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Brad Carlson: "I give to provide experiences for youth that last a lifetime"

Meet Brad Carlson.

Brad is a long-time donor to Minnesota 4-H. When the Minnesota 4-H Foundation first started, Brad was a member of the board of trustees, providing vision and oversight to fund development across the state. His connection to 4-H runs deep. He grew up in Itasca County, a proud 10-year member of the White Oak 4-H Club near Cohasset, Minnesota.

Potatoes was Brad’s favorite 4-H project area. Cultivating potatoes was a family tradition in fact. Brad’s dad was a 4-H member and earned a state championship in that project during the 1937 Minnesota State Fair. Brad and his brothers tried their best to match their father’s achievement. In 1965, Brad was named the 4-H potato project state champion. And in the early 1990’s, the family added a third generation of potato growing champions when Brad’s son earned the same honor.

On the other end of the 4-H spectrum, Brad has fond memories of the skills he grew through state leadership experiences. He attended Junior Leadership Conference (JLC), now known as YELLO, with youth from across Minnesota. There, he was nominated for a state officer position and later served as a Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador. Each of these experiences built Brad’s confidence in leading, speaking publicly, and advocating for 4-H whenever he had the opportunity.


Brad attended Bemidji State College double majoring in Math and Social Studies. After being a math and social studies teacher in Sebeka for 34 years,
Brad as a State Ambassador 
he retired to work at the area learning center. "I believe the leadership opportunities and positions I held helped me to deal with youth and adults from different walks of life."

Brad pledges his hands to larger service in multiple ways. "Over the years, I have headed a number of church dinners and was a 4-H leader. I’ve been involved in community and school events and union activities. I try to get others involved and provide an outlet for others to have something special in their lives." Currently, Brad is using his hand for larger service as director of the Becker County Food Pantry.

A hope he has for young 4-H alumni is that they "stay actively involved in civic organizations in their area, and to prompt their own children to experience 4-H."

Brad encourages everyone to give to the program if they can. "Even though it may be a token gift, those tokens add up and provide experiences for youth that last a lifetime."

We are grateful to Brad for his wonderful contributions throughout the years. Together, we are empowering Minnesota youth with the skills they need to lead, and serve, for a lifetime.

Laura Wyatt
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

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