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4-H'ers in Kittson County Plan Camp to Better their Community

Service. Bonding. Learning. Impacting a Community.

One of the most important things in 4-H is its focus on leadership and service. Because it is such an important skill, many 4-H groups make leadership and service central to their programming. With a Helping Hands Grant from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation, the Kittson County 4-H Leader’s Council planned Camp BOOM (Building Our Outreach Missions) to create more youth leaders while doing service throughout their county. The camp was held in October of 2016.

It was from previous 4-H service experiences that the youth planners decided this camp was valuable for their peers. Planning was done by a group of 4-H youth and Kittson County’s Program Coordinator. Together, they planned the majority of the camp.

Youth bring cookies to senior citizens in a nursing home
Emily Schmiedeberg was one of the youth leaders of the project. "Our goal of Camp BOOM was to focus on and build outreach skills among 4-H’ers and other youth in our area." These goals were, no doubt, achieved. Participants did two service projects during the weekend long camp. The first was baking and delivering cookies to residents of a local nursing home. The youth also had fun painting the resident’s nails, visiting with them, and participating in a sing along. The second project was called Operation Gratitude. Youth made bracelets out of paracord, wrote letters, and made cards for military members serving overseas.
Kittson county youth bake cookies for service

In addition to outreach, the camp offered leadership workshops where participants explored different types of leadership, why leadership is important, and how to better communicate in groups. Specialized training for youth who would like to be 4-H ambassadors was also included in the camp. Youth from three northwestern Minnesota counties took part and, according to youth evaluations, the camp made them feel well prepared to be more effective leaders in their community. "We have learned skills that we are excited to put to work," said Emily.

"Camp BOOM was exciting to plan and be part of throughout the whole process because it was created and guided by youth," said Kittson County 4-H Program Coordinator, Kaitlin Barbosa. They had hoped to have more youth attend, but a smaller group gave them the chance to test out what the camp was and generate more ideas for future camps.

"My favorite part was the Operation Gratitude project we did. I had a great time making cards and bracelets, but the best part was learning that by doing a simple thing, I could encourage our military members. I can show them that what they do is appreciated," Emily said.

"Sometimes it’s not about the service projects or the activities themselves, but instead is about how each person inspired to do more in their own community and to invite others to join them in the future," Kaitlin added.

Youth holding up their paracord bracelets
for people serving overseas
Kittson County 4-H have already started planning Camp BOOM for next year, but plan on scheduling it for the summer so even more youth can attend. Emily is especially excited explore service project options to offer next year. "We were thrilled to offer this camp," Kaitlin said.
Emily believes it is very important to support 4-H. "Members learn important skills that will lead them to a successful future, and today’s youth are tomorrow’s future."

Each spring the Minnesota 4-H Foundation distributes grants to 4-H clubs that engage youth in building critical life skills. We feature one grantee every month to celebrate wonderful ways Minnesota 4-H'ers are living out the 4-H Pledge.

Did you know that these experiences in 4-H happens because of the generosity of donors like you? What sort of impact could your support have on youth who want to serve their communities? Your gift could empower Minnesota youth to lead and succeed. They’re just waiting on you. Please give today.

By Laura Wyatt
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

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