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Thursday, August 20, 2015

From the director

Dear YD colleagues,

The Minnesota State Fair begins next week, and that is a sign that summer soon will be wrapping up for all of us.

While summer is our busiest time in 4-H, I hope you have taken time when possible to connect with your family and friends, and enjoy the summer.

It is important for all of us to carve out time to take care of ourselves, whether through taking vacations or taking a day or two off to just be away from work. For me there is no greater gift than the giving of oneself in service to another.  Yet, in order to maintain the ability to give, each of us must rest, release and rejuvenate.

So far, I have had a great summer.   This Virginian looks forward to a few more “hot days” after the great Minnesota State Fair.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

YD evaluation tips: 2015 data scavenger hunt!

Kudos to Alicia Webb for her lightning fast speed in answering the July YD Scavenger hunt question. Alicia accurately found that we had 6519 volunteers statewide in 2014 and 36 in her county (Yellow Medicine). All of this information can be found through the Enrollment Data Interface.

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…

Each year staff in our state office spend countless hours putting together our data for the Federal Report. This is no small feat! The ES237 is the magical report that archives all of our participation information. For this month’s hunt, take a look at the ES237 and report the number of unduplicated youth that were served by the 4-H program in 2014. How many youth (unduplicated) were served by your program?

Best of luck, data searchers!

Samantha Grant
Extension educator, program evaluation

YD program area time at Fall Program Conference

Youth Development program area time on Wednesday, Oct. 7 during the Extension Fall Program Conference will address the topic of “implicit bias” and its influence on our work.

We are excited to announce that our presenter will be State 4-H Youth Development Leader John-Paul Chaisson-Cairdenas from Iowa State University.  John-Paul will lead us towards a better understanding of the concept of implicit bias, help us explore some of our own unconscious biases, and consider how implicit and explicit biases and structural forces are mutually reinforcing in our work.  We will also discuss implications for the future of our program as we intentionally work to engage new audiences.

Important pre conference work

In preparation, all staff attending will need to:

  1. Participate in a WebX session to introduce the topic. Staff can choose to participate on either Sept. 14 from 2 - 4 p.m. or Sept. 30 from 9 - 11 a.m.  A recorded version will be available after Sept. 30 for those who for some reason are unable to join on either date.
  2. Complete a brief on-line implicit bias test on your own anytime between now and fall program conference.  Access the test here.
Brenda Shafer
Program leader

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

If you have a smart phone and you’re going to the state fair – or you know a 4-H’er who will be showing a project -- download our free app before you leave home!  It combines all this:
  • Judging results
  • Public schedule linked to an interactive map
  • For exhibitors – switch on the alerts so you’ll know where to be and when
    • New: Stalling announcements for beef exhibitors on Tuesday night!
  • 4-H live cam 12 hours a day
  • Photo sharing
  • More!
Download the app!
For iphone
For android

Ann Nordby
YD web manager

Minnesota 4-H Foundation news: Celebrate Ag & Food Day

4-H staff, families and alumni are invited to join a celebration of Minnesota agriculture and food at a special University of Minnesota Gopher football game on Sept. 19. Discounted tickets can be purchased here. Join us before the game from 9 – 11 a.m. for activities outside the stadium including a tailgate party featuring Minnesota brats and cheese. To RSVP or with questions, contact Erin Kelly-Collins at

Erin Kelly-Collins
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

YD in the news

  • Avian flu bird ban has 4-Hers winging it at state and county fairs
    This Star Tribune article highlights the creative demonstrations 4-H youth have come up with in response to the banning of all birds from this summer’s fairs. Read the full article.

  • Coon Rapids 4-H team puts toothpaste on a toothbrush in 4-H Rube Goldberg competition
    From Coon Rapids Community television: Plastic dinosaurs and yoyos aren’t typical tools used to brush our teeth, but a group of kids from Coon Rapids used them all as part of a competition teaching 4Hers physics, problem solving and team work.  See the full video online.

  • 4-H'ers prepare for the Dakota County Fair
    This Star Tribune article features Dakota County 4-H livestock interviews at the Dakota County Fair. Read the full article.

  • Avian flu prompts Dakota County Fair to cook up alternate poultry plans
    This Star Tribune article highlights 4-H Poultry Projects at the Dakota County fair. Read the full article.

Staff news

I am pleased to announce that Sam Grant has accepted our offer to serve as interim evaluation director and Extension educator, evaluation.  She will be serving in this role for a year and will continue to be housed in Rochester.   She will be supervised by Jennifer Skuza.  Sam will continue to move the Center's evaluation efforts forward including building an evaluation plan, connecting with the leadership team around evaluation and impact, leading the core evaluation team with evaluation responsibilities, supervising undergraduate, graduate and other staff assisting with evaluation, and facilitating the National ES-237 process for Youth Development.

This planning and implementation will result in outcome and impact reports for the various programmatic efforts and YD as a whole.  The overall effort will also result in information for continuous program improvement.  The interim evaluation director will be part evaluator, internal consultant, supervisor of students, mentor, presenter, and researcher.  Specifically, the interim evaluation director will work to build the capacity of youth development educators to integrate evaluation into the culture and practice of youth development programs and provide direct leadership to a team for program evaluation.  This position provides leadership to align the youth development evaluation portfolio within the larger Extension portfolio.  

I hope you join with me in congratulating Sam for stepping forward to lead this important work.

Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

Youth worker training: Upcoming training and events

Two new online self studies coming this fall!

Go at your own pace (without a facilitator) through four modules that take about 30 minutes each. Additional time spent on application activities will vary.

Learn on your own time. Unlimited 24-hour web access to the self-guided curriculum for 90 days from registration date. Videos and activities help you take concrete ideas back to your program for use every day. Registration will be available soon.

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.

Intentional Program Design Matters
Wednesday, Sept. 23, St. Paul
Examine how program content and intentions can be matched with positive youth development principles plus aspects of quality and lived out in structure and design. Participants will learn about effective program design and expand upon ideas and options for how and why we develop program structure. A program design audit and redesign plan is included.

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.

Youth Work Matters Online
Jan. 25 - Feb. 29, 2016
Takes an in-depth exploration into the foundational research and theories of positive youth development. It allows participants to interact with other youth development professionals from around the state, region and nation. Activities include synchronized group time and individual exploration. CEU's available for $10

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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