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Thursday, July 21, 2016

From the director

Dear YD colleagues,

As part of our commitment to keeping you informed about the Youth Development Leadership Team, I want to share one of the things we’ve been working on for the last few months.

You may remember that in 2013, we reorganized our staffing structure and priorities to make our Youth Development principles, vision and robust regional teams a reality.  We conducted a survey with educators to help assign regional team functions, and statewide program and administrative team assignments based on interest, knowledge, skills and abilities. The statewide program and operation team commitments were slated to last for three years, at which time we intended to revisit the charge to determine the next course of action and appropriate team membership.

Last fall, the YDLT asked the statewide program and administrative teams to submit reports summarizing their accomplishments from the last three years, and recommendations for moving the work forward.

The YDLT has been reviewing the reports, and looking at the makeup of the statewide teams, and how they can be more efficient and effective going forward. We also are exploring how the statewide teams can support progress on our strategic targets and our 1st generation work.

We plan to share more information soon about decisions regarding educator functions and the makeup of the statewide teams, which will be implemented this fall.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

Vibrant volunteer systems: Thank a volunteer this summer

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,

Summer 4-H programming relies on countless 4-H volunteers to design and carry out experiences for young people.  From serving on the food stand committee to working with judges on county fair entry day to stalling the horses, volunteers make valuable contributions to our summer showcases and programs.

Volunteerism in the Next Generation fact sheet, Ways to Recognize Volunteers, offers these three keys when showing our appreciation:

  1. Be sincere. Sincerity starts with yourself genuinely appreciating what the volunteer has offered. Thank volunteers from the heart and be honest with your appreciation.
  2. Be creative. Use the summer to try a new way to recognize volunteers. The YD Intranet offers lots of ways to say thank you to valued volunteers, including coupons, kits, and clever thank you cards.  
  3. Be specific.  Whether verbally thanking a volunteer or penning your sentiments, let them know exactly the act you're acknowledging.  When I was a 4-H program coordinator, I would carry a small notepad around with me at the county fair so I could quickly write down volunteers and their contributions.  I didn't have to rely on my post-fair brain for details, and I could tailor each thank you note to the volunteer.
While volunteers have different recognition preferences, being sincere, creative, and specific will provide positive reinforcement for important volunteer efforts.

Becky Harrington
Extension educator and volunteer systems director

Fall Volunteer Training webinars Aug. 16 & Sep. 19

Vibrant Youth, Vibrant Clubs - Leadership Takes A Village

It's not too early to start thinking about Fall Volunteer Training. A staff training webinar on how to use the tools and curriculum developed for the 2016 Fall Volunteer Training will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 16 from 10:30 a.m. - 12 noon.  The webinar will be repeated on Monday, Sep. 19 from 1:30 - 3 p.m.

For those who are unable to join us live on Aug. 16 or Sep. 19, we will record the webinar and post the recording for later viewing.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Patrick Jirik & Becky Harrington
Fall Volunteer Training co-chairs

2017 YOUth and U dates finalized

We are looking forward to YOUth and U 2017 at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education and Conference Center on the St. Paul campus.  The dates for Youth and U are set for Tuesday, March 28 and Wednesday, March 29.  We will start at 8:30 a.m. on the 28th, so many will need to travel on the 27th.

Nancy Hegland
Program leader

YD in the news

  • Congressman Colin Peterson's newsletter features Minnesota 4-H

    A recent e-news from Rep. Peterson leads with a visit from 4-H'ers to his office in DC. View the newsletter.

  • Fair to once again feature feathered creatures

    The clucking returns this year to Waseca County Free Fair. Brad Rugg, program director, fairs and animal science is quoted. Read the full article.

  • Rice County 4-H’ers Selected for Presidential Inauguration Focus

    Rice County 4-H’ers Vicky Erickson, Kyra Flom and Rose Chmelik were selected as three of 45 youth delegates who will represent Minnesota 4-H in the 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus: Presidential Inauguration Jan. 16-21, 2017. Read the full article.

Youth worker training: Upcoming training and events

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

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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