OLYMPIA, Wash. – 4-H Know Your Government has been selected as one of five distinguished programs to receive the 2013 Colleen Willoughby Youth Civic Education Award. The statewide award, presented by CityClub of Seattle, recognizes a commitment to developing civic knowledge, skills, experience and values.
“We give teens the tools to understand how to be involved in active citizenship,” said Jan Klein, Washington State University Extension 4-H adolescent specialist. “Once youth realize how the legislature, judicial system or other entity works they see how easy it is to participate.”
The 4-H Know Your Government conference provides hands-on educational opportunities for youth in grades 9-12. Started in 1978, the four-day program in Olympia features curricula about the judicial system, politics and the media, the legislative process and elections and party platforms.
“The 4-H Know Your Government program combines traditional civic knowledge about how government works with real life experience to give students a very important link between theory and practice,” said Diane Douglas, executive director of CityClub of Seattle. “It gives them a personal stake in the outcomes of our democracy.”
The award is a part of CityClub’s larger Youth Civic Education Initiative. Funded by AT&T, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, corporate sponsors and individual donors, the initiative advocates for civic education, highlights great civic education programs in the state, builds a network of practitioners and resources and develops a model program that can be replicated in other places.
The award is named in honor of Colleen Willoughby, one of CityClub’s eight founders, whose lifetime of service is an example of civic leadership.
The 4-H Know Your Government conference will be honored at an awards ceremony in Seattle in Sept. 26.