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Thursday, November 19, 2015

From the director

Dear YD colleagues,

Next week is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays of the year. I love that we set aside this special time to be with friends and family, and to reflect on and give thanks for all the things we have to be grateful for.

I want to take this time to thank all of our YD, and county and regional support staff for the many valuable ways you give to 4-H, and tell you how grateful I am for each and every one of you. Your contributions of time and talent make it possible to provide positive learning experiences and make a difference in the lives of youth.

I hope that 4-H has also given back to you, either by providing you with your own learning experiences and opportunities to grow, or through the satisfaction you gain by knowing your work helps Minnesota youth to learn and lead.

Enjoy the holiday with your family and friends,


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

YD employee communications survey

We closed the survey you received about employee communications on Nov. 16 and received the results this week. Thank you to all who took the time to participate. We had a 69% response rate, which means we have some rich data. The next step will be to analyze that data. We expect to be able to provide you with the results analysis in January and then next steps for implementing changes after that. We may come back to you for input during any of those steps.

Tamie Bremseth & Brenda Shafer

YD evaluation tips: 2015 data scavenger hunt!

A round of applause for Becky Harrington who won last month’s challenge. The question asked you to look at projected population change in the counties of your region, using the September Regional Report. Heidi Haugen and Becky get virtual chocolate for asking the “why” questions about the projected increases in some counties.

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.


In July, we asked you to download the Enrollment Data Interface (EDI) to answer a question about 4-H volunteers. This month, we’re sending you back to the EDI, but this time we’d like you to explore data about 4-H Members.

Statewide, how many 4-H members were enrolled in 2014? How many were enrolled in your county (If you’re in a region, pick one county in your region)?

Bonus question: What is something new and interesting that you learned from exploring the EDI about 4-H members in your county?

Sherry Boyce
Extension educator, program evaluation

Youth outcome survey

This week a Qualtrics survey will be going out around the state for youth who were involved in 4-H as a 12th grader during the 2014-2015 4-H year. We want to learn more about how youth are learning and leading in the Minnesota 4-H program. This survey will be sent from Sam Grant and the program evaluation team, so any questions or comments can be directed to Sam. Our goal is to be able to report on the outcomes of our program and demonstrate that youth are developing their learning and leadership abilities through 4-H.

The hope is that this measure will be more widely implemented in the spring of 2016 with a larger sample of 4-H youth. If you are interested in this next step, please connect with Sam Grant.

Samantha Grant
Interim evaluation director

YD/4-H branding survey results & new templates

Thank you to all the YD, and county and regional support staff who took the YD branding staff survey this summer. The goal was to gather feedback on Extension YD/4-H templates and branding resources as part of our ongoing efforts to develop additional materials and resources, and improve existing materials as necessary.

The survey results were very positive overall. Key findings include:
  • 95% of respondents use the Extension YD/4-H templates to create communications.
  • 90.5% of respondents strongly agree that the Extension YD/4-H templates assist them in providing high-quality educational and program marketing materials.
  • 88.6% of respondents know where to find Extension YD/4-H templates on the Extension Intranet.
  • 87.4% of respondents are comfortable and confident working with Extension YD/4-H templates and resources.

Your feedback was also very helpful in identifying areas for future template improvement and development, and training needs, including ongoing training in key areas such as dealing with formatting challenges.

Here is a list of items in development to address some of the needs identified in the survey:

New templates available now:

Additional templates and resources in development:
  • 4-H report template
  • 4-H event/program template (booklet format)
  • YD/4-H branding 101 video (overview of resources, guidelines, top tips for use)
  • Tip sheets and quick guide on using branding materials
  • Quarterly YD branding staff trainings 
  • Tab/page with all YD/4-H branding templates on Extension intranet

Read the full report on the survey here.

A YD/4-H branding webinar for staff is planned for December to share key findings from the YD staff branding survey, and provide useful  tips and resources to address the most frequently noted challenges with the templates.

Watch for the branding webinar date and link to participate in 4-H Administrative Weekly.

Wendy Huckaby
YD communications manager

Extension educator positions to be filled

We recently received approval to fill three open educator positions in our center.   The positions that will be filled include Extension educators, Youth Development in the central and southwest regions, as well as an Extension educator working with distance learning technology.  The central region position will office out of the St. Cloud regional office and the southwest regional position will office out of the Worthington regional office.  The educator in distance learning will be housed in a regional office, yet to be determined.  This shows strong support from Dean Durgan as we continue to enhance our robust regional system and plan strategies to reach our program benchmarks.

Colleen Sanders and Nancy Hegland have named one search committee for the three positions, which will be chaired by Brenda Shafer.  They plan to have the positions posted in late November, review applications in early January, and interview the last week in January.

If you have any questions about the positions, please feel free to contact either Colleen Sanders or Nancy Hegland.

Dorothy Freeman
Associate dean and state 4-H director

Feedback to improve YD web site

If you have ever been on our state or county website or Intranet and thought to yourself, “That is outdated information” or “I wish they also mentioned…,” you can help us improve it!

Our state and county websites system contains thousands of web pages. To maintain this system, each page has a content owner and a web publisher. Content owners are responsible for correcting and updating the information on the page. They work with web publishers, whose job is to prepare and present the information in the most user-friendly way.

For statewide web content: There are six web publishers, who together maintain 800+ pages on the public website and 200+ pages on the YD Intranet. For most statewide pages, the content owner’s name appears on the page itself.  You can see a complete list of the statewide web team here.

For county websites: Same system: Each county website has a web publisher (usually admin staff) and a content owner (usually the 4-H program coordinator). There are 89 county websites on our system comprising thousands of pages of content.

If you notice that something is missing or outdated on any page, just contact the content owner by e-mail with your suggestion. They'll make the call on whether to include it.

A few statewide pages don't have content owners. If you have a suggestion, please let me or Melissa Pierce know. Feel free to suggest yourself. You don't have to know everything about everything on the page -- you can consult others on your teams for help.

Ann Nordby
YD web manager

Webinar teaching opportunity: Proposals due Dec. 31

Webinar proposals for the 2015-16 March and May Youth Development "brown bag" webinar series are now being accepted.

The brown bag webinar series has been organized collaboratively with North Dakota State University 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.)
Use this form to submit your proposal online.

Proposals must be received by Thursday, Dec. 31. The proposals will be peer-reviewed and presenters will be notified in January. Please contact Kari Robideau at 218-236-2013 or with any questions or if you want to talk through your idea!

Kari Robideau
Extension educator

YD in the news

  • U of M impacts all of state, says Kaler
    President Kaler touched on a few ways the university is helping Greater Minnesota, from supporting the 4-H program to battling the avian flu and invasive species. Read the full article.

  • MN Agriculture: Megan Thorson, 4-H, Kids, Cows and Chickens
    Check out this Minnesota Farm Living interview with Freeborn County Program Coordinator Megan Thorson!  Read the full article.

Children in common: Ensuring the emotional well-being of children when parenting apart

What is Coparenting? How can parents support their children when going through a divorce or separation? Learn how coparent education can help mitigate the adverse effects of divorce and separation on children.

"Despite experiencing conflict, coparents can still present a unified front to their children by working to make conflict constructive" (eReview authors E. McCann, K. Olson, and E. Hall).

Download this issue.

The Children’s Mental Health eReview summarizes children’s mental health research and implications for practice and policy. It addresses the gap between what we know from the literature and what we experience working with families.  Each issue explores a specific topic area and reflects the expertise of a group of people working in various research and practice settings.

Youth worker training: Upcoming training and events

Equipping Our Youth with SEL Skills: Local Snapshots and Strategies
Public symposium
Nov. 24, 9 a.m. - noon

Utilizing a Flipped Classroom to Train Teen Teachers
Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., online

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.

Quality Matters Online: A self study

Dilemmas in Youth Work Online: A self study 

Youth Engagement Matters Online: A self study 
Ongoing (registration opening soon)

Save the date!
Our next public symposium will be on April 6 and will feature the SCE’s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Challenge project and its resulting field guide for 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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