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Thursday, July 16, 2015

From the director

Dear YD colleagues,

It’s been a little while since the Youth Development Leadership Team (YDLT) has provided an update, so I wanted to let you know a few things that we’ve been working on.

In a previous update, we let you know that the YDLT was developing its own work plan to support the YD strategic plan, and we have been continuing to build that out over the last several months.

To give you an idea of what is in the YDLT work plan, one objective in the plan is to identify program planning supports that will help advance the work in regions to achieve the YD organizational benchmarks and programmatic outcomes. Some of the actions we have identified to achieve that objective include:

  • reviewing the program development model and drafting a guide for program planning in regions.
  • gathering input from regions on elements of program planning that will lead to shared understanding and common approaches.
  • developing graphics and visuals that help staff better understand the benchmarks, outcomes, the use of the 4-H Common Measures, and data in regionals reports.
  • reviewing the Minnesota 4-H logic model.

Jennifer Skuza, Pam Larson Nippolt, Colleen Sanders, Brenda Shafer and Nancy Hegland have already begun some work on these action steps, and have also been meeting regularly with the educators with the Regional Program Planning function for several months.

Watch for more information that will be shared later this summer.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

YD evaluation tips: 2015 data scavenger hunt!

Welcome to the 5th data scavenger hunt. First, a shout out to the two winners of last month’s challenge.  Jeremy Freeman and Becky Harrington both get gold stars for getting the right answers in lightning fast speed!

Before you get the question for this installment, let’s review the rules. Look for answers to the questions on the evaluation and research page on the YD Intranet. Post your responses as a comment to this YD tip. Imaginary participation ribbons go out to everyone who contributes; however, the quickest and most accurate participant will be the grand champion.

Here we go…

Over the past few months, the Evaluation team has been unveiling the Enrollment Data Interface (EDI). If you missed it, you can check out a recorded version of the EDI webinar. For this month’s tip, download EDI to answer the question. Let’s take a look at 4-H volunteers and what is happening overall. Statewide, how many volunteers were enrolled in 2014 vs. how many enrolled in your county? (If you’re in a region, pick one county in your region.)

Don’t delay, post your answer today!

Samantha Grant
Extension educator, program evaluation

YIPA professional development opportunities

There are many opportunities to improve our skills, however at times it can be challenging to know what will be the best investment of time and funds to broaden our skills.  For the past two years, we have been able to access training from YIPA (Youth Intervention Programs Association), as the Center for Youth Development became organizational members.  YIPA is a nonprofit organization that has been providing professional development services to youth intervention professionals, increasing community awareness about youth intervention, promoting best practices within the field of youth intervention services, and advocating on behalf of its membership since 1978.

While the Extension Center for Youth Development focuses on prevention, education, and youth development, we feel that YIPA’s role in professional development has been an asset to our program staff.  One of YIPA’s main functions is providing ongoing training programs, professional development, networking, collaboration, and educational products.  We have had the opportunities to partner with YIPA, as educators have shared their expertise through workshop presentation sponsored by YIPA. Both of our organizations have a statewide and regional focus.   One of the main membership benefits is professional development offerings throughout the state at no additional cost.  Their half-day and full-day trainings are offered free to members.  They also offer online trainings, which may have a cost.

Please take some time to explore the YIPA website at  They list the professional development opportunities available for members; however you may also sign up to receive their email messages about future trainings.  If you are traveling to one of the professional development trainings, you may need to contact your direct supervisor so that professional development funds can be allocated for your mileage expense.

If you have any questions regarding YIPA membership, please feel free to contact Kate Walker, Margo Herman, or Nancy Hegland.

Nancy Hegland 
Program leader

4-H online learning camp for Rube Goldberg participants

This week we concluded our latest online learning pilot: 4-H Rube Goldberg online camp.

Twenty-eight 4-H Rube Goldberg Challenge participants signed up, exceeding our expectations. On each of the seven days of the camp, “Dr. Ductape” (St. Paul middle school science teacher Mark Russo)  introduced concepts of physics used in the RG machines and challenged them to make a pendulum, set a ball rolling down a ramp, or connect two of the steps together. Each day, participants responded to his video challenges with video recordings of their responses. Formal evaluation is underway, and will inform future pilots.

The one-week online camp served as a companion activity for deeper learning, rather than a substitute for the face-to-face experience. Previous pilots in photography, nature exploration and movie-making informed our camp design. Future pilots may include any content area in which 4-H’ers want deeper learning with a knowledgeable mentor. Contact one of us if you want to learn more.

The 4-H online learning environment team: Ann Nordby, Todd Mehrkens, Jennifer Skuza, Trudy Dunham, Mark Haugen, Jody Koubsky, Tim Sheldon, Amy Baker, Danny Sussman

Get the new 4-H at the Minnesota State Fair app

Our NEW 4-H at the Minnesota State Fair app offers everything for the state fair goer and for those at home, too. Get this free app for yourself and please recommend it to your 4-H families, volunteers and anyone who cares about 4-H activities at the state fair! It’s particularly useful for people who can’t be there to keep up with what’s going on:

  • Judging results
  • 4-H Cam – Watch our expanded live stream every day of the fair! (see livestream schedule)
  • Public schedule, linked to an interactive map
  • Photo sharing
  • Exhibitor alerts for beef, dairy, sheep and all other fair exhibitors
  • More!

Download the app!
For iphone
For android

Ann Nordby
YD web manager

YD in the news

  • Nation's first 4-H Science of Ag sparks interest in ag-literate careers
    University of Minnesota Extension Dean Bev Durgan pens this article in the Brainerd Dispatch. Read the full article.

  • Meeker County 4-H’ers win Science of Ag contest
    A Meeker County team is the first to win a 4-H Science of Agriculture competition that tested the team members’ ingenuity at solving a real life, on-the-farm challenge, and much more. Read the full article.

  • Shortage of Agriculture Professionals Leads to New Student Program in Minnesota
    Minnesota 4-H launched its Science of Agriculture Challenge this year in an effort to generate student interest. Joshua Rice, U of M Extension, is quoted in this KSTP news spot. View the segment online.

  • CFANS seeking more students
    The school hopes to draw more students at younger ages to agriculture sciences. Put on by Minnesota 4-H, the contest required students in sixth grade and up to find a local agricultural issue, like alternative biofuels or dwindling bee populations, and research potential solutions with mentors in the chosen field. Read the full article.

  • Le Sueur County kids, counselors reunite at Camp Patterson
    Whether swimming in the lake or learning about science, the kids at the 4-H summer camp at Camp Patterson are constantly busy, and constantly getting to know one another. The camp includes students from Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur and Nicollet counties, who all come together for three days of fun and learning. Read the full article.

  • County 4-H'ers competing this week in Nebraska
    Two McLeod County 4-H’ers competed in the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championship in Grand Island, Neb.  Read the full article.

Webinar teaching opportunity: Proposals due July 31

Webinar proposals for the 2015-16 November and January Youth Development “brown bag” webinar series are now being accepted. (A Call for Proposals for the March and May webinars will go out in late fall.)

The brown bag webinar series has been organized collaboratively with NDSU since 2010 to give youth development staff a platform to increase their skills as a webinar presenter and share their work with youth practitioners at a national level.  Therefore, lead presenters must be youth development faculty or staff from the U of M Extension or NDSU Extension.  Co-presenters may be from other universities, agencies, etc.

The topic of the webinar must be relevant to youth practitioners and appropriate for a 1.5 hour presentation.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:
  • Hot topics/issues in youth development
  • Trends in youth development research
  • Innovative programmatic efforts, strategies and/or lessons learned in youth development
  • Content from a new curriculum/resource for youth or adults working with youth. (Needs to be available for free or purchase.) 

Complete the online proposal form.

Proposals must be received by Friday, July 31.  The proposals will be peer-reviewed and presenters will be notified in August.  Please contact Kari Robideau at 218-236-2013 or with any questions!

Kari Robideau
Extension educator and associate professor

Guiding Parents in the Age of Overindulgence — Webinar

Do you provide education or services to parents concerned about giving "too much" to their children? Are you interested in finding out how overindulgence affects families? If so, then the Guiding Parents in the Age of Overindulgence webinar is for you!

Jean Illsley Clarke, Ph.D., a long time parent educator and co-author of parenting books such as How Much is Too Much? and Ellie McCann, Extension educator in Family Resiliency, are members of the University of Minnesota Extension's overindulgence project team. Jean and Ellie will discuss the research behind parenting through overindulgence and provide participants with tips and tools to support their work with families.

During the webinar you will:

  • Outline current research related to parenting and overindulgence
  • Explore the online course Parenting in the Age of Overindulgence
  • Examine tools that help support parents identify and address overindulgence
  • A certificate of completion is available for participants.

This webinar is hosted by the Parents Forever™ administrative team. Register now!

This free webinar will be offered live on July 30, 2015, from 12 - 1 p.m. central time.

New video series: Mental Health: Yours, Mine and Ours

The Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) works to improve the mental health of children and families. The term “mental health” is often misunderstood in our society. Many people think it means the same as “mental illness,” or they think it’s the exact opposite of mental illness. But the meaning of “mental health” is more complex than these popular views indicate.

Furthermore, health is, by definition, a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being — and not merely the absence of disease. So, while an individual’s state of mental health may require a diagnosis at times, it exists independently of a diagnosis and is influenced by the ongoing and complex interactions of genes, relationships, environments, and experiences. This broad and preventive understanding of mental health reflects a public health approach and is used by a growing number of professionals in many disciplines. The new CYFC video, “Mental Health: Yours, Mine and Ours,” defines and explains this public health framework for improving children’s mental health.

View the video here.

In this 6-minute video, you will learn about public health approaches to improving mental health for all children, not just those diagnosed with some kind of mental illness. In contrast to a disease approach, which focuses on intervention at the individual level, the public health approach is broad-based— encompassing environmental factors and systems that affect entire populations of children. The video also outlines a model for understanding optimal mental health, which can be attained despite diagnoses of mental health problems. Finally, the video outlines a wide range of possible interventions that can improve the mental health of large groups of children, as well as their families.What do you think is needed to promote optimal mental health in children? Share your thoughts about the video and this topic on our CYFC YouTube site.

Staff news

Please join me in welcoming Kyra Paitrick as a 4-H community program coordinator. Kyra will be working with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa with a focus on youth development programming.

Kyra earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education and Ojibwe language and culture education from the College of St. Scholastica and will soon earn her Master’s degree in natural sciences and environmental education from Hamline University. She is proficient in Ojibwe language and is a descendent of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Her background and work experience for the past six years has been as a K – 5th grade American Indian teacher at the Cloquet public schools. She has been involved in work with STEM, Minnesota Master Naturalist and Thirteen Moons programs. As an educator and teacher, she recognizes the value of 4-H and is dedicated to the welfare and positive development of youth.

Kyra can be reached at Welcome Kyra!

Rebecca Meyer
Extension educator

Youth worker training: Upcoming training and events

Quality Matters Online: A self study
Learn about the essential components of a high-quality youth program and how to create environments that are positive places for young people to develop. In this basics class, participants will learn about the current research that helps us define quality and begin understanding how to measure and improve it.

Culturally Responsive Youth Work Matters
(offered through YIPA)
Thursday, July 23, 2015, 9 a.m. - 12 noon, Brainerd
This workshop will provide intercultural perspective and explore skills for inclusive and empowering youth programming.  We will explore our own personal cultural identify and perspective, define culture, review positive youth development, and discuss intercultural skills.

Leadership Matters
Thursday, Oct. 22, 9 a.m. - noon, St. Paul
Friday, Nov. 13, 9 a.m. - noon, Farmington
This training explores the unique context of youth work management and leadership, and provides internal professional development strategies specifically targeted to youth work practice.

Most training and events are free for 4-H staff. Please use the TXTFREE coupon code when registering. For more information about upcoming classes or to register, visit:

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