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Showing posts from June, 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.


Rachel Boyle: "I give because Minnesota 4-H is a truly transformative program."

Dr. Rachel Boyle is a loyal donor to the Minnesota 4-H Foundation and an alumni of Minnesota 4-H. She first experienced 4-H growing up in Stevens County, and later in Douglas County.

Her favorite part of being in 4-H was serving as a regional camp director, as well as a state ambassador. "Not only did I gain fantastic leadership skills like project management and public speaking, but they were also dynamic experiences filled with diverse activities, lasting friendships, and a lot of fun."

4-H fostered in Rachel a deep love for learning. After high school, she attended Macalester College in St. Paul studying history. She earned her Ph.D. in United States and Public History from Loyola University in Chicago, where her scholarship was awarded the President's Medallion.

Today, Rachel lives in Chicago and works as a public historian. "I am invested in harnessing the power of the past to empower contemporary communities. Through 4-H I gained a strong foundation of indispensa…

"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.

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 you 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…

Christoph Brostrom: "The friendships and skills you grow in 4-H are life-long."

Meet Christoph Brostrom.

Christoph is an 11 year 4-H alum from the Cloverleaf 4-H club in Anoka County.

For many years, Christoph participated in a 4-H performing arts program called Arts-In, both in his county and at the state level. "Minnesota 4-H State Arts-In is a 22 day experience where 4-H’ers from all across the state get together to put on a 30 minute musical show. By being a part of this, I learned leadership, speaking skills and made many friends."

Another highlight of his 4-H years was earning trips to the 4-H National Shoot, where he demonstrated the skills he learned in the 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife project. "At this event, I competed with other states in shooting skills competitions, as well as in testing on hunting skills knowledge."


The 4-H pledge serves as a model for Christoph as he moves into adulthood. "It reminds me to strive to make myself even better than I was the day before," he said. One way he lives out the Pledge is by …

"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."

Searles Family Scholarship Recipient: Megan Vehrenkamp

Meet a Minnesota 4-H scholar.
Megan Vehrenkamp is from Dover in Olmsted County. She attends Winona State University and is the recipient of the Searles Family Scholarship from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.
Megan was a member of the Eyota Wonder Workers 4-H club. During her time as a member of this club, she served in two different officer roles: secretary and vice president.
Community service was a huge aspect of Megan’s 4-H career. Every fall and spring, Megan and her fellow club members participated in roadside clean-up around the Dover-Eyota Elementary and High Schools. One of Megan’s favorite community service projects was preparing snack bags for the Ronald McDonald House near the Mayo Clinic. The 4-H club would meet to discuss what they would put in the bags as well as decorating the outside of the bags. Next, Megan and the club would stuff the bags and drop them off to the kids at the Ronald McDonald House.


“Making the snack bags is the highlight of our winter meetings and personal…

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
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 …

2017 4-H Scholarship Recipients Announced

Congratulations to the Minnesota 4-H Foundation's 2017 scholarship recipients. These nine outstanding 4-H youth and alumni from across Minnesota stood out among over 100 individuals who submitted applications. Make a gift toward one of these scholarships today!


Kern Scholarship recipientsElizabeth Bergem, West Ottertail County – Elizabeth has held many offices within her 4-H club and county. She has been a County Ambassador and is currently serving as a 2016-2017 Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador. Elizabeth will be attending the Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls, and plans to work as a 4-H Educator for the University of Minnesota Extension. Karrie Hume, Mille Lacs County – Karrie is a 13-year member of Mille Lacs County Busy Bees 4-H Club and was the President. She focused her 4-H experience in child development and has a passion for music. Karrie will be studying music at Bemidji State University, and plans to become a music elementary teacher. Alternate: …