University of Minnesota Extension www.extension.umn.edu 612-624-1222
Menu Menu

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Becky Meyer loves getting young people outside exploring science

Feeling stressed? Head outside for a five-minute walk. Research (and your grandpa) will tell you - you'll feel a bit better afterward.

Extension educator Becky Meyer
The restorative benefits of being outdoors are well-documented. And it's not just your emotional health that improves from time outside; you can also contribute to the environmental health of your community.

Becky Meyer is an Extension educator with expertise in environment and science education. She believes that young people learn best when immersed in the content. In other words, if you want to study nature, go outside.

Case in point: Last summer Becky, together with 4-H program coordinator Tracey Anderson and partners from Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), ran a summer camp to connect young people to their natural environment. Over the course of six weeks, youth in two sites got outside and investigated a shared research question: Are there any invasive species in our lakes?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Youth make healthy choices through gardening in Willmar, Minnesota

The kids of Kandiyohi County started to DIG this summer. With the help of 4-H summer intern, Ashley Warren, 15 youth, ages four to 12, got their hands dirty in a garden to table experience that changed the way they look "yucky vegetables."

Ashley with youth participants at the gardens.
Their learning started by building an above-ground garden at the Sunwood Apartment complex in Willmar, Minnesota. They filled large water tubs with recycled pop cans for easy drainage and added fresh soil that was donated by the city. Then the kids planted all types of vegetables from carrots to peppers, radishes and herbs.

DIG (dirt, insects, and gardening) lessons, led by Ashley, were incorporated into each meeting with the youth gardeners, helping them learn more about what goes into the food they eat and how food is grown.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Research shows that youth in 4-H make healthier choices

Monthly column from Minnesota 4-H director Dorothy McCargo Freeman


According to research by Tuffs University, youth in 4-H are two times more likely to make healthier choices.

Twice as likely. That is very good news. In a world filled with unhealthy options, young people need to know how to choose what is best for their own health and wellbeing.

Healthy living is a top priority for the 4-H youth development program. In 4-H, youth of all ages learn by developing a passion in their areas of interest and lead as they innovate and serve as social change agents. Through learning and leading, youth in 4-H discover how their choices impact themselves, their peers, their families and communities.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Jerry Ludwig named Minnesota 4-H outstanding lifetime volunteer

Minnesota 4-H 2018 outstanding lifetime volunteer Jerry LudwigJerry Ludwig of Redwood County is the 2018 Minnesota 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer.

Jerry leads the 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife Project in Redwood County. He also serves on the Minnesota 4-H State Project Development Committee, providing guidance for shooting sports and widelife programs throughout the state.

Jerry mentors young people to achieve mastery and develop important life skills, including integrity of decision-making. A retired veteran, Jerry is dedicated to service, which is evident in the work he does with youth and adult volunteers.

A panel of judges chose Jerry from an excellent list of nominees. He advances to judging of volunteer awardees from 4-H programs across the the north central region of the U.S. If selected, she will then be judged at the national level.

The National 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards recognize volunteers who demonstrate exemplary service to 4-H. Each year, Minnesota 4-H nominates one exceptional individual who has volunteered 10 years or more for the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer category.


Extension educator and volunteer systems director


Is there a volunteer in your community whose service is award worthy? Learn how to nominate them for next year's Minnesota 4-H Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer.



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Crissy Otting named Minnesota 4-H volunteer of the year

Minnesota 4-H volunteer of the year Crissy Otting holding awardCrissy Otting of Clearwater County is the 2018 Minnesota 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year.

Crissy has been instrumental in bringing youth voice to the county's horse project. She creates an environment of belonging through her genuine interest and concern for youth and their families.

Crissy's commitment to young people and the 4-H program is clear. She is a consistently guides 4-H'ers to thrive and be active members in their program.

A panel of judges chose Crissy from an outstanding list of nominees. She advances to judging of volunteer awardees from 4-H programs across the the north central region of the U.S. If selected, she will then be judged at the national level.

The National 4-H Salute to Excellence Awards recognize volunteers who demonstrate exemplary service to 4-H. Each year, Minnesota 4-H nominates one outstanding individual who has volunteered for less than 10 years for the Volunteer of the Year category.

Extension educator and volunteer systems director


Is there a volunteer in your community whose service is award worthy? Learn how to nominate them for next year's Minnesota 4-H Volunteer of the Year.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

What do rockets, television, and poultry have in common?

Here's Jon right after the
2017 poultry prince 
and princess contest!

You may recognize his face as a reporter for WCCO-TV, but did you know Jon Lauritsen got his start in 4-H?

The Emmy award-winning reporter grew up in Chippewa County, Minnesota on a rural pig farm.

As a 4-H'er, Jon was involved in many different areas. "It's been 30 years now, but it was a great experience." A fond memory for Jon was being being able to shoot a rocket up into the sky as part of a 4-H aeronautics project.

After heading off to college at St. Cloud State University, Jon lost touch with his 4-H roots. It wasn't until many years later that a unique opportunity drew him back.

2010 was the first year of the Minnesota 4-H Poultry Prince and Princess Contest. This scholarship program is an opportunity for 4-H youth to be recognized for their poultry knowledge, experience, leadership and confidence. The final portion of this contest is a televised question and answer round. Jon was approached to host this program because of rural roots. "In Minneapolis Television stations there aren't many farm kids, and I was one of them. And I feel lucky for that. I really enjoy doing this." There must be something about this program that keeps him coming back.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

4-H'er leaves her mark by passing the torch...

At the end of her career in 4-H, Alli P. is wishing to make a bigger impact. The Carlton County 4-H'er has spent her entire youth in the horse project, learning and being encouraged by the youth who came before her.

Alli and her horse Roxy at the
2017 Minnesota 4-H State Horse Show
Looking back on these past 13 years, Alli credits 4-H for empowering her with leadership skills she'll use throughout life. From serving as a club officer to representing her community as Carlton County's dairy princess, 4-H helped Alli work hard and achieve even the highest goals she set for herself. "I set goals initially based on what people said I couldn't do and having 4-H there to help me accomplish those goals meant everything to me."

Alli loved growing up on her family's farm near Willow River, Minnesota. Her parents couldn't get her out of the barns. 4-H was an after school opportunity for Alli to invest her free time building knowledge and practical skills in both the dairy and horse projects. Horses were her favorite.

"Horses have always been a part of my life. I was climbing on a horse before my mom even knew. Horses gave me a hobby that turned into so much more.They gave me something to work towards. They gave me goals and taught me patience, passion, and leadership, just to name a few."
  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy