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Showing posts from June, 2018

4-H helps youth discover just what it takes to be a leader

Meet Dan.

He's wrapping up his second year as a Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador.

In 4-H, Dan has learned just what it takes to be a leader.

Dan joined 4-H back when he was just five years old. He was a member of the Eagle Lake Club in Otter Tail County. Dan learned about sheep, pigs, forestry and built shop projects to exhibit at his local county fair. Now in his last year of 4-H membership, he's discovered that the most rewarding part of all his experiences are the skills he's grown along the way.

In 4-H, Dan grew a sense of responsibility, compassion, communication, technical and problem-solving skills, and a commitment to working hard. He uses these skills in his school work, friendships, and other student-led activities he participates in. They are powerful lifelong skills Dan knows he'll use every day for the rest of his life.

When Dan was a senior in high school, he applied to be a Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador. His hope was to share his learning and leadership s…

In 4-H, people see my potential along with my disabilities.

Natalie D. is a 4-H’er from Scott County. This week, she’s representing Minnesota at the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships in Nebraska.

We often tell stories on this blog about the impact 4-H has on Minnesota young people. Today’s post is straight from Natalie in her own words. She’s a force. Enjoy.

My name is Natalie.

Being a kid with allergies, arthritis, anxiety, depression and autism, I didn't fit into the past clubs and sports I tried. I had to act like someone I wasn't to try to fit the clubs instead of the clubs fitting me. I felt alone. My depression got worse and I had to go to an inpatient program. After I was back home, I wanted to be part of a group, to feel needed and part of something. My dad suggested 4-H.

I went to a meeting with the Credit River Comets 4-H Club. I sat in the back being very quiet. They got to the point of their meeting where they vote on the monthly outing; they picked going to a trampoline park, which doesn't work well for someone…

Volunteering keeps one of the first 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassadors connected and contributing

Meet Jacob.

Jacob is a volunteer with the Minnesota 4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife program.

Early leadership experiences As a high schooler, Jacob helped create an ambassador program for older youth who were enthusiastic about shooting sports. With the support of local 4-H staff, Jacob and a few other teens welcomed younger youth into the program and built their networking skills as they communicated the value and impact of shooting sports education statewide.

"Since I was really young, I loved shooting sports," reflected Jacob. "In 4-H, I was encouraged by adults who believed in me and loved the sport too. I knew I wanted to be just like those adults. They were there for me when I was growing up. That’s why I am there for the next group of kids in 4-H."

Finding ways to contribute After graduating, Jacob started volunteering with middle school youth who were new to his local 4-H club. Over time, he discovered lot of opportunities to contribute. Currently he and …

Learning, growing and giving back. Why Sharon Davis loves helping youth explore animal science in 4-H.

Did you know that 67% of all Minnesota 4-H'ers participate in an animal science project?

Sharon Davis has been working for over 30 years with Minnesota 4-H specializing in livestock education for youth. Most recently, she began a new position as Extension educator and Science of Animals Director, she focuses on educational programming and policy.

"It's important to help guide youth learning so they can raise, feed and care for their animals. 4-H animal science projects are a great way to promote engagement, self-directed learning and science skills in young people."

In the show ring, 4-H youth exhibit the knowledge and skills they've built working with their animals. But youth learning doesn't begin and end in the show ring. Raising an animal in 4-H is a continuous cycle of growth that extends for months and even years for some youth. It's a learning cycle where Sharon invests her leadership and knowledge every single day.

Learning transferable skills …

What do goats, soap and sewing all have in common? Entrepreneurship.

For most people the answer is "absolutely nothing!" But for one graduating senior, it's their differences that have led to her growth in 4-H.

Beth Ann is a Steele County 4-H'er. She followed her brother's footsteps by showing goats in her early 4-H years. And it was one special little goat that launched her into a decade of learning, exploring and even teaching others.

A love for learning began in the barn Many 4-H youth show animals in competition with other youth. But before Beth Ann could show anything, she had some learning to do. As a Cloverbud, a special 4-H program for 5-7 year olds, Beth Ann found learning to be fun. She loved doing things independently, without her brother or mom's help.

"I still remember my first goat and working with her every day," recalled Beth Ann. "She was my favorite!" Taking on her first goat project required Beth Ann to be responsible. She had to take care of this tiny little goat, and train her every da…