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Marie (DeMars) Zimmerman: “4-H taught me skills I use every day as a community journalist and editor.”

Marie (with colleagues) accepting Mills Trophy

Marie (DeMars) Zimmerman participated in McLeod County 4-H from 1995 to 2006 and was an intern for Wright County 4-H during the summers of 2006, 2007 and 2008. Her primary 4-H project areas were Beef, Clothing and Fashion Revue. She also participated in regional, state and national 4-H experiences like summer camp, BLU, YELLO! and National 4-H Congress.

“I remember leaving for my first regional 4-H summer camp, an overnighter, when I was 11 years old. I didn’t know anyone in the van from our county, but by the time I came home, I had all their signatures on my camp T-shirt. And I can still sing all those camp songs by heart!”

4-H was a wonderful environment for Marie to explore and try new things she wouldn't otherwise have experienced. “With 4-H I rode horseback through a town in the mountains of Pennsylvania, walked with our state flag through a ceremony at National 4-H Congress in Atlanta and got to evaluate livestock at the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Colorado.” She holds dear memories of camping at a little county campground with friends she still has today and spending overnights at the county fair. “We didn't sleep much, but we had the time of our lives. You'll learn a lot in 4-H. And it’s just plain fun.”
Marie and fellow 4-H alum Kayla (Kappes) Thompson
at 2004 National 4-H Congress

Participating in McLeod County 4-H’s General Livestock Judging program during high school was a particularly stretching experience for Marie, but one for which she remains deeply grateful. It was a chance to network with other passionate 4-H youth from across the state and country and improve her public speaking and evaluation skills, which she uses to this very day.

Marie graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in 2009 and spent the last year as editor of the Jackson County Pilot, which was named Minnesota's top weekly newspaper in 2014 from the Minnesota Newspaper Association. Marie loves telling stories, meeting new people and making connections in the community where she lives. “My job made me a very active community member and gave a voice to those who may not have one otherwise. I really enjoyed it.”

Marie with husband (and fellow 4-H alum) Nathan
Though no longer in the newspaper business, Marie remains a professional storyteller after recently moving to be closer to family. She is married to Nathan, and they are parents to 1-year-old Brock. The couple met in 4-H, leading many McLeod County 4-H Federation meetings together as officers. These days, they spend their free time helping on the family farm, keeping Brock out of trouble and playing outdoors.

“4-H helped me learn to meet new people and develop relationships. I'll always be grateful for the impact 4-H had on my life.”

If you would like to be a Minnesota 4-H 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 (

Erin Kelly-Collins
Alumni Coordinator
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

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