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Be Your Own Best Advocate

In 4-H, we teach youth to be advocates for their projects. And we hope they'll raise their voice for a peer or a cause they're passionate about. We teach them to advocate for agriculture, STEM, and everything in between. Charles M. of Dodge county has learned all these things, but above all he's learned to advocate for himself.

Throughout his 4-H experience, Charles has explored the rabbit, poultry, and beef projects. As he's gotten older, Charles has taken on leadership roles within the poultry project -even serving on the Minnesota 4-H poultry committee. His growing skills in poultry and leadership have earned Charles what he calls his "greatest honor and experience" winning the title of 4-H Poultry Prince in 2017.

The Poultry Prince and Princess Contest is a scholarship program that showcases the poultry knowledge and leadership of Minnesota 4-H youth. The program gives members like Charles the opportunity to develop networking skills, gain media experien…
Recent posts

From Jennifer: Discovering your flow in 4-H

Dear youth, families and volunteers,

I love long distance running. I discovered it when I was 11 years old and have been running ever since. No matter where I've lived and worked, be it Brown County, Nicaragua or St. Paul, running has been my constant companion. When my feet hit the pavement or trail, it can feel as if nothing else matters. I've even been known to completely lose track of time while out on a run. I truly love it.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Where you become so deeply involved in a thought or activity that all else falls away? If you answered yes to that question, then you have experienced flow.

What is flow? Flow is a state of concentration or complete absorption in an activity. Athletes call it "being in the zone." Artists and musicians describe it as a passionate focus on their creative work. Children experience it when they are fully engrossed in play.

I've certainly witnessed flow in 4-H youth. I'm sure you have too. Whe…

Minnesota youth compete in National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference

Five Minnesota youth recently competed at the National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference recognizes 4-H teenagers who have excelled in their state 4-H poultry learning experiences.

Four contests occur at the conference: poultry judging, egg preparation demonstration, avian bowl, and poultry barbecue contests. Each contest is designed to teach youth subject matter in poultry science and industry but also important life skills including decision making, communication and teamwork.

From Jennifer: In 4-H, all youth are welcome to learn and grow

Dear youth, families and volunteers,

One of the things I most value about 4-H is that it is open to all young people.

4-H is a public youth development organization. That means we receive funds from state and local government to ensure all young people can access high-quality youth development experiences. Whether from urban, suburban, rural or tribal communities, youth living in Minnesota can find 4-H learning opportunities that encourage and challenge them to grow.

Clay County volunteer receives statewide honors

Danielle Holmes from Clay County has received the Minnesota 4-H Salute to Excellence Volunteer of the Year Award.

Danielle has empowered youth to conduct meetings more independently, deliver public presentations, and lead community service projects. As a 4-H Engineering Design Challenge coach, she encouraged youth to come up with their own designs and used open-ended questions to guide youth in discovering their own solutions.

Lisa Kasson-Bauer, 4-H Program Coordinator in Clay County, said that "Danielle has a gift for giving youth information and presenting it in a way that makes them curious and willing to explore. She uses her organizational skills, science education and work experience to the benefit of youth in Clay County. Her efforts have helped numerous 4-H'ers gain knowledge and experience in STEM, leadership and civic engagement."
Danielle was chosen by a panel of judges from an outstanding list of nominees. Next she will be considered for a regional award and…

Mower County couple named outstanding lifetime volunteers

Congratulations to Bob and Laurie Balgeman from Mower County. They have been chosen as Minnesota's 4-H Salute to Excellence Outstanding Lifetime Volunteers!
Bob has served as the long-time General Livestock Project Bowl coach. He creates a positive learning environment where young people have fun, are free to ask questions and feel challenged to deepen their learning. His commitment has yielded competitive teams and, more importantly, encouraged young people to reach their potential. Bob has also served as a 4-H club leader and on the county auction committee, 4-H Advisory Board, and Mower County Extension Committee.

Laurie leads the Mower County 4-H Dog Project, and is excellent at recruiting caring adults to support youth in their project learning. One parent said, "Any success that the kids have in training their dogs is due to Laurie's guidance." She has mentored numerous 4-H youth to take on advanced leadership roles including 4-H ambassadors, club leaders, dog t…

From Jennifer: Together, we can ensure Minnesota youth thrive.

Dear 4-H youth, families and volunteers,

It is my honor to accept the role of Minnesota 4-H State Director, which I have been filling on an interim capacity since August. It has been since 1993 that I have served young people through Extension and seen just how impactful 4-H can be in the growth of our youth.

The 4-H youth development program is a wonderful place for youth to pursue a life of thriving.

What does it mean to thrive? Thriving is characterized as the ability to pursue happiness and success, while feeling connected to others and our surrounding world. It is what we all want for our children, their friends and in fact every youth in our community.

But many young people are not on a pathway toward thriving. Research shows that by the beginning of high school, only about a quarter of young people in the US are on that critical path to happiness, success and connection. So many youth are being left behind. What can be done?