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Extension > Youth > Minnesota 4-H > Minnesota 4-H News

Thursday, July 13, 2017

"My hope for our kids is that they will become connected and committed to their community. Our youth are our future."

Meet Jim Schneider.

Jim is a science teacher at Northome High School in Koochiching County. His first 4-H experience as an adult was judging science and engineering projects at his local county fair.

"I grew up in 4-H, but in a different area, and I didn't initially think about 4-H for our family. But once I got reconnected, I remembered how great the program is and wanted my sons to be involved."

When his older son Caleb was young, he and Jim joined a 4-H club near their home, started attending monthly meetings, and began exploring different project areas. About 15 years ago, when their club needed a new leader, Jim stepped up and agreed to fill that volunteer role. The club continues to this day, and Jim's younger son Peter is an active member.

Jim especially enjoys helping 4-H youth explore engineering and design through the 4-H robotics program. He coaches teams that work collaboratively on robotics challenges and compete with other teams across the region and state in the FIRST LEGO League.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

"4-H is teaching me how to be a responsible leader. I can take that to college to make a difference, influence others."

Ermias is a Minnesota
4-H True Leader
Ermias is a 17 year-old member of 4-H who lives in South St. Paul. As a teen teacher in the Dakota County 4-H Youth Teaching Youth (YTY) program, Ermias is building leadership and communication skills while helping young people make healthy living choices.

"I heard about YTY through an afterschool community service group I'm in. Kirsten [4-H staff] helped me learn more about the program, get enrolled, and find opportunities to be trained and teach."

Teams of 4-H Youth Teaching Youth teen teachers learn a healthy living curriculum and then deliver lessons to classes of third, fourth, and fifth graders. Topics include healthy eating, cooking, disease prevention and awareness, and choosing to be active.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Volunteers help youth learn and discover

In 4-H, youth collaborate with caring adults to explore hands-on learning in topics like science, health, agriculture, citizenship, and the arts. Volunteers provide a positive environment where youth learn by doing.

Last year, 11,000 volunteers from every Minnesota county and tribal community generously gave their time and enthusiasm to foster learning and discovery in 69,000 4-H'ers. Volunteers are essential to the 4-H experience.

Julie volunteering with a Mower County
4-H Project Bowl team
Sharing passion, growing understanding
Julie Holst has been a 4-H volunteer in Mower County for nearly 20 years. She's a nurse practitioner who loves helping young people expand their knowledge of nutrition, health, and wellness through animal science experiences. Julie coaches 4-H Project Bowl teams, a program focused on youth learning and teamwork.

"Once a child is exposed to Project Bowl, learning gets in their system," Julie commented. "They learn so much. It's an honor and privilege to work with youth in this program."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

"I've learned that when you volunteer, you can learn as you go. What matters most is that you're there."

Meet Danielle Lake Diver.

Danielle is a volunteer mentor with the Nahgahchiwanong Fond du Lac 4-H tribal youth program.

She meets weekly with 4-H'ers at the Cloquet Community Center, helping them identify topics of interest and connect to resources that build their knowledge and skills.

"Our youth are interested in cooking and robotics this year. It'll be fun to help them learn new things, but I admit, I'm a little nervous about robotics. I don't know anything about robots. I guess I'll be learning right alongside the kids!"

Although Danielle is new to 4-H, she has been connected to Fond du Lac tribal youth for several years. Beginning in 2013, Danielle worked as a Promise Fellow at Fond du Lac Ojibwe (K-12) School. And for four years, she partnered with youth and the local Master Gardener program to co-lead a youth gardening club and cultivate community gardens.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

"I love helping people reach their full potential and every part of my job gives me opportunities to do that."

I recently spoke with Nicole Pokorney, an Extension educator based in Rochester. She is passionate about youth development and believes that just a little bit of passion can fuel a fire of transformation. Here's a peek into our conversation.

Extension educator Nicole Pokorney
Erin Kelly-Collins: How did you first get connected to Extension and 4-H?
Nicole Pokorney: I was only in 4-H for one year growing up, but was very connected to the University of Minnesota Extension through my mom. She was a Master Gardener where we lived in Chisago County. I remember monthly visits to the local Extension office. Mom was always looking for resources to understand the land and garden more effectively. I grew up surrounded by the positive impacts of Extension.

EKC: Tell me a little about how to came to work for Extension 4-H.
NP: After working for many years as a youth minister, I earned a Master's degree in school counseling. I had it in my mind that I'd enjoy working for 4-H, but had to wait for the right opportunity. I accepted this role as Extension educator 10 ½ years ago now.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"4-H has taught me that my voice is important. It's great to be part of something so big."

Meet Evan. A Minnesota 4-H True Leader.

4-H has been an important place for Evan to build the skills he needs to lead in school, his community, and into his future. He has been part of Hubbard County 4-H since he was just five years old, focusing his learning on horses, photography and leadership. As an older member of 4-H, Evan realizes how important it is to share his knowledge and skills with younger youth in his community and throughout the state.

"I love photography, but there aren't a lot of other kids in Hubbard County who know how to take photos. I'm preparing a workshop for local youth to learn about photography. I hope to generate interest in this project and help youth build skills too."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I pledge my health to better living

I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my family, my club, my community, my country, and my world.
 -The 4-H Pledge

Dr. Freeman
Reflecting on the 4-H Pledge can help us find ways of making the best of our lives even better. Last month I wrote about the hands part of our 4-H Pledge. Today, I'd like to reflect on our health.

I pledge my health to better living
Making a commitment to care for ourselves is very personal. The food we eat, the activities we participate in, the physical and spiritual rest we pursue are all choices each of us must make for ourselves. But, the people around us and the choices they make, do have influence.

What kind of friend are you?
4-H'ers are 2x more likely to make healthy choices both as youth and throughout their lifetime. According to research, the people we spend time with as youth have a very real influence on our health and well-being.

In 4-H, youth come together with peers to learn, grow, serve, and make healthy choices in community. If you want higher self-esteem and confidence, better health, and decreased stress, hang out with folks who share your goals. Our friends can't make healthy choices for us, but they can encourage and make similar choices right alongside us. And did you know just how much influence your choices have on your friends? Youth have a great deal of positive power. When youth make healthy choices, their friends do too.
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