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Giving and Receiving: The Speck family's 4-H story

The Speck family, of Hubbard County, was a typical Minnesota family looking for engaging activities that would encourage self-confidence and creativity in their two young sons. Although Colleen and Dave hadn't participated in 4-H growing up, they knew it was affordable and available in their area so they figured it was worth trying out.

"Honestly, I thought 4-H was really just for agriculture families, so I was a little hesitant at first," mentioned Colleen. "But I quickly learned how much 4-H had to offer my family. What 4-H really is is a life-changing youth development program. And it's for all families."

Brendon and Ryan, the Speck boys, found their 4-H home in a science, engineering and technology 4-H club in nearby Beltrami County. A major focus of this club has been the exploration of aquatic robotics engineering. The family has participated in statewide aquatic robotics training events (with significant funding provided by the Minnesota 4-H Foundation), taken their projects to the State Fair and Brendon represented Minnesota in the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington D.C.

Brendon, now a college student studying mechanical engineering and a small business owner, has remained engaged with 4-H by helping to design activities and curriculum for the club his parents and brother are still actively engaged in as leaders. A huge recent accomplishment for Brendon was being named the Young Entrepreneur Foundation's 2013 Young Entrepreneur for Minnesota. He credits 4-H with much of the success he has achieved, helping him to develop his self-worth and confidence in public speaking.

"I can't say enough for 4-H," mentioned Brendon recently. "It has given me so many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. I am grateful and am giving back by volunteering in 4-H so other kids can have the same discoveries as my brother and I have had."

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