Each year 4-H students compete for the honor of being one of only eight people chosen statewide to represent their hometown as a student ambassador.
Students who want to participate in this challenge have quite a daunting task in front of them. The selection process takes three months to complete. Twenty or more kids participate each year beginning with a project aimed toward developing 4-H in their county. Following this project, candidates must be interviewed, present a resume and portfolio, give an eight-minute memorized speech, a five-minute impromptu speech and a 15-minute presentation about their project.
After all the speeches and presentations are finished, students must present a 20-minute workshop to their fellow applicants and other important 4-H members. There is also an inter-candidate ranking that takes place. Each candidate must rate their fellow students with a ranking from 1 to 18. The candidates who make it through have an overnighter where their conduct with each other is observed.
This year, Morgan 4-H competitor Ellissa Clark was selected as one of the final eight ambassadors. As a 4-H ambassador, Clark recently had the opportunity to shadow Representative Mel Brown at the Utah State Legislature.
This was a rare opportunity for these ambassadors. The ambassadors run a mock legislative session with 4-H youth from around the state each April, where they have the opportunity to visit the House Chamber, learn about the legislative process and debate 15 bills presented by their peers. However, this is the first time in years the ambassadors have had the opportunity to attend when the legislative session was in full swing.
Rep. Paul Ray of Davis County sponsors the Mock Legislature and made it possible for the ambassadors to attend the session this year.
Clark said she really enjoyed the process even though it was tough. She said that because the process is so lengthy, there are a lot of opportunities to make lasting friendships.
“I really loved the people and loved seeing how the process actually worked. I always thought that it would be really strict. I thought people would get in trouble if they spoke out of turn. It really wasn’t that way though. The process is actually pretty laid back,” commented Clark.
The eight ambassadors were Chloe Kranendonk, Salt Lake; Ellissa Clark, Morgan; Josie Slade, Orem; Jory Peppelaar, Glenwood; Reece Elmer, Richfield; Erin Major, Avon; Kylee Breeding, Plain City; and Elissa Sump, Lehi. These eight shadowed two senators and six representatives.
The experience gave the ambassadors a great head start in their preparation for the mock legislative session in April.