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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…
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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?

Flavia and Carrie: a 4-H harp duo

From harp lessons to trap shoot practice, software engineering to the archery range, Flavia and Carrie have found each of their own unique places in 4-H.
Meet Flavia. She's a determined 14 year old aspiring software designer, who grew up on her family's crop farm in Martin County. She follows her father’s footsteps as a 4-H'er but in her own unique way. Differing from his experience focused on livestock projects, Flavia spends her time in 4-H performing and fine arts.

Flavia plays five different instruments - harp, violin, guitar, piano, and the drums. "Do I have time for myself? Good question!" Flavia laughs. She doesn't have much spare time after hours of daily practice, but still enjoys being involved in her high school’s speech and debate team.

Performing is one of Falvia's favorite and most natural activities. "I like that 4-H gives me the opportunity to get my art out there and have more experiences playing and competing in front of people,&quo…

What is it like to show livestock?

It’s a question many spectators at a show wonder. For Roseau County 4-H member, Alexa Kihle, showing livestock is a family affair. Going all the way back to the 1940s, when her great-grandmother showed cattle with 4-H in Nebraska.

Though Alexa has exhibited a variety of 4-H projects, including gardening, performing arts, food and nutrition, it’s her experience showing swine that has truly made a difference in her life. It was these experiences that inspired her to answer the question, “What is it like to show livestock?” in the following essay.

Minnesota Corn Growers Association: A critical partner for agronomy education

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association has been a faithful supporter of Extension education for more than 25 years.

In 2018, they helped us re-envision 4-H Agronomy, Crops, & Soils with the goal of building Minnesota's next generation of agri-scientists. Empowering youth with tools to learn and grow We piloted our re-envisioned  4-H Agronomy, Crops, & Soils program in five southwest Minnesota counties (Cottonwood, Lyon, Renville, Stevens, Swift). 4-H staff surveyed families and youth for feedback and ideas, and then got to work.
PROJECT START-UP KITS: We created project kits that youth could take home for hands-on learning in crop sciences, plant & soil sciences and vegetable gardening. Extension's crop and horticulture experts helped create learning guides included in each kit to guide youth discovery.FAIRS: We created better pathways for youth to exhibit their projects at county fairs. This required improvements to exhibit spaces, signage, hands-on displays, and ha…

Minnesota 4-H: Growing True Leaders to air Oct. 11

During National 4-H Week, Pioneer Public Television will air a new edition of Minnesota 4-H: Growing True Leaders, a program to celebrate the accomplishments of Minnesotan 4-H'ers and showcases the values and mission of our organization.

Hosted by Libby Montreuil, this edition of Minnesota 4-H: Growing True Leaders highlights the Milan Navigators 4-H Club, which recently took part in a special national initiative to improve community health.

The program also features interviews with 4-H'ers at the Minnesota State Fair talking about their projects and experiences in 4-H. This year’s program features 4-H'ers from 10 different counties: Blue Earth, Washington, Pennington, Nicollet, Olmsted, Stearns, Washington, Martin, Wright and Carver.

As Minnesota's largest youth development organization, 4-H strives "to make the best better" through hands-on projects in areas such as science, health, agriculture, citizenship and the arts. 4-H programs provide a safe, fun …

From Jennifer: It’s a new season of doing in 4-H

A monthly letter from Minnesota 4-H interim state leader Dr. Jennifer A. Skuza

Dear 4-H youth, families and volunteers,

As we step into this new season, with the changing color of leaves and cooling of the air, it feels to me like a fresh start. My daughter just began a new year of school and enrichment activities are on our mind. Sports, STEM, creative arts, community service. There are so many choices.

4-H also begins anew in this season. October 1st is the start of our new program year. Just like each January when many of us set intentions for the coming months, now is the perfect time to identify how we want to change, and perhaps improve, our 4-H experience.

What are you curious and excited to learn and explore this year? Will you try something new?How might you use your growing knowledge and passion to do for yourself, your family and club, your community and our world?
How might you encourage greater levels of learning and leadership in the youth you influence? How …