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Thursday, August 18, 2016

From the director

Dear YD colleagues,

Over the past year, Wendy Huckaby has been providing leadership in moving the 4-H Clover Update county newsletter for families and volunteers from its current pdf format to an e-newsletter. The goals are to make the information accessible from any mobile device (smart phones, tablets, etc.), and bring our newsletter in line with organizational communications best practices and use of technology.

After gathering input from leadership, RDs and a focus group of educators, program coordinators, and county and regional support staff, the following plan to implement the new 4-H Clover Update e-newsletter was developed:

Timeline: The plan for implementation is to switch to the new e-newsletter format on October 1, to coincide with the beginning of the new 4-H program year.

Content: Program Coordinators and Educators will continue to submit their articles and events to the RSS (county, region) or Amy Gregoria (state), as applicable,

Operations: RSS or Amy will enter the articles and events on the county 4-H web page.  This will bring consistency to our county 4-H web pages, ensuring that they are always up-to-date and populated with the most recent state and county news from 4-H. In the counties where the CSS have been able to consistently keep the county 4-H web pages up-to-date, the RD may decide with the RSS and CSS to continue this operational procedure. After the articles and events are posted on the county 4-H web pages, RSS will then create and send the enewsletters for the counties.

Communications: The September Clover Update and county 4-H web pages will include an article announcing the new format to 4-H families and volunteers. 4-H families and volunteers will receive their first 4-H Clover Update e-newsletter on Oct. 1.

We are excited about this great improvement in our communications with 4-H families and volunteers!


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

Strong volunteer systems: Recruiting and readying organizational volunteers

Note: The Youth Development volunteer systems team is pleased to use this venue to share tips and resources to aide staff in strengthening volunteer systems efforts. Please send any questions or suggestions for future topics to Becky Harrington,

Every 4-H group, club and program needs an adult volunteer to mentor, assist, and advise 4-H’ers and serve as a liaison between the local Extension office, staff, and 4-H members, their parents, and other volunteers.

Fall is when staff give leadership to finding 4-H volunteers (e.g., county project development committee (PDC) chairperson, Ambassador coordinator).  Clubs may ask for advice on how to get others to step into these roles. Either way, start recruiting by looking at the needed skills.  4-H volunteers should possess the ability to organize and motivate youth.  They should be able to delegate responsibility, communicate effectively, and motivate and coach other volunteers in leadership positions.  4-H volunteers should also have a sincere interest in teaching and sharing knowledge and skills with youth and adults in an educational setting.  Have you noticed current volunteers, parents or community partners who have – or are willing to build – these skills?

Once you’ve identified an individual, there are a number of tools available for staff to continue to recruit and ready volunteers to serve in their leadership roles.

  • Use a role description to have a deeper conversation with someone about a specific role. Check out samples on the YD Intranet for club organizational volunteers, project development committee chairpersons, Ambassador coordinators, and other organizing roles. The role descriptions can be downloaded and adapted to meet local needs.
  • When recruiting volunteers, be sure to share resources and training available to help them be successful. The Club Management Guide provides materials about club operations to guide organizational leaders. Managing 4-H clubs: A guide for club leaders is an online learning module. It addresses some of the typical management issues in 4-H clubs and brings all these pieces together to build an environment where young people thrive and grow.
  • This year’s fall volunteer training, Vibrant Youth, Vibrant Clubs—Leadership Takes a Village will examine shared leadership and club leadership structures that will encourage conversations and planning around organizational leadership. 

Time spent recruiting individuals with the right skill set and equipping them with resources and training will start the 4-H year off right.  Be sure to share what strategies have worked for you as you’ve recruited organizational volunteers.

Becky Harrington
Extension educator and volunteer systems director

Fall Volunteer Training webinars update

Vibrant Youth, Vibrant Clubs - Leadership Takes A Village

Due to technical difficulties, we had to cancel the Fall Volunteer Training staff webinar on Aug. 16. The training team will make a recorded version of the training that will be made available by Sep. 6 on the YD Intranet 2016 Fall Volunteer Training page.

A live staff training webinar on the Fall Volunteer Training will be held on Monday, Sep. 19 from 1:30 - 3 p.m.

For those who are unable to join us live on Sep. 19, please view the recorded version of the webinar at the link listed above.

All training materials are available here.

Patrick Jirik & Becky Harrington
Fall Volunteer Training co-chairs

YD in the news

  • Minneapolis 4-H program brings science, technology to Somali youth

    Months after a small city grant helped create the first 4-H program in Minneapolis specifically geared toward Somali youth, students came to City Hall on Tuesday to show off their work. Read the full article.

  • Dakota County Fair marks a century of 4-H with a chicken barbecue (and livestock show)

    When it comes to involvement with Dakota County 4-H, one family stands out. The Fox family has been part of one 4-H club or another since 1939. Read the full article.

  • Conner Becker shows how shy kids can shine in 4-H

    A Crow Wing County grand champion winner excelled at this summer's fair, but he's gaining more than ribbons from the experience. Read the full article.

  • Minnesota 4-H'ers to compete in 7th annual Poultry Prince and Princess Contest at state fair

    Katie Benson of Staples will pass on her crown as poultry participants display their advanced poultry knowledge and industry experience during the seventh annual Poultry Prince and Princess Contest. Brad Rugg, director of 4-H fairs and animal science programs, is quoted. Read the full article.

  • Hundreds help at 4-H food stand

    County fairs across Minnesota are in the process of providing opportunities, entertainment and an end-of-the-summer activity for families before school stress rolls around. Read the full article.

  • Minnesota fair program pairs calves with kids

    24 Nobles County 4-H’ers parade their Holstein steer calves through the show ring inside the former horse barn on the fairgrounds in Worthington. Read the full article.

  • The birds are back: With avian flu fears alleviated, feathered friends are once again at the fair

    "We're absolutely thrilled that they're back," said Lori Brama, 4-H poultry project assistant. Read the full article.

  • 4-H’ers help their communities, communities help 4-H

    They call it Community Pride -- working with their hands, and giving from the heart (two of the H’s in 4-H) -- to make their communities better and to give back to others. Read the full article.

  • 4-H judges play critical roles during Nicollet County Fair

    “Within 4-H, our volunteers are the heart and soul of our program,” said Katie Johnson, Nicollet County 4-H program coordinator. Read the full article.

Youth worker training: Upcoming training and events

Social Emotional Learning in Practice
Sep. 15, 2016, 9 a.m. - noon
This action-based training builds fluency and understanding of how to support social emotional learning (SEL).

Mapping Social and Emotional Learning in Youth Programs
Oct. 25, 2016, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
This advanced workshop is designed for program leaders ready to develop a deeper understanding of how their existing program offerings align to social and emotional skill building.

Save the date for these regional forums!
Sep. 22 in Duluth
Oct. 20 in Marshall
Nov. 15 in St. Cloud

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Jennifer Skuza. She will discuss why global youth citizenship is important, frame it as an educational approach, and share innovative methods that can help youth workers and educators teach it. Breakout sessions will vary by region.

Quality Matters Online: A self-study

Dilemmas in Youth Work Online: A self-study

Youth Engagement Matters Online: A self-study

Youth Work Matters Online: A self-study

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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