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Showing posts from July, 2018

Be fearlessly committed to growing more true leaders

After 15 years leading Minnesota 4-H, I am ready to return home to Virginia and pass leadership on to the next keeper of the clover.

Jennifer Skuza will serve as interim leader of Minnesota 4-H beginning Aug. 1. She has been with University of Minnesota Extension since 1993 in youth development roles including program coordinator, educator and assistant dean. Jennifer is passionate and intentional. I know our program will thrive under her leadership.

Thank you for welcoming me into the Minnesota 4-H family. You have a deep commitment to high-quality experiences for young people. I am grateful to have served alongside you.

4-H has always been about growing youth into leaders –confident and knowledgeable people who act with integrity, collaboration and pride. As our program continues to adapt to the needs of today’s youth, I challenge you to remain focused on our heart, our goal. Be fearlessly committed to growing more true leaders in Minnesota.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Committed family man finds his volunteering home in 4-H poultry program

If you ask Mark Otto about his 4-H roots, he’ll likely chuckle before explaining that he’s “been a member since the womb.” Mark grew up in a large, tight-knit family and his mother was a 4-H alum. She made sure all her children were actively involved. Mother Otto firmly believed that the skills 4-H builds in young people last a lifetime.

Since childhood, Mark has remained involved in 4-H. As a youth he attended local, regional and statewide events and explored a variety of project areas until identifying his clear favorites, leadership and citizenship.

As an adult, Mark’s used the skills he grew in 4-H to help his own children learn and explore. He loves the 4-H hands-on philosophy and how the many activities allow all youth, no matter their age, to find something they love.

“It’s the right organization at the right time for everyone,” said Mark as he thought about how all his children can explore in 4-H together. “I’ve learned as a parent and volunteer that you don’t give a lectur…

Thanks for your support, Tractor Supply Company!

We are pleased to announce that twelve Minnesota counties have been awarded funds totaling $3,280 from the Spring 2018 Paper Clover Campaign through National 4-H.

This promotion is held twice annually in partnership with Tractor Supply Company stores across the nation. During this promotion, shoppers at participating stores can donate $1 to their local 4-H program. Each contribution was honored by the display of the donor's name on a paper clover at their store.

Please help us congratulate the following county recipients:

Blue Earth • Clay • Dakota • Isanti • Morrison • Nobles • Olmsted • Pennington • Scott • Sherburne • South St. Louis • Wright

The next TSC Paper Clover Promotion will be in the fall.

For more information on the Paper Clover Campaign, check out Tractor Supply Co.’s website!

Are you interested in making a gift to support 4-H? Learn more here.

By Mariah Jean Larson
University of Minnesota student
Steele County 4-H alum

Overcoming obstacles, growing a career and giving back to a community

Abby Donkers is the summer intern for Rice County 4-H.

There are 87 counties in the state of Minnesota. What were the odds that Abby would get to be a 4-H summer intern at her home county's Extension office? Not as likely as you'd think!

It's rare for interns to work with their home county, they're usually placed somewhere new. For that reason, Abby's doing everything she can to help improve programs, plan events and connect with youth. She wants to give her absolute best to the program that's given her so much.

Building leadership and career skills 4-H partners with counties across Minnesota to provide college students with summer internships alongside local program coordinators. Responsibilities vary by county, but Abby's role has her attending 4-H camps and helping coordinate activities and programs throughout the summer. She is also engaged in planning and preparing all 4-H aspects of the Rice County Fair.
This work takes a lot of organization, attenti…

One 4-H youth's simple formula for success in the show ring

Thomas is a Redwood County 4-H'er who has found success in the beef cattle show ring.

What's his secret?
Passion plus perseverance Thomas has found that in order to get better results in the show ring, he has to put in more work—that's the secret to his success—passion and perseverance. Thomas finds hard work rewarding. "I'm results focused," he explained. "I spend my free time in the cattle barn. I'm up at 6 a.m. and spend three-and-a-half hours in the barn right away in the morning. Many days, I spend eight hours a day with my calves."

Now, to most youth, spending hours in a barn is admittedly not the most exciting way to spend their summer days, and Thomas knows this: "It's not necessarily exciting. It is boring sometimes, but it still needs to get done! I've learned that in order to get the results, you need to go out and get it done the right way. Results are based off of how much work you put in." It's a lesson he…

4-H and agriculture: preparing youth for a lifetime of impact

Monthly column from Minnesota 4-H director Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Animals like beef and chicken are often front of mind when folks think of agriculture. And it’s true, animal production is a significant part of the agriculture industry in Minnesota and across our region.

But there is so much more to agriculture than animals alone. And every part of this broad and diverse industry is rooted in cutting edge science.

Agriculture is an incredible area for youth to learn, grow critical life skills and find an engaging career.

Agriculture is all around us Agriculture intersects with our lives in countless ways. How we care for land and water, the ethics of how food is prepared and shared, the clothes we wear, the devices we use and even the role we play in the global economy. All of these things are directly and indirectly connected to how and what we grow and raise.