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Minnesota 4-H news archive

2013 News

Minnesota 4-H awards 2014 outstanding lifetime volunteer

Cornelia Kryzer (February 2014, Winona Daily News) Minnesota 4-H staff and volunteers gathered at the Best Western in Plymouth to honor Cornelia Kryzer of Winona County, the 2014 Minnesota 4-H Salute to Excellence Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award winner.  The award is presented to acknowledge the critical role that volunteers play in providing positive learning experiences for youth in the 4-H program. Research shows that volunteers and the mentorship they provide are key to positive youth development.  Each year, state 4-H programs are invited to select one outstanding lifetime volunteer who has served for more than 10 years and has contributed significantly to the 4-H Youth Development program. 

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4-H clubs are no longer sole domain of farm kids at county fairs

(December 2013, Star Tribune) In the teen center at the Franklin Library in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis, it doesn’t take long to figure out that this isn’t your typical sheep shearing and quilt-making 4-H Club. No longer the exclusive domain of rural kids and county fairs, the new 4-H is as likely to deal with robotics as it is roosters.

Read the Star Tribune's full story

Educator receives national award for volunteer development

(October 2013) Extension educator, Heidi Haugen, has received the “Excellence in Volunteerism (individual)” award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) for discovering and responding to volunteer needs and strengthening Minnesota’s volunteer systems.

A comprehensive needs assessment in 2008-2009 revealed that Minnesota 4-H needed better volunteer screening process renewal, standardized volunteer orientation and comprehensive volunteer management staff development. Since 2009, Heidi has made significant contributions to these areas of need and strengthened Minnesota’s state and county volunteer systems in part by leading a team to renew the state volunteer screening process; co-developing a state volunteer orientation; and preparing, coaching and supporting county-based staff in their volunteer management roles.

Minnesota 4-H now has a shorter volunteer application process; a stronger, web-based background check; and a new, standard, online orientation. 4-H staff in Heidi’s service regions report they are much better equipped volunteer managers than before because of Heidi’s contributions. Other impacts of her work include annual increases in volunteer enrollment, significant increases in numbers of clubs and project development committees, increased participation in training events, and fewer volunteer issues with other 4-H volunteers and staff.

Haugen won this award at the state level, at the north central states regional level, and then at the national level. There were 24 applicants at the state level and 4 applicants at the national level.  Haugen provides leadership to volunteer systems development for Extension’s Center for Youth Development and the Minnesota 4-H program in the northeast region of Minnesota. She works in the Brainerd office.

Minnesota 4-H staff recognized for outstanding contributions

(October 2013) The following north-central states regional winners (includes 12 states) were recognized for outstanding effort by NAE4-HA members in youth development.

  • Anna Gilbertson, program coordinator - Excellence in Natural Resources/Environmental Education (individual)
  • Brian McNeill, Extension educator; and Shelley Vergin, program coordinator - Excellence in Camping (team)

Ann Church, program coordinator in Washington County and Jill Grams, program coordinator in McLeod County received the Distinguished Service Award (DSA), which is given to a NAE4-HA member nominee who has served seven years or more in Extension 4-H youth programs. 

Amanda Sommers, program coordinator in Blue Earth County received the Achievement in Service Award (ASA), which is given to a NAE4-HA member nominee who has served more than three years but less than seven years in Extension 4-H youth programs. 

Minnesota 4-H partnering with ICI on a youth project

(March 2013) Minnesota 4-H is partnering with The Institute on Community Integration (ICI) on a project that brings together youth as partners in improving their communities through inclusive service learning.

The project titled  “Together We Make a Difference: Inclusive Service Learning as Part of 4-H Youth Development Programs,”equips teachers and youth leaders with research-based activities to help high school youth who are at risk of dropping out of school and disengaging from their communities, to become partners in planning and carrying out service learning projects. The goal is to instill hope, a sense of purpose, self-confidence, and a positive vision of the future. 

Center for Youth Development’s Jessica Russo and Anita Gilbertson, along with ICI staff lead this one-year project, delivered through four 4-H clubs in Ramsey and Anoka counties.  The project began July 1, 2012 and is funded by a $38,000 grant from the University’s College of Education and Human Development and Extension.   Read the full story

Putting a face on 4-H at the state capitol

(January 2013) Paula Mohr blogs for The Farmer about 10 4-H State Ambassadors who were chosen to participate in a pilot program in which they shared their 4-H experiences with their legislators. The pilot program was envisioned by Nicole Pokorney, Extension educator. Nicole has attended Extension legislative events in the past and noticed that youth voice was missing from the experience, so this was a great opportunity for youth to get involved.  Read the full story here.

4-H National Mentoring Program in St. Paul and the Fond du Lac reservation

(January 2013) Minnesota 4-H received $82,000 this year to continue its 4-H National Mentoring Program in St. Paul and the Fond du Lac reservation. Jessica Russo, Becky Meyer and Susan Beaulieu are the co-PI's and this is the third year for this funding in Minnesota.

The 4-H National Mentoring Program is recognized for implementing effective mentoring strategies with goals of improving family relationships, increasing social competencies, increasing school attendance, reducing juvenile delinquency, youth unemployment, and school failure while incorporating core principles of positive youth development to improve the well-being of at-risk youth ages 8-17, especially underserved populations of Latino, African American, and children of incarcerated parents.

The funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) supports these initiatives that assist in the development and maturity of community programs providing mentoring services to high-risk populations under the 4-H National Mentoring Program. The goal is to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, truancy, and other problems and high-risk behaviors. The program objective is to provide direct one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, or peer-mentoring services to under-served youth populations.

Identified objectives are:

  • Improved outcomes for at-risk youth;
  • Improved mentoring program administration; and
  • Improved organizational capacity.

In St. Paul, Jessica Russo manages two programs, Kid Power, which is a group of 4th - 8th grade kids focused on digital media, and the McDonough 4-H Club, which is located at McDonough housing. Youth and mentors meet weekly using a group mentoring model (ratio of 4 youth to 1 adult) to explore STEM, engage in service learning, and develop goals and leadership skills for overcoming barriers to higher education. Trips to campus, leader retreats, fairs, and businesses help connect and apply learning and establish long-term commitment. Family empowerment sessions engage families with youth educational goals.

At the Fond du Lac Reservation, Becky Meyer and Susan Beaulieu manage the matching of youth and mentors based on career interest. The participants take part in monthly group mentoring sessions focused on gardening, archery and cooking, and co-develop field trips to facilitate deeper career exploration. Youth also participate in weekly 4-H club programming and monthly family night out events. Facilitated by 4-H staff, Brookston Center staff, and other community partners, these events are co-developed with youth.

2012 News

Testing the waters

aquatic robotics

(January 2012) A new 4-H project offers youth a chance to be hands-on citizen scientists by monitoring water quality in their local areas. In the Aquatic Robotics Project, 4-H’ers build and program a remote-operated underwater vehicle to collect water samples, then test the samples. Aquatic robotics, a joint project between Extension and the US Navy, is being rolled out across Minnesota and will contribute to knowledge of watershed quality in 67 counties.

Read more in Source magazine.

2010-2011 News

Minnesota 4-H stories: Then and now

(June 2011) How does being a member of University of Minnesota Extension 4-H shape youth - both today and in past generations? Did they find a passion for the outdoors that led to a career? Or a lifelong interest in photography?

Read the full story.

4-H delivers

(October 2010) Four years ago, Extension 4-H program coordinator Tracy Ignaszewski began working on a way to help youth without funds or transportation participate in 4-H. Today, the 3-year-old Steele County "4-H on Wheels" program, developed in partnership with county commissioners and community housing representatives, provides 450 youth with learning experiences and life skills to help them succeed and give back to their communities.

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