Local 4-H Teens Represent NJ at National Leadership Program

Aug 08, 2018
Supplied Photo Liana Trebour (left) and Nora Hansen.

Horses led – figuratively – both Nora Hansen of Barnegat and Liana Trebour from Parkertown to 4-H. And 4-H, earlier this summer, took the two teenagers all the way down to Washington, D.C. for the fifth annual 4-H Leadership Washington Focus Conference.

Hansen, 13, and a soon-to-be eighth-grader at Russell O. Brackman Middle School, and Trebour, 14, and headed into ninth grade at Pinelands Regional Junior High School, were selected to represent New Jersey at the five-day conference, held in late July at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

“Leadership Washington Focus is a 4-H leadership development program for 4-H members entering grades 7 to 9,” said Tamara Pellien, 4-H county agent. Our area’s 4-H is part of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Cooperative Extension of Ocean County, and incorporates a “learn-by-doing approach that enables youth to become competent, caring and contributing citizens of the world,” as the website ocean.njaes.rutgers.edu/4h explains.

The national conference, as Pellien remarked, provided an opportunity for the attendees to “develop communication skills, increase leadership capacity and build lifetime skills,” with the nation’s capital as classroom.

As Hansen pointed out, “To be selected for the 4-H Leadership Washington Focus Conference, we each had to be recommended by the Ocean County 4-H Office and complete a written application about our leadership involvement with 4-H, school and our community. Part of the application process included our knowledge on being a leader, leadership and what we hoped to learn about it.”

“These applications were then sent into the state’s office, and they decided whether the applicant would be a delegate,” Trebour added.

Hansen said she first got involved with 4-H – at 8 years old – when she started riding horses at Mike Kelly’s Horse Farm in Barnegat. She soon joined the 4-H Cross Street Riders Horse Club, of which she is president, and then also the Horse Science Club, for which she serves as treasurer; Veterinarian Club; and Photography Club.

“The clubs participate in horse and academic events at a club, county and state level,” said Hansen. “Community service is a requirement as well. This year the club participated in horseshoe crab tagging, community cleanup, food baskets and many more.”

Trebour, too, recounted her introduction to 4-H, which included horses, and the Horse Science Club. “I am now involved in many different 4-H clubs and projects such as 4-H Cross Street Riders, photography and veterinary science,” she stated.

As the national conference approached, both girls were excited, and also happy they had each other along for the experience. “I was beyond glad that Nora was able to attend the conference with me,” said Trebour. “That definitely made it a lot easier to be away from home.”

While in D.C., the delegates were constantly engaged. “The conference was very organized, and we were always busy,” Hansen noted. “Each day we had a different trip and activities.”

“Every day we would all go on a field trip to different locations such as Capitol Hill, the Library of Congress, the Museum of American History and other historical points of interest,” said Trebour. “After or before the trips we would have ‘breakout’ sessions. These sessions were with a group of kids from different parts of the country. This is mainly when we would learn about being a leader, and we would do icebreaker activities to help us learn more about one other. Everyone in our breakout group felt a lot closer to one another in the end.”

Trebour and Hansen agreed one of the most memorable parts of the conference was the opportunity to meet people from other states. “I never expected that by the end I would have friends from Missouri and Kentucky,” Trebour remarked.

“Also, I never expected that Washington, D.C. would be so breathtaking,” she added. “Now that I have been to Washington, D.C., I have a greater appreciation for the history of America.”

Hansen, too, said she really enjoyed “going to the capital and learning about our country’s past.”

“The conference was such a great experience, and I am glad I was given the opportunity to attend,” she continued. “I hope to attend more leadership events, including Citizen Washington Focus when I am a 4-H senior.”

As Trebour stated, “One of the many things that truly impacted me about this trip was the fact that Nora and I were the first delegates from Ocean County to ever attend Leadership Washington Focus. In two years, we both plan to apply for Citizenship Washington Focus.”

“The 4-H motto,” Hansen concluded, “is to ‘Make the Best Better.’ 4-H clubs give me the opportunity to be a good leader and a helpful citizen to my community.”

Financial assistance for the delegates’ travel and tuition costs was provided by the First Pioneer Agricultural Leadership Fund – Joshua Geary Fund and the Ocean County Farm Bureau, Ocean County Board of Agriculture and Ocean County 4-H Association.

For more information about the Ocean County 4-H program, call 732-349-1227 or visit the 4-H website ocean.njaes.rutgers.edu/4h. —J.K.-H.

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