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Kaitlin (Torgerson) Barbosa: "4-H was a community that built me up and prepared me for my future.”



Kaitlyn showing her 4-H alumni pride
2014 Minnesota State Fair
Kaitlin (Torgerson) Barbosa, a Marshall County 4-H alum, is the new 4-H program coordinator in Kittson County. We're thrilled to highlight her as a Minnesota 4-H Featured Alum!

Kaitlin spent 13 years actively involved in 4-H, focusing on demonstrations, forestry, wildlife and photography. Earning a trip to the Minnesota State Fair was a big motivator for Kaitlin. “I loved the chance to share my project at the state level as well as see the sites on the fairgrounds with my 4-H friends,” she reflected when asked to identify her favorite part of 4-H. “The opportunity to travel to the State Fair was the incentive I needed to master my projects for the county fair each year.”

An especially meaningful experience Kaitlin had as a young 4-H’er was as a participant in the 2001 4-H Communications Contest in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council.  As part of the public speaking division, she earned a trip to Eastern Europe with other finalists in the competition where they studied the Holocaust, discussed root causes of racism and identified what individuals can do to be part of a solution.
Kaitlyn riding the 4-H float at the 1993 Marshall County Fair

“4-H helped me gain confidence and develop leadership skills that equipped me both for college and my career. It provided me with an awesome community that built me up and prepared me for the future.”

After graduating with a B.A. in biology from Concordia College in Moorhead, Kaitlin joined the Lutheran Volunteer Corps, working for Earth Ministry in Seattle, WA, a nonprofit that engages faith communities in environmental stewardship and advocacy. She also served as a youth worker in the Seattle area, which included leading bi-annual trips to Guatemala in partnership with God's Child Project in Antigua. Kaitlin, along with her husband Johny, returned to northwest Minnesota in December 2014 and serves as the program coordinator for Kittson County 4-H.

Kaitlyn in a 1998
4-H entomology judging experience
“I love working with youth and watching them learn, gain new skills, and develop into leaders.  It's such an honor for me to support families. I'm delighted to be a part of the 4-H organization that invested so much in me.”

Of all the activities Kaitlin participated in throughout school, she believes that 4-H was the one that best prepared her for college and professional life. She encourages young people to take full advantage of the opportunities 4-H provides and to build strong relationships with peers and mentors.  “And don't forget to share with your community the great things 4-H teaches you!”

We're proud to have Kaitlin back home in Minnesota, offering another generation of youth the opportunities to learn, lead and succeed through the 4-H program!
Kaitlyn and Johny Barbosa

If you would like to be a future Minnesota Featured Alum, please share your story using this online form. And if you'd like to nominate somebody you know please contact Erin Kelly-Collins (erinkc@umn.edu) to learn more.

Erin Kelly-Collins
Alumni Coordinator
Minnesota 4-H Foundation
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