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Thursday, November 16, 2017

From ambassador to leading the ambassadors, Meet Kristina!

Kristina Abbas, Ramsey County.
It all started with simple pie social in her neighborhood for Kristina Abbas of  Ramsey county. That was her first introduction to 4-H. “The older leaders took time to get to know me.” She was drawn in by the fact that youth were running the meetings. From there, Kristina got involved in many different projects. Her favorites were photography and self determined. She also has fond memories of being in County Arts In and a Camp Counselor. 

A defining moment in her 4-H career was when she made the transition from being an officer in her club, to a Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador. As an ambassador Kristina was able to work at the Minnesota State Fair 4-H building, facilitate youth conferences across the state, and be an advocate for the Minnesota 4-H program. She says this gave her the opportunity to “express [her] love for 4-H and better communicate with people.”

Kristina and Ambassador at the Minnesota State Fair.
After being a Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador for two years she looked for other ways to stay involved in the program. She began interning with the program and helping the Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador Coordinator. From there she stepped into a larger role helping to lead the 2017-2018 Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador team. She says that through this role she continues to learn more about herself, now as a 4-H alum.

“Seeing youth grow in the program the way I have is so rewarding. Really I'm just here to teach them how to find their voice and lead other youth.

Written by Janelle Hueners
University of Minnesota Student
Chisago County 4-H Alum

Thursday, November 9, 2017

4-H builds inclusion and passion!

Finn B.E. is a Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador from Kittson County. He credits 4-H with growing strong relationships with his peers, while allowing him to be his true self.

Finn is currently serving as a
Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador
Lucia Davila Alvarez: What does being a State Ambassador mean to you?
Finn B.E.: It's been life-changing. I've bonded with each state ambassador in an individual way, no matter how close we are as a group. I count some of them as my best friends. To me, being a state ambassador means that I have the chance to impact the lives of countless youth, including myself. Creating an experience that can change attitudes, giving a face to the faceless, and working on making my personal best better is what I strive to do as a state ambassador.

While I am a state ambassador, I can be my own individual self and still be a part of something that is much bigger. I can show that 4-H is more than the livestock, the ribbons, the arts, the projects. It is the tangible connections that you make with the people around you and the love that you add to a world otherwise lonely. As a state ambassador, I can not only advocate for this, but I can be this. I can be the tangible connection between diverse communities and the love that gives life to so many ideas and issues.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Volunteering is a gift we give ourselves

Monthly column from Minnesota 4-H director Dorothy McCargo Freeman

As 4-H volunteers, we often tell others about the many ways the program is good for youth. In fact, I regularly hear from volunteers that "4-H is the best place to grow up." I entirely agree.

But it's not just our youth who are positively impacted, is it? Take a step back and look at how your own life has been enhanced by the 4-H experience.

Volunteering shapes who we are.
For many of us, our identity is both rooted and grows out of how and where we volunteer. Think of the pride you have from working with and alongside young people. Whether weekly, monthly or during a particular event season, volunteering with 4-H gives you a deep sense of satisfaction. You know your work is making a difference. When you volunteer, you are expressing your beliefs in young people.

Laura Corgard is a long time volunteer in Blue Earth County. She grew up in 4-H and raised her children in the program as well. Because of 4-H, every member of her family has learned the value of community service. "It's important to give back and make a difference," said Laura. "When I volunteer with 4-H, that's what I'm doing."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Meet 4-H staffer Jalil Shabazz

This year, Jalil led 4-H's STEM team at the
Minnesota State Fair
Jalil is a 4-H alum and leader for Teen Power 4-H Club in St. Paul, Minnesota. He first got involved with 4-H by getting homework help after school in his apartment building. That support from caring adults sparked something in him. Jalil wanted to do more in 4-H.

In 2006, Jalil and a few friends and mentors started the Teen Power 4-H Club. The club focuses on building confidence and self-expression through fine arts. Jalil wrote and produced music for his club, which they showcased in venues like Garage and First Avenue.

"One of the most memorable experiences as a 4-H'er was performing at The Garage. Everyone was super excited and going crazy after we performed. It was an amazing feeling knowing that we created that atmosphere."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Recent grad becomes a 4-H volunteer

This year, Dan has volunteered at his home county fair
and the Minnesota State Fair with 4-H
Daniel Hayes recently completed his years as a 4-H member. So recently, that this is his first year as a 4-H adult volunteer. And he took no time finding ways to make a difference for youth who are coming after him. He has since come back as a volunteer focusing on the livestock programs in 4-H. When asked why he says, "I really just want to give back. This program gave me so much growing up."

Growing up as a member of Nicollet County 4-H, Dan was involved in many projects. From restoring a tractor to showing swine, he dipped his 4-H toes into a little bit of everything. Through the 4-H swine project, Dan developed a strong passion for the livestock industry and earned multiple opportunities to exhibit his pigs at the Minnesota State Fair. Since graduating out of the program, he has been able to carry out his passion through new roles as a volunteer.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Carter E. has gained the confidence to try new things thanks to 4-H

Carter with 4-H camper
Carter is from the town of Kasson in Dodge County, MN. For the past 12 years, he has been an active 4-H'er. He's held leadership roles in a community club called the Zumbro Rockets 4-H Club, participated in local 4-H summer camps and just finished serving as president of the Dodge County 4-H Federation. But is favorite part of 4-H, and what he loves most, is raising dairy cows to show at the fair.

 It was just a few years ago when Carter first expressed interest in showing cattle. With the help and support of his parents, Mary and Ramon, Carter has slowly built important knowledge and skills in all aspects of dairy production. His consistent effort has paid off, earning top honors at his local fair and even earning trips to compete at the Minnesota State Fair.

"It's so much fun to show at the State Fair. I get to see what youth in other counties are learning in their dairy programs and use it to improve my own project."Competition is tough at the state level, but Carter isn't afraid. His aim is to earn blue ribbons and show the best that he can. He spends lots of time preparing his cow each year.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Celebrating the impact of 4-H

Monthly column from Minnesota 4-H director Dorothy McCargo Freeman

October 1st marks the first day of our 75th year observing National 4-H Week. It's an annual opportunity for youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country to celebrate the impact 4-H has made on our lives and our communities.

Has 4-H made a difference for you?
Take a moment to think about how 4-H has made a difference in your life. Have you become more confident speaking in front of others? Have you explored interesting and challenging ideas? Have you made deep and lasting friendships? Are you inspired to lead?

4-H has made a difference for me.
I have spent my entire career learning and growing in 4-H. I can't imagine who I'd be without this special organization. Who would have imagined that the eldest child of James & Nannie McCargo, who were just 5th & 6th grade educated, would grow to become president of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents? Many years ago, like 4-H volunteers do every day here in Minnesota, somebody saw my potential and helped propel me forward toward servant leadership.
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