Most folks would agree that the 2016 presidential election was an unusual and historic event, as will be tomorrow’s noon inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
Tomorrow will also be an unusually and eventful day for five 4-H Club members from Delaware County who are among 28 Ohio 4-H Club members selected to attend the inauguration ceremony.
The five local 4-H Club members submitted applications and essays last summer for the opportunity to be among the few selected for the special honor. Selected were Kayla Kramer; Faith Hildebrand; Ellen Riley; and sisters Kira and Erin Barr.
The ladies were introduced at a reception at the Willis Government Building last Thursday evening (Jan. 12). In attendance were Delaware County Commissioners Barb Lewis, Gary Merrell, and Jeff Benton; Ohio House District 67 Representative Andy Brenner; State Senator Kris Jordan; and Nancy Shaver representing Congressman Pat Tiberi.
Also on board for the occasion was NBC4 Reporter Courtney Yuen, who recorded interviews with the inauguration-bound locals for broadcast later that evening.
OSU Extension Delaware County 4-H Educator Laryssa Hook said the Ohio 4-H inauguration attendees are joining 500 4-H Club members from around the country and will stay at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
“We’ve always had a citizenship program in 4-H, but that’s always been during the summer,” Hook said. “This is the first time 4-H has done an inauguration event. It’s going to be exciting to have a 4-H presence at the inauguration, and it’s certainly going to be exciting for these five local club members to attend this historic event.”
The five young ladies left for DC on Tuesday morning, where Hook said they would have a full itinerary before returning to central Ohio on Saturday.
“There will be a traditional tour of Washington before the inauguration – memorials, historic sites, and museums,” Hook said. “They will also participate in workshops, experience Inauguration Day events, and attend their own Inaugural Ball Dinner and Dance Cruise.”
Erin Barr, who attends Olentangy Orange High School with her sister Kira, said she looks forward to the opportunity to see how the election process ends with the noon transfer of power when President-Elect Trump takes the reins from President Barack Obama.
“Many people think their voice doesn’t matter, but this is an incredible opportunity to see it all happen,” said Erin, a member of Berlin 4-Hers. “It will be amazing to go to DC and stay at the 4-H Center. I’ll be able to meet 4-H members from around the country, and see how 4-H works in their states.”
Ellen Riley, a member of Homegrown 4-Him 4-H Club, is an Ohio Connections Academy sophomore.
“I’m taking an American Government course this year,” Riley said. “This is a great opportunity to learn more about government first hand.”
Faith Hildebrand, a member of Won by One 4-H Club, attends Buckeye Online School and Columbus State.
“I’m very excited,” Hildebrand said. “This is a really cool opportunity to see government up close. It’s going to be a great experience.”
Kayla Kramer, a member of Ostrander Merry Shamrocks 4-H Club and a junior at North Union High School, said she plans to go into politics in the future.
“I’m extremely honored to be one of the local 4-H Club members selected to attend the presidential inauguration,” Kramer said. “It’s the pinnacle of my 4-H and my high school career. I’m super pumped. This is going to be a great learning opportunity for all of us.”
Tomorrow’s inauguration will also be a first for Representative Brenner. While presenting house proclamations signed by himself; Ohio House District 68 Representative Rick Carfagna; and Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger; Brenner, a 4-H alumnus, said he would also be in Washington on Friday attending his first presidential inauguration.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.