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Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Leaders need to consider the ideas of others. I'm learning to be a good leader in 4-H."

4-H is equipping Mela with
confidence and responsibility
Meet Mela, a Minnesota 4-H true leader.

Mela started her 4-H career in the rabbit project. Each year she raises a different breed, exploring how to best prepare them for show and judging during the county fair. It has required a great deal of commitment to be successful.

"I've raised Mini Rexes, Rexes, Dutch, and a Satin. I have to work hard with my rabbits. I see a lot of potential in them and want to bring that out."

Mela is a member of the West Albany Winners 4-H Club. She joined when she was eight years old because her mom thought she might enjoy it. Mela is one of about 30 youth in her club, including her 10-year-old sister Jane.

"There are a lot of young kids in our club. We take turns doing demonstrations to build our confidence in speaking and trying new things."

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Volunteering with 4-H keeps us vibrant and engaged."

Brad and Teresa Schmidt
4-H Shooting Sports & Wildlife volunteers
Douglas County
Meet the Schmidt's.

Brad and Teresa are volunteers with Minnesota 4-H's Shooting Sports and Wildlife program.

Although it's been years since their son and daughter were young enough to be in 4-H, they remain faithful volunteers in Douglas County.

Each year, they equip nearly 100 youth and their families with confidence, respect, and a deep love for the great outdoors.

"I enjoy it! Our family was brought up to help others out," said Brad. "And a lot of kids in our area don't have many opportunities to be outside and do outdoor activities. We help youth get involved and learn a lot."

When Teresa and Brad first agreed to be 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife volunteers, there were only three local youth interested, their son Josh and two of his friends. They were a hunting family and were familiar with gun safety, but didn't have much knowledge about fishing, conservation, or how to engage youth effectively. They were willing to learn, however, and had great support from local staff. This ended up being all they really needed.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Two generations, one passion for learning, growing, and service.

4-H program coordinators
Jodi Hintzen and Meg Clark
As the mother of three daughters, Jodi Hintzen wanted to model the value and importance of doing meaningful work. To that end, nearly 20 years ago, she accepted a 4-H staff role in Douglas County. Jodi was excited to provide youth in her community with opportunities to learn and lead through 4-H. She herself had experienced the many benefits of growing up in the program.

"I loved Share the Fun.* It was a favorite activity every year. And the sewing skills I developed in 4-H, starting in 3rd grade, I use to this day. I teach sewing to 4-H'ers here in Douglas County as well as for Community Ed. I'm a costumer for our local community theater and even perform on occasion. I love that the things I most enjoyed in 4-H are still part of my life."

Jodi was glad to raise her daughters in 4-H. In the program, they became confident public speakers and developed critical skills they used throughout college and into their professional lives.

Monday, May 1, 2017

I pledge my hands to larger service

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 identify ways of making the best better in our lives. Last month I wrote about the heart part of our 4-H Pledge. Today, I'd like to consider our hands.

I pledge my hands to larger service.

Did you know that youth in 4-H are 4 times more likely to actively contribute to their communities and 2 times more likely to be civically active? This is outstanding and a wonderful fact that I'm proud to tell others any chance I get.

But what does service really look like in the hands of our youth? How are young people in 4-H making a difference in our communities? Let me share a couple examples.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

"In 4-H, I was surrounded by a community who believed in me."

Meet Sara Budde.

Sara is a 4-H program coordinator in Stearns County. She is passionate about 4-H because it helps youth find their confidence and learn to be the best kind of community members.

"Our kids are more likely to live healthy lives and contribute in meaningful ways. I've watched this in my own community my whole life. 4-H'ers learn to be great people and that shows in every part of their lives."

Research backs up exactly what Sara says. Youth who grow up in 4-H are four times more likely to actively contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to both excel in school and make health life choices.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"I hope that every person who volunteers knows that they are important and valuable."

4-H volunteer Becca Turnquist (3rd from left)
with Swift County 4-H Ambassadors
Becca Turnquist is a proud 4-H volunteer in Swift County.

She advises the 4-H ambassador program, giving youth opportunities to build leadership skills while representing 4-H at a variety of events and doing community service throughout the county.

"My role is to help our ambassadors accomplish their goals and stay organized with meetings. I also give mini trainings to help them be more effective leaders. Building presentations, being a good listener, and how to give back to our community are topics we've explored together."

This is not Becca's first experience with 4-H. In fact, she chose to be a 4-H volunteer because of how much she gained from the program during her own growing up years.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"You can't come out of 4-H without confidence, self-awareness, and lifelong skills to use no matter what your future."

Meet Genevieve,

a Minnesota 4-H True Leader.

Genevieve just returned from the National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C. She was a member of the conference's Youth Leadership Team (YLT).

Along with 6 other youth, Genevieve spent months building collaboration, problem-solving, and leadership skills while planning important aspects of this annual conference. It was attended by around 250 youth from across the United States.

"My primary roles during the conference were to host, build community between attendees, and co-lead a roundtable experience on climate change. I've grown a lot in my administrative skills. I'm way more efficient and thorough in planning because of my YLT experience."
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