- 8/10 "I volunteer because in 4-H, no matter what you're interested in, you can find a place to belong, work hard, and experience success."
Jeff Eibler is in his 15th year as a 4-H volunteer.
Jeff with his wife and daughters
He first signed up to volunteer at the request of his wife, Jan. She wanted to be sure that their three young daughters could experience 4-H near their home in International Falls, Minnesota.
"I didn't know much about it at first, but came along for the ride. Once I became a volunteer, I started looking for ways to contribute. Since I was interested in dogs, the dog project seemed like a good option."
After Jeff and his girls explored the 4-H Dog Project for a few years, they discovered Minnesota 4-H's Project Bowl program. This series of regional and state competitions challenges teams of youth on their knowledge of 4-H project areas. Teams are asked questions and buzz in to give their best response.
"Our first year we had two junior teams in the dog project area. Both experienced success at the regional competition, but got hammered at state. We all came back with our tails dragging. But let me tell you, getting beat is a great motivator."
- 8/1 Volunteering is a gift. Who will you share it with?11,000 caring adults volunteered with Minnesota 4-H last year. If you are one of those generous community members, thank you. Your time, enthusiasm and commitment empowered 69,000 young people with the skills they need to lead for a lifetime.
But there are so many more young people who need 4-H. In fact, census data indicate that up to 350,000 Minnesota youth don’t yet have access to meaningful, hands-on, enrichment activities. They are waiting for us!
Brad and Teresa Schmidt are long-time 4-H Shooting Sports & Wildlife volunteers in Douglas County. Their strategy for encouraging and engaging parents has grown the program from 2 to 13 screened and enthusiastic volunteers.
“After I mingle with parents for a while, I’ll sneak in a homework assignment that gets them involved with their kids,” explained Brad. “As parents learn, they want to participate more. Building confidence in parents is important to moving them toward volunteering.”
- 7/13 "My hope for our kids is that they will become connected and committed to their community. Our youth are our future."Meet Jim Schneider.
Jim is a science teacher at Northome High School in Koochiching County. His first 4-H experience as an adult was judging science and engineering projects at his local county fair.
"I grew up in 4-H, but in a different area, and I didn't initially think about 4-H for our family. But once I got reconnected, I remembered how great the program is and wanted my sons to be involved."
When his older son Caleb was young, he and Jim joined a 4-H club near their home, started attending monthly meetings, and began exploring different project areas. About 15 years ago, when their club needed a new leader, Jim stepped up and agreed to fill that volunteer role. The club continues to this day, and Jim's younger son Peter is an active member.
Jim especially enjoys helping 4-H youth explore engineering and design through the 4-H robotics program. He coaches teams that work collaboratively on robotics challenges and compete with other teams across the region and state in the FIRST LEGO League.
- 7/6 "4-H is teaching me how to be a responsible leader. I can take that to college to make a difference, influence others."
Ermias is a 17 year-old member of 4-H who lives in South St. Paul. As a teen teacher in the Dakota County 4-H Youth Teaching Youth (YTY) program, Ermias is building leadership and communication skills while helping young people make healthy living choices.
Ermias is a Minnesota
4-H True Leader
"I heard about YTY through an afterschool community service group I'm in. Kirsten [4-H staff] helped me learn more about the program, get enrolled, and find opportunities to be trained and teach."
Teams of 4-H Youth Teaching Youth teen teachers learn a healthy living curriculum and then deliver lessons to classes of third, fourth, and fifth graders. Topics include healthy eating, cooking, disease prevention and awareness, and choosing to be active.
- 7/1 Volunteers help youth learn and discover
In 4-H, youth collaborate with caring adults to explore hands-on learning in topics like science, health, agriculture, citizenship, and the arts. Volunteers provide a positive environment where youth learn by doing.
Last year, 11,000 volunteers from every Minnesota county and tribal community generously gave their time and enthusiasm to foster learning and discovery in 69,000 4-H'ers. Volunteers are essential to the 4-H experience.
Sharing passion, growing understanding
Julie volunteering with a Mower County
4-H Project Bowl team
Julie Holst has been a 4-H volunteer in Mower County for nearly 20 years. She's a nurse practitioner who loves helping young people expand their knowledge of nutrition, health, and wellness through animal science experiences. Julie coaches 4-H Project Bowl teams, a program focused on youth learning and teamwork.
"Once a child is exposed to Project Bowl, learning gets in their system," Julie commented. "They learn so much. It's an honor and privilege to work with youth in this program."
Minnesota 4-H in the media
- NEW TO MOO: Learning experiences through 4-H at Goodhue County Fair | News | southernminn.com
- Ready, Set, Fair: Fridley 4H Students Build Rube Goldberg Machine | KSTP.com
- 4-H and Google Team Up to Bring Tech to America's Youth | Agweb.com
- Pope County Tribune | Lakeview 4-H donates ‘Mommy/Me’ basket to Glacial Ridge Hospital
- MN county adapts livestock judging contest | Agweek
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