegation participated in this national opportunity along with teens from 26 states. This is the third year Ohio has had a team attend the summit.

The four days in February were packed with workshops, leading activities, participating in action planning sessions and sightseeing in our nation’s capital.

The best part, according to Rory Smith from Medina County was “meeting a ton of people, and even though they are from different states, we could share ideas together.” That sentiment was echoed by George Rak, also from Medina County, who added, “There are people from all over the country who are all working toward the same goal.”

The Ohio teens were involved in teaching three sessions of Water First for Thirst, a program created by Carol Smathers, FCS Field Specialist, and Theresa Ferrari, 4-H Extension Specialist. They also assisted Kelly Coble, 4-H Educator, Allen County with the Cutting Board Challenge.

This year’s delegation made some ambitious plans for what to do back in Ohio. They created, presented, and submitted three action plans for projects they would undertake in 2017.

·         4th H for Health Challenge

·         The Face of Addiction: The Face in the Mirror…Could Be You

·         Expanding County-Level Health Heroes Programs – Columbiana County

After attending a session of the 4th H for Health Challenge at the Summit, teens wanted to bring this challenge back to Ohio, according to Molly Hunt from Darke County. It brings health down to the club level because clubs will be challenged to include several healthy practices at their meetings: (1) drink water, (2) provide a healthy snack, (3) add 15 minutes of physical activity, and (4) include an activity that focuses on social and emotional wellness. Participating clubs and counties with the greatest percentage of involvement will receive recognition at next year’s Ohio 4-H Conference.

The Face of Addiction: The Face in the Mirror…Could Be You responds to Ohio’s opioid crisis. “The most surprising thing that I learned was actually that our own state was #1 in terms of drug overdose deaths. It really made me want to do something to change that,” said Rak. For this project, teens will create displays featuring a medicine cabinet that can be taken to clubs, fairs, and other events to educate about the drug epidemic and how to safely dispose of medications. “What most people don’t realize,” Ferrari said, “is that prescription opioids found in medicine cabinets in many homes can be the unintentional starting point of drug addiction.”

Another goal the group has is to expand the concept of healthy living advocates to the county-level. Kylie Cline, 4-H member from Columbiana County, and Columbiana County 4-H Educator Nicole Miller have taken on that project.

All three plans were funded with $500 mini-grants with funding provided to National 4-H Council from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Another highlight of the trip was getting to visit some of the museums, memorials, and monuments on the National Mall. The group visited the National Archives, Museum of Natural History, and American History Museum, as well as using the metro, bus, and walking to get around. Sunday’s night tour included the Lincoln Memorial; the Korean, Vietnam, and World War II memorials; and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The unseasonably warm weather was a bonus, especially on the night tour, which incorporated more walking than typical for February.

All three plans were funded with $500 mini-grants with funding provided to National 4-H Council from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

A highlight of the trip was getting to visit some of the museums, memorials, and monuments on the National Mall. The group visited the National Archives, Museum of Natural History, and American History Museum, as well as using the metro, bus, and walking to get around. Sunday’s night tour included the Lincoln Memorial; the Korean, Vietnam, and World War II memorials and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The unseasonably warm weather was a bonus, especially on the night tour, which incorporated more walking than typical for February.

This dedicated group of teens is working hard to “make the best better” to bring the Fourth H to the forefront in Ohio. Stay tuned for future updates on their projects.

 

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