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K-State Research and Extension

Kansas 4-H’ers experience state government firsthand

What we are doing:
youth leadershipKansas youths stormed the Statehouse in Topeka February 18-19 to get an up-close look at how government works and how they can become leaders for positive change in their communities.
With the highest numbers in the event's nearly two-decade history, 317 participants ages 13 to 18 participated in the annual Citizenship in Action program. The event, hosted by Kansas 4-H Youth Development, gives teenagers an opportunity to see how to make their voices heard when important decisions need to be made.

Our impact:

  • The students discuss issues relevant to them and that the legislature actually debated in session this year.
  • They experienced what legislators go through on a daily basis and every step in a bill becoming a law ¬— including how long it can take to go from its introduction all the way up to final passing.
  • Kathryn Haffner, a Kansas State University senior and collegiate adviser for the Kansas 4-H Council, said some legislators also attend and hear teens' perspectives on issues.
    • Even though most of the students are not yet of age to vote, they still get their opinion heard by their legislators, Haffner said.


"They always say that the Capitol is the people's house of Kansas. This is such a unique event because the high school-aged kids of Kansas get to be in the people's house of Kansas and sit in the chairs of the people who represent them. You don't get that opportunity in very many places. The opportunity for kids to work in committee to make a bill and then come to the House and Senate to debate – it's a unique opportunity that not very many kids get to do, but with 4-H and this event, we get to."
– Seth Yenni, freshman at Hutchinson Community College and a past Citizenship in Action participant