American Spirit

The opportunity to register for 2023 4-H American Spirit will open in 4-H Online 2.0 October 15th. 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 2-11, 9-18 or 16-25, 2023

Experience history & heritage by immersing in a 10-day bus journey to the East Coast — 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):

  • Maumee, Ohio
  • Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania
  • New York City, New York
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Lexington/Concord, Massachusetts
  • Gloucester, Massachusetts
  • Niagara Falls, New York

Participant Elgibility

  • All youth grades 8-10 (Youth in 11th  grade eligible for 2023 dates based on circumstance of passed missed opportunity.)
  • Pre-Registration in 4-H Online 2.0 is open starting October 15-November 30, 2022. 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 = $1,650

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

American Spirit Timeline

October 15, 2022-Registration for American Spirit Experience Open to ALL in 4-H Online. Sarah Tarjeson to send out communication through 4-H Online.

November 30, 2022    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 15, 2022    Communication Regarding Participants Selected/Able to Travel E-mailed Sarah Tarjeson will send this out directly to participants and to staff.

January 15, 2023    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



Registration will be done through 4HOnline and registration dates are October 15-November 30, 2022. 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.

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

  • Sunday, February 26, 2023 8:30am-1:00pm. Dane County Extension Office, Room 121, 520 Fen Oak Dr. #138; Madison, WI 53718
  • Saturday, March 11, 2023 8:30am-1:00pm. Marathon County Extension Office, 212 River Dr, Ste. #3; Wausau, WI 54403
  • More details coming as soon as they are confirmed.

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

Delegate Requirements


  • 4-H member in 8-10th grades when registering. (11th grade registration accepted on a case by case basis)
  • Delegates register through 4HOnline.
  • Delegates carry county approval through the experience.
  • Delegates must not have attended American Spirit in the past.

Experience Timeline

  • October 15-November 30 – Registration will be open on 4HOnline
  • January 15th – Payment Due
  • February 26th or March 11, 2023 – Participants attend American Spirit Orientation
  • Dates of travel for experience: June 2-11, June 9-18, or June 16-26, 2023. Departure will take place from one location TBA. Our first night will include an overnight stay in one WI hotel, most likely near Stevens Point or Madison.

Itineraries will be given closer to the experience.

What Should Delegates Expect?

  • Participation in a delegate orientation session 1-2 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.

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 Chaperone Application (word)

American Spirit Chaperone 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 almost 20 years now 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. 

  • Sunday, February 26, 2023 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Dane County Extension Office, Rm 121, 5201 Fen Oak Drive #138, Madison, WI 53718
  • Saturday, March 11, 2023 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Marathon County Extension, 212 River Drive Ste #3, Wausau, WI 54403
  • Sunday, March 26, 2023 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 (December 12, 2022) and participants are assigned we will send out an invoice with additional details.
  5. Will my child need a passport? The 2023 American Spirit Experience will include travel into Canada and therefore a passport will be necessary.
  6. If my child tests positive for COVID 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. As long as we can fill the students spot families can expect a full reimbursement. Expenses are incurred regardless of late cancellation or not.

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