American Spirit

The opportunity to register for 2024 4-H American Spirit will open in 4-H Online 2.0 October 1st. In order to register you will need to log into and have an approved profile/enrollment in and follow the attached directions.

About American Spirit East – June 14-23, June 21-30, July 5-14, 2024

Experience history & heritage by immersing in a 10-day bus journey to the East Coast and Canada — Youth-led content throughout the experience — Increase knowledge of American history while experiencing where it occurred — Dynamic exposure to diverse cultural experiences and perspectives of the foundation of our nation.

The Program has the Following Objectives for its Participants:

  • Increase knowledge and understanding of America’s heritage
  • Build awareness of the many steps taken to gain U.S. independence and freedom
  • Further develop skills in leadership and personal expression of values
  • Increase awareness of self in relationship to others
  • Share what was learned with others in your club and county

Highlighted Location(s):

  • Nappanee, Indiana
  • Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania
  • New York City, New York
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Lexington/Concord, Massachusetts
  • Gloucester, Massachusetts
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (A passport will be needed!)

Participant Eligibility

  • All youth grades 8-10
  • Pre-Registration in 4-H Online 2.0 is open starting October 1-November 15, 2023. Youth and their parent/guardian must complete the online registration together; it includes questions for the youth participant to answer!
  • Each experience is limited to 44 youth, decisions about who is selected to travel are based on the following factors: first-come-first-serve registrants, # of youth per experience, full rooms by identified gender, ages of youth traveling together, eligibility to participate in future years.
  • Estimated Cost of Experience = $1,900

Questions? Contact Sarah Tarjeson at 920-459-5915 or

American Spirit Timeline

October 1, 2023 – Registration for American Spirit Experience Open to ALL in 4-H Online. Sarah Tarjeson to send out communication through 4-H Online.

November 15, 2023 – Registration for American Spirit Experience Closes in 4-H Online. Sarah and other staff will finalize rosters for each of the three dates of travel based on the appropriate number of participants, room assignments by gender, space on each bus, age of participants, dates selected by registration.

December 1, 2023 – Communication Regarding Participants Selected/Able to Travel E-mailed Sarah Tarjeson will send this out directly to participants and to staff.

January 15, 2024 – Payment Deadline from Counties/Participants – Payable to 4-H American Spirit, 5 University Drive, Sheboygan, WI 53081; It is strongly preferred that participants pay their counties directly (Leaders Council/Association or another fiscal agent) and the county submits payment for all participants made payable to 4-H American Spirit and mailed to 5 University Drive, Sheboygan, WI 53081. Please direct questions regarding payment to Sarah Tarjeson at 920-459-5915 or

Participant Orientation dates are mandatory and will include the folowing dates and locations. Adult advisors are required to attend one of the orientations.

  • Saturday, February 24, 2024 8:30am-1:00pm. Dane County Extension Office, Room 121, 520 Fen Oak Dr. #138; Madison, WI 53718
  • Sunday, March 3, 2024 8:30am-1:00pm. Marathon County Extension Office, 212 River Dr, Ste. #3; Wausau, WI 54403
  • Sunday, March 15, 2024 8:30am-1:00pm. Pleasant Valley Community Center, S10414 Cty Rd Eleva, WI 54738.



Registration will be done through 4HOnline and registration dates are October 1-November 15, 2023. Registration for travel week preference will be done on a first come, first serve basis. There will be a wait list created for each week in case of cancellations. If you need help registering through 4HOnline, please consult the registering for an event page here. You will be sent additional details after registration with more information on American Spirit and the orientation. Payment is due January 15th. Counties will be invoiced by the 4-H American Spirit Committee.

Please consult with your county educator regarding opportunities for local scholarships. Receipt of a local scholarship does not guarantee a placement on the experience and placement on the experience does not guarantee a local scholarship.

State Scholarships

Needs-based scholarships are available for youth who participate in Statewide Educational Experiences. Scholarships require an application that is submitted to the state office. For more information on these scholarships and to apply, please visit the Scholarship page on our website.

Questions on registration? Contact Sarah Tarjeson at 920-459-5915 or

Delegate Requirements


  • 4-H member in 8-10th grades when registering.
  • Delegates register through 4HOnline.
  • Delegates carry county approval through the experience.
  • Delegates must not have attended American Spirit in the past.

Experience Timeline

  • October 1-November 15 – Registration will be open on 4HOnline
  • January 15th – Payment Due
  • February or March 2024 – Participants attend American Spirit Orientation
  • Dates of travel for experience: June 14-23, June 21-30, or July 5-14, 2024. Departure will take place from Portage, WI. Our first night will include an overnight stay in one WI hotel, near Portage, WI.

Itineraries will be given closer to the experience.

What Should Delegates Expect?

  • Participation in a delegate orientation session 3 months prior to departure.
  • Conduct family heritage research to be completed prior to departure for Ellis Island Simulation
  • Experience high temperatures with summer humidity in the East Coast, therefore plan to pack light, appropriate clothing.
  • Time on the road completing activities, connecting with other youth, and learning through youth led ‘Teachable Moments’.
  • Learn about our country’s vast history through many historic cities.
  • Experience landmarks, monuments, and museums across New England.
  • Identify ways that you can make a positive impact in your home community from the tools you gained during the American Spirit Experience.
  • Prepare and present a brief interactive history “lesson” called a Teachable Moment to all participants. 

Adult Chaperones

Thank you for considering joining us as an Adult Advisor for this summer’s Wisconsin 4-H American Spirit Experience. Selections are based on previous 4-H and youth leadership experience, previous youth supervision on extended educational experiences, ability to work as a team member, recommendation from a county 4-H educator or state 4-H staff member, and specific needs regarding boarding/disembarking/1st Aid/special needs experience. The VERY FIRST STEP HOWEVER is to complete the application below and return it to Sarah Tarjeson at ASAP. Decisions about chaperones will be made in mid-February, however, planning meetings are taking place all year long. 

American Spirit Adult Advisor Application (pdf)

The experience has the following objectives for its participants: 

  • Increase knowledge and understanding of America’s heritage 
  • Build awareness of the many steps taken to gain U.S. independence and freedom 
  • Further develop skills in leadership and personal expression of values 
  • Increase awareness of self in relationship to other group members 
  • Identify one or more ways to share what is learned in your club and/or community

This program has taken place for 20 years and is organized by an amazing group of volunteers and 4-H staff. They have a strong grasp of the timing of the itinerary, and the educational value of the program and strongly support the life skills gained through this travel experience. We travel with 44 youths and 5 adults via coach bus. The stops, tours, and experiences along the way are designed to immerse young people in the sites and opportunities to help them gain an understanding and knowledge of the foundation of the United State of America. We especially focus on the Revolutionary War Era. Check out the itinerary for information about our stops.  

Note for parents of delegates: Please personally evaluate your interest in providing leadership for this experience. Your primary purpose as an Adult Advisor is to monitor and mentor ALL members of the delegation, not just your own child. Separately you’ll have your own amazing experiences that you’ll enjoy sharing after the event. This program fosters independence, mastery, generosity, and belonging. Being able to make their own decisions is a vital part of a young person’s learning to be independent. 

This educational experience requires a strong team in order to facilitate the experience. Every advisor will sign up for the Adult Advisor responsibilities prior to and during the experience, including participation in planning committee meetings and attending at least one, if not more, of the American Spirit Orientations. Please advise staff immediately if you are unable to fulfill any part of the expectations or weekly assignments. 

These are long days. We leave around 7 a.m. each morning and chaperones will not call it a day until around 10:30 p.m. each evening. There are some physical demands in that it requires the ability to participate in walking tours, climb steps, lift coolers and luggage, and stand/walk on uneven surfaces. The best chaperones for this experience are ones that can see what needs to be done and can pitch in and encourage youth to pitch in.  

An important step in ensuring our young people are prepared for this summer’s American Spirit Experience is to participate in one of the planned orientations. It is critical that our adult advisors are also present at these orientations and a part of the process. At the orientation, we will collect important paperwork, review program goals, and expectations, and provide time to meet and connect with fellow delegates and adult advisors and we’ll answer any questions travelers may have!! Please review the following dates and notify Sarah Tarjeson at which dates you are available to attend. 

  • Saturday, February 24, 2024 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Dane County Extension Office, Rm 121, 5201 Fen Oak Drive #138, Madison, WI 53718
  • Sunday, March 3, 2024 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Marathon County Extension, 212 River Drive Ste #3, Wausau, WI 54403
  • Saturday, March 16, 2024 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Pleasant Valley Community Center, S10414 Cty Rd I, Eleva, WI 5473

There is a lead 4-H Staff person that travels with them each week, they are responsible for the overall educational experience and for supporting the chaperone team. Please reach out if you have any questions.

FAQ for American Spirit

  1. Does the receipt of a local scholarship guarantee a spot for my child on the experience? The short answer is no.
  2. What is the process for chaperoning this experience? American Spirit is a bit different than the other experiences in that 80% of the planning and leading is done by the volunteer committee and we believe that it is really important for those who travel to be a part of the planning…too many details to just jump in and travel. There are monthly meetings in addition to helping lead and plan orientation events. If you are interested in chaperoning the first step is to complete an application and perhaps join one of the next committee meetings. Please contact if you would like to apply.
  3. Do I need to let anyone else know about my registration? Not really, but it would be VERY helpful if you called or e-mailed your local Extension office and 4-H staff person. I will be waiting for their approval in 4-H Online for your registration and a timely approval would be helpful.
  4. What about my payment? Please work with your county educator to determine if a payment will be sent by your county extension office, your local 4-H leader’s group, or by individual families. Once selections take place and participants are assigned we will send out an invoice with additional details.
  5. Will my child need a passport? The 2024 American Spirit Experience will include travel into Canada and therefore a passport will be necessary.
  6. If my child becomes prior to travel, can we expect a full reimbursement? It is our intention to have a list of students on a wait list ready to travel. Regardless, your child should be well and healthy in order to enjoy this experience and your family can expect a full reimbursement. 

This program is supported by the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation.  For more information please go to

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