4-H Legislative Day
Mississippi 4-H officers and ambassadors at the Mississippi State Capitol.
Photo essay by Michaela Parker
Legislative Day is a favorite among 4-H’ers. Each year, Mississippi 4-H Council officers and ambassadors spend a day visiting their legislative leaders at the Mississippi State Capitol. Not only is the visit an interesting experience for 4-H’ers learning about how state government works, but it’s also a way to thank legislators for their support of 4-H and the Mississippi State University Extension Service, which oversees 4-H statewide.
Dressed in their distinctive green jackets, the 4-H’ers mingled with state leaders in both the House and the Senate chambers. LeFlore County 4-H’er Jaylin Smith, Mississippi 4-H president, received a standing ovation after she told members of the Senate about her 4-H experience.
After the morning sessions ended, many legislators attended the annual Legislative Day appreciation luncheon, sponsored by Mississippi AT&T and held in downtown Jackson. Celebrating the relationship between 4-H and legislators, AT&T also sponsored club awards highlighting some of the best and brightest 4-H groups around the state for their achievements, service, and leadership.
The handshakes and conversations between 4-H’ers and legislators are moments the students won’t forget, as the leaders of tomorrow meet with the leaders of today.
LeFlore County 4-H’er Jaylin Smith, 2018-19 Mississippi 4-H president, received a standing ovation from the Mississippi Senate for the speech she gave in February:
My name is Jaylin R. Smith, Mississippi 4-H’s 2018–2019 State Council president, and it is truly an honor to stand before such an esteemed group of changemakers. Today, I have been blessed with the opportunity to talk about the greatness that is Mississippi 4-H.
Last September made 3 years that I have been part of an organization that treats me like more than just a member—I am a daughter, sister, and friend. In 4-H, I am not seen for my color or my size or my dialect, but I am seen for Jaylin, a young lady that aspires to change her Mississippi for the better, and appreciates the culture of love and hospitality that oozes from every street within state lines.
As 4-H’ers, a diversity of knowledge is instilled in us. Whether it is horticulture or health and fitness, pig judging or public speaking, we are not only able to relate to each other as 4-H’ers, but we can also tend to a world that begs for our influence and experiences, so that, one day, we may be so fortunate to sit in those same seats and promote the progress, the productivity, and the power that is Mississippi 4-H.
To my Senate, thank you. Thank you for the love, support, and policy that you have put in place to preserve 4-H. Thank you for being a model of the results of accepted diversity. Thank you for being one phone call away. And with that gratitude, I pose a challenge to you and all of Mississippi 4-H to use our voices for those who cannot speak for themselves, our legs for those who cannot stand, and our strength and power for those who are weak.
And as we say in 4-H, I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world. Thank you.