Glen Rose High School sophomore Winston Lagergren was one of 18 Texas 4-H members who missed out on Thanksgiving at home, but experienced a special trip to the nation’s capital instead.

The students attended the Texas Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Nov. 23-28. The youth participants earned the opportunity as recognition for a first-place 4-H Record Book on the state level.

4-H members document their project activities, leadership and service and submit the book for evaluation at the county level. Record books are entered in one of 29 4-H project areas such as Clothing and Textiles, Beef, Rabbit, Foods and Nutrition or Science, Engineering and Technology. From the county evaluation, one book for each category advances to District competition and then onto State, where approximately 300 books are evaluated.

The Leadership Conference tour recognizes that accomplishment but also serves to challenge the youth to continue their leadership and citizenship experiences.

The Leadership Conference is an experiential activity where 4-H youth experience the culture of Washington D.C. The trip is financed through participant registration fees and in some cases, private or corporate scholarships solicited by individual 4-H members. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo provides significant monetary support.

The week was an outstanding opportunity to enhance the leadership and citizenship skills already possessed by these 4-H members.

Eleven additional youth earned first place honors with their Record Book but were unable to participate in the Conference.

The group arrived in Washington D.C. on Thanksgiving Day. The itinerary included visiting Smithsonian Museums, the Washington National Cathedral, the National Zoo, and a tour of the United States Capitol.

The 4-H members honored and reflected on the sacrifices made by our service men and women while touring Arlington National Cemetery. Texas 4-H members laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and visited other notable grave sites and Arlington House.

The group toured the Pentagon, where the five Armed Services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff were highlighted.

The group ventured to The Kennedy Center for a production of “The Nutrcracker” by the Kansas City Ballet. The participants took a tour of Ford’s Theatre that included visiting the Petersen Home where President Abraham Lincoln spent his final hours. The group was also treated to ‘A Christmas Carol’ in Ford’s Theatre.