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Showing posts from November, 2017

The place that built me...

The 4-H Building has watched Jillian Bell grow her skills, relationships, and career. Today a professional photographer in the Twin Cities and a 4-H volunteer, Jillian can name pivotal moments in her life that happened in that special building on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Back in Polk County where Jillian got her start in 4-H, she was her county and club president, dedicated a lot of time volunteering and took in as many 4-H opportunities as possible. Her hard work and love for 4-H led her to attend a statewide leadership conference, YLE, held in the 4-H Building.
Among the many good friends she made in 4-H was Luther at 4-H's annual youth leadership conference (now known as YELLO!), an annual statewide youth leadership conference.  Mutual good friends, also in 4-H, were first to recognize that they were perfect for each other and today they are married. Jillian credits 4-H with getting them together, and with showing her many other 4-H opportunities.

From ambassador to leading the ambassadors, Meet Kristina!

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."

Kaitlyn (Rosemore) Rhoda: "I met my best friends through 4-H!"

The state fair is a long way from home for Kaitlyn (Rosemore) Rhoda from Itasca county, but the 4-H building became a home away from home through her 4-H State Arts-In experience and other life events.

State Arts-In is a 22 day experience in which youth from all over the state come together to learn skills like teamwork, leadership, goal-setting, and theater arts. They put together a 30 minute musical show that is performed every day at the Minnesota State Fair. "I met so many wonderful people in State Arts-In. Two of them are going to be in my wedding as my maid of honor and my 'bridesman"


Some of her most fond memories are on the Harkness stage of the 4-H building, but not just from performing. At the 2016 state fair, her husband, Matt Rhoda, proposed to her after an arts-in show. Although Matt was never in 4-H, he did it because "It was perfect and unexpected. She loves this place so much and it was the best place to make it happen. Kaitlyn was the first person t…

4-H grows 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.

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…

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, e…