Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2017

"Leaders need to consider the ideas of others. in 4-H, I'm learning to be a good leader."

Meet Mela, a Minnesota 4-H true leader.

Mela started her 4-H career in the rabbit project. Each year she raises a different breed, exploring how to best prepare them for show and judging during the county fair. It has required a great deal of commitment to be successful.

"I've raised Mini Rexes, Rexes, Dutch, and a Satin. I have to work hard with my rabbits. I see a lot of potential in them and want to bring that out."

Mela is a member of the West Albany Winners 4-H Club. She joined when she was eight years old because her mom thought she might enjoy it. Mela is one of about 30 youth in her club, including her 10-year-old sister Jane.

"There are a lot of young kids in our club. We take turns doing demonstrations to build our confidence in speaking and trying new things."

Juanita Reed-Boniface: "I give to pay-back and provide opportunities for today's 4-H members."

Juanita Reed-Boniface is not only a 4-H alum, but also a University of Minnesota Extension retiree and long-time donor to Minnesota 4-H. She grew up in Nebraska and although her family lived in two different counties during her childhood, 4-H was a constant in Juanita’s life. "4-H was really my 'thing' and there were not many other out of school activities for kids at that time. My summers were spent doing 4-H projects and attending 4-H camp, county fair, and the state fair."

She has many fond memories from her 4-H years. She was awarded trips to the Nebraska State Conservation Camp and State 4-H Club Week held at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln campus. "The biggest highlight was attending National 4-H Congress in Chicago in 1955 as the Nebraska winner in Food Preparation. Our delegation had 40 young people from all over the state. 4-H Congress was a defining moment for me—the impact of meeting and interacting with young people from across the nation, meeti…

"Volunteering with 4-H keeps us vibrant and engaged."

Meet the Schmidt's.

Brad and Teresa are volunteers with Minnesota 4-H's Shooting Sports and Wildlife program.

Although it's been years since their son and daughter were young enough for 4-H, they remain faithful volunteers in Douglas County.

Each year, they equip nearly 100 youth and their families with confidence, respect, and a deep love for the great outdoors.

"I enjoy it! Our family was brought up to help others out," said Brad. "And a lot of kids in our area don't have many opportunities to be outside and do outdoor activities. We help youth get involved and learn a lot."

When Teresa and Brad first agreed to be 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife volunteers, there were only three local youth interested, their son Josh and two of his friends. They were a hunting family and were familiar with gun safety, but didn't have much knowledge about fishing, conservation, or how to engage youth effectively. They were willing to learn, however, and had g…

Dr. Tonya Schoenfuss: "I wouldn't have my career without 4-H!"

Dr. Tonya Schoenfuss is a 4-H alum from Riverside County in California. She is currently a food science professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and loves having 4-H members in the classroom because of their positive attitudes and willingness to get things done.

As a youth, her favorite part of 4-H was competing with her dairy goats and dairy cows at the local county fairs. "Camping at the fairs with family and friends was a wonderful experience. I got very good at dairy goat and dairy cattle showmanship by the time I was a senior [in high school]." Tonya had the opportunity to be president of her local club, the Winchester Harvesters, for two years, and also served as club secretary. "I learned lots of leadership skills and how to interact with people," she said.

All these years after her 4-H days, Tonya still lives out the 4-H Pledge. She is especially committed to using her hands to larger service, by serving for the past nine years on the board of a…

Two generations, one passion for learning, growing, and service.

As the mother of three daughters, Jodi Hintzen wanted to model the value and importance of doing meaningful work. To that end, nearly 20 years ago, she accepted a 4-H staff role in Douglas County. Jodi was excited to provide youth in her community with opportunities to learn and lead through 4-H. She herself had experienced the many benefits of growing up in the program.

"I loved Share the Fun.* It was a favorite activity every year. And the sewing skills I developed in 4-H, starting in 3rd grade, I use to this day. I teach sewing to 4-H'ers here in Douglas County as well as for Community Ed. I'm a costumer for our local community theater and even perform on occasion. I love that the things I most enjoyed in 4-H are still part of my life."

Jodi was glad to raise her daughters in 4-H. In the program, they became confident public speakers and developed critical skills they used throughout college and into their professional lives.

Meet our most recent Ed Schultz Scholarship recipients

These impressive Minnesota 4-H'ers are the most recent recipients of the Ed Schultz Scholarship for Le Sueur County youth.
Leah SchloesserLeah is a 2015 Graduate of Tri City United High School and a 9 year member of the Cleveland Pioneer 4-H Club in Le Sueur County. Leah was an officer for the 4-H Federation and has served for a few years as her Club secretary. She is the daughter of Mike and Darcy Schloesser. Leah is attending Ridewater College and plans to pursue a degree in Dairy Management with an emphasis in Farm Operations. During the course of Leah's 4-H career, she has been involved in many different project areas. Some of the indoor projects she has exhibited are photography, flower gardening, crafts and fine arts and exploring animals. As much fun as indoor projects can be, Leah likes to focus most of her time and energy on her Dairy Cattle. Leah was also one of the 4-H County Ambassadors.

Andrew BakerAndrew was a 2016 graduate of Saint Peter High School and a 12 year …

I pledge my hands to larger service

I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my family, my club, my community, my country, and my world.  -The 4-H Pledge
Reflecting on the 4-H Pledge can help us identify ways of making the best better in our lives. Last month I wrote about the heart part of our 4-H Pledge. Today, I'd like to consider our hands.

I pledge my hands to larger service.

Did you know that youth in 4-H are 4 times more likely to actively contribute to their communities and 2 times more likely to be civically active? This is outstanding and a wonderful fact that I'm proud to tell others any chance I get.

But what does service really look like in the hands of our youth? How are young people in 4-H making a difference in our communities? Let me share a couple examples.