- 6/22 "I've learned that when you volunteer, you can learn as you go. What matters most is that you're there."
Meet Danielle Lake Diver.
Danielle is a volunteer mentor with the Nahgahchiwanong Fond du Lac 4-H tribal youth program.
She meets weekly with 4-H'ers at the Cloquet Community Center, helping them identify topics of interest and connect to resources that build their knowledge and skills.
"Our youth are interested in cooking and robotics this year. It'll be fun to help them learn new things, but I admit, I'm a little nervous about robotics. I don't know anything about robots. I guess I'll be learning right alongside the kids!"
Although Danielle is new to 4-H, she has been connected to Fond du Lac tribal youth for several years. Beginning in 2013, Danielle worked as a Promise Fellow at Fond du Lac Ojibwe (K-12) School. And for four years, she partnered with youth and the local Master Gardener program to co-lead a youth gardening club and cultivate community gardens.
"Being a 4-H volunteer helps me stay connected to the youth I've gotten to know over these past years. They are great and I want to be a positive role model for them."
Volunteering has always been an important part of Danielle's life. When she was 14-years-old, Danielle took on her first volunteer role, serving meals to men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. Ever since, even as she's lived in Ohio, Florida, Washington, and now Minnesota, Danielle continues to find ways of connecting her passions with how she spends her time.
"I've learned that my presence makes a difference. It matters way more than what I know. When you volunteer, you can learn as you go. What matters most is that you're there."
Danielle planting seeds with 4-H youth
When asked what Danielle dreams of the youth in her 4-H club, she talks about legacy, the importance of elders of all ages teaching and influencing those who are younger.
"I hope youth, as they get older, will stay connected and become leaders. And I hope that more volunteers join us so that there are always caring adults present, supportive and engaging. Together, we can best serve the youth in our community."
When Danielle isn't volunteering with 4-H, she is a Math Corps tutor at Stowe Elementary. She and her husband Aaron live on Fond du Lac Reservation.
Thank you for volunteering with youth in the Nahgahchiwanong Fond du Lac community, Danielle. Your passion, energy, and presence are growing true leaders!Read more.University of MinnesotaExtension Center for Youth Development
- 6/15 "I love helping people reach their full potential and every part of my job gives me opportunities to do that."
I recently spoke with Nicole Pokorney, an Extension educator based in Rochester. She is passionate about youth development and believes that just a little bit of passion can fuel a fire of transformation. Here's a peek into our conversation.
Erin Kelly-Collins: How did you first get connected to Extension and 4-H?
Extension educator Nicole Pokorney
Nicole Pokorney: I was only in 4-H for one year growing up, but was very connected to the University of Minnesota Extension through my mom. She was a Master Gardener where we lived in Chisago County. I remember monthly visits to the local Extension office. Mom was always looking for resources to understand the land and garden more effectively. I grew up surrounded by the positive impacts of Extension.
EKC: Tell me a little about how to came to work for Extension 4-H.
NP: After working for many years as a youth minister, I earned a Master's degree in school counseling. I had it in my mind that I'd enjoy working for 4-H, but had to wait for the right opportunity. I accepted this role as Extension educator 10 Ĺ years ago now.
- 6/8 "4-H has taught me that my voice is important. It's great to be part of something so big."
Meet Evan. A Minnesota 4-H True Leader.
4-H has been an important place for Evan to build the skills he needs to lead in school, his community, and into his future. He has been part of Hubbard County 4-H since he was just five years old, focusing his learning on horses, photography and leadership. As an older member of 4-H, Evan realizes how important it is to share his knowledge and skills with younger youth in his community and throughout the state.
"I love photography, but there aren't a lot of other kids in Hubbard County who know how to take photos. I'm preparing a workshop for local youth to learn about photography. I hope to generate interest in this project and help youth build skills too."
- 6/1 I pledge my health to better living
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 find ways of making the best of our lives even better. Last month I wrote about the hands part of our 4-H Pledge. Today, I'd like to reflect on our health.
I pledge my health to better living
Making a commitment to care for ourselves is very personal. The food we eat, the activities we participate in, the physical and spiritual rest we pursue are all choices each of us must make for ourselves. But, the people around us and the choices they make, do have influence.
What kind of friend are you?
4-H'ers are 2x more likely to make healthy choices both as youth and throughout their lifetime. According to research, the people we spend time with as youth have a very real influence on our health and well-being.
In 4-H, youth come together with peers to learn, grow, serve, and make healthy choices in community. If you want higher self-esteem and confidence, better health, and decreased stress, hang out with folks who share your goals. Our friends can't make healthy choices for us, but they can encourage and make similar choices right alongside us. And did you know just how much influence your choices have on your friends? Youth have a great deal of positive power. When youth make healthy choices, their friends do too.
- 5/18 "Leaders need to consider the ideas of others. I'm learning to be a good leader in 4-H."
4-H is equipping Mela with
confidence and responsibility
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."
Minnesota 4-H in the media
- Carver County 4-H competes in Project Bowl | Local | swnewsmedia.com
- Pipestone County Star | 4-H alumnus passes on skills to next generation
- 4-H Students Take on Agriculture Challenges in Their Community | KSTP.com
- Sun Focus | Free 4-H Tech Wizards Youth Club
- Le Sueur County 4-Hers sharing video interviews on agricultural careers with peers | southernminn.com
Center for Youth Development in the media
- Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge: Infusing Agricultural Science and Engineering Concepts into 4-H Youth Development | Rice, J, Rugg, B, Davis, S | Journal of Extension
- Focus on Methodology: Beyond paper and pencil: Conducting computer-assisted data collection with adolescents in group settings
- Dilemmas in Youth Work and Youth Development Practice - Laurie Ross, Shane Capra, Lindsay Carpenter, Julia Hubbell, Kathrin Walker - Google Books
- Citizen Science as a REAL Environment for Authentic Scientific Inquiry | Nathan Meyer, Siri Scott, Pamela Nippolt, et al |
- A Call to Embrace Program Innovation | Nathan Meyer, Sherry Boyce, Rebecca Meyer | Journal of Extension