One Anamosa High School student was among 11 across the state of Iowa that got to travel to the nation’s capital for the Healthy Living Summit Feb. 15 to 18.
Katravia Burns, a sophomore and member of the Jackson Wise Owls 4-H Club, traveled to Washington, D.C., for the summit after being selected as a healthy living ambassador.
Burns was able to build off the physical fitness project that won her a Youth Action Award over the summer for her ideas on how to get people to move better, which she felt gave her an edge in the lengthy application process.
“I’ve been really big into sports and being fit my whole life,” she said of why she chose to focus on that area. “I like to eat healthy and work out.”
While at the summit, she led a session in a group with two fellow Iowans on cafeteria coaching, which preaches eating healthy and trying new foods.
During other sessions, she learned about how to use social media to empower, got educated on the importance of sleep, took yoga and participated in a Tie Dye for Troops event. Though she took a lot of good information from all of her sessions, she was particularly impacted by the last two areas.
“I wasn’t really a big yoga until I went to (the summit), and now I like doing yoga,” she said.
The Tie Dye for Troops event was one of her favorite moments of the trip. The project was one of the 2018 Youth in Action award winners for the U.S. and helps promote mental health for military youth by creating tie dye pillowcases and other items.
The trip wasn’t all work, the group arrived in D.C. on Feb. 14, her first ever time on a plane, and was able to see some of the sites around Washington, D.C. The group visited the Capitol and with Congresswoman Cindy Axne saw the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War and Vietnam War monuments and visited the Holocaust Museum.
During her time at the summit, Burns got to interact with students from all over the country, which she said overall was her favorite part of the trip.
Even in the limited time, she got to know the other 10 members of her Iowa group, both during the pre-trip training and the few days they spent together in D.C. She said they felt like family.
Burns had noticed that the healthy living aspect hadn’t been a large focus in Jones County when it comes to 4-H, and she’s hoping to bring what she learned at the summit to the county. As part of her role as an ambassador, Burns has to work with the county’s youth program coordinator, Molly Schmitt, who accompanied her as her chaperone Healthy Living Working Group, to come up with a program lasting at least six hours and give a report on her work.
She plans to do some cafeteria coaching at the elementary school later this school year and to do the grilled cheese challenge. The challenge was something Burns did during the summit, which challenged the students to come up with healthy versions of the sandwich. That event will likely take place over the summer at the extension office.
She’s also continuing to work with her fellow Iowa ambassadors on a group project, which will be a retreat.
The big lesson Burns learned from the experience was to “go for everything,” saying she wouldn’t had even applied for the trip if her mom, Dawn Meyer, hadn’t encouraged her. She hopes to be selected again next year as a healthy ambassador.