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Thursday, April 21, 2016

From the director

Dear YD colleagues, 

On Monday, April 11, National 4-H launched "Grow True Leaders," a campaign to raise the visibility of 4-H youth, their leadership skills and how they are making a difference in their communities.

The campaign will run through the end of 2016 and is a great way for 4-H staff, youth, volunteers and alumni to celebrate 4-H #TrueLeaders.

I hope you all will support this important national 4-H campaign, and take advantage of the opportunity to highlight some of the wonderful 4-H leaders in your community. 

Here are a few ways to participate in the 4-H #TrueLeaders campaign:

April - June: "Shout"
Honor youth who are making an impact in their lives and the lives of others through "Shout Outs" on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TrueLeaders.

Goal: Raise visibility for 4-H by creating a groundswell of voices celebrating the power of youth.

Here are a few ways to "shout":

  • Post an article about the 4-H #TrueLeaders campaign on your county 4-H web page, inviting 4-H youth, families and volunteers to share stories about great 4-H'ers they know and how they are leaders.
  • Write short articles (2-3 paragraphs) each month on your county 4-H web page about 4-H #TrueLeaders in your county. Share the stories on your county 4-H Facebook page.
  • Write short posts on your county 4-H Facebook page about individual 4-H'ers or clubs who are #TrueLeaders.
  • Make sure you use the hashtag #TrueLeaders in all of your stories, articles and posts about great 4-H youth and how they are leaders.

June - October: "Share"
Invite your county 4-H alumni to share how the 4-H pledge is relevant in their lives today on county 4-H Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using hashtag #4HGrown.

Goal: Re-connect alumni to the 4-H community.

November - December: "Support"
Spread the word and invite supporters to gift a $10 digital clover to support your local programming. (More information about this will be provided later this summer.)

Goal: Raise money for your local 4-H program.

I look forward to seeing stories and posts about Minnesota 4-H’s #TrueLeaders!


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

2015 YD Learn and Lead Report

The Extension Center for Youth Development has made evaluation a priority in our work to ensure the relevance and effectiveness of our programs. Program evaluation can be used to show areas for potential program improvement, value of efforts, evidence to aid in funding or policy decisions or whether identified goals and outcomes are being achieved.

Two of our program outcomes are to prepare young people to learn and lead in a global society. In the fall of 2015, Sam Grant and her team conducted a statewide survey to measure our progress in equipping youth to learn and lead as a result of their participation in 4-H.  A report was developed and is now available on our research web page about the survey findings, which are very positive.

I am excited about this report, and I hope that staff and regional teams will review, discuss and use the valuable information with stakeholder audiences to share the message that evaluation is important and our efforts to measure how 4-H is making a difference in the lives of Minnesota youth.

Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

New “Learn and Lead in 4-H!” video available

A new video has been developed to show youth develop and apply leadership skills through their participation in 4-H.

The goal is to highlight how participation in 4-H helps youth find the leader within themselves and apply their learning to make a positive impact in their club, home, school or community. The 4-H State ambassador program and 4-H Building Leadership and Understanding (BLU) youth leadership conference  are highlighted as examples of how 4-H engages youth in hands-on leadership and citizenship learning.

See the new video here.

The video will also be shared on 4-H and Extension social media channels.

Staff are encouraged to share the video on county 4-H web and Facebook pages, and use at outreach events or other places they are engaging new audiences (youth, partners, funders, etc.)

Wendy Huckaby
YD communications manager

Seven youth attend the National 4-H Conference

Minnesota 4-H was represented by seven youth at the 2016 National 4-H Conference held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Each delegate participated in a roundtable group to create and deliver a presentation to a federal agency with other 4-H youth from across the US, Canada, and US Air Force bases around the world. The presentations were developed in response to questions posed by the federal agencies on topics that could use youth input. The delegates also participated in fun activities, toured Washington, D.C., and visited with Minnesota members of Congress. Megan Slater (Washington) presented to the US House of Representatives Committee on Ag; Genevieve Benson NiCheallachian (Hennepin) presented to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Nina Buchanan (Chippewa) presented to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); Expedit Rypa (Ramsey) and Martyn Novacek (Roseau) presented to the Small Business Administration (SBA); and Klarissa Walvatne (West Otter Tail) and Rosemary Edberg (Kanabec) presented to the Department of State. The youth were chaperoned by Extension Educator Judith Conway, who also coordinates the trip, and Watonwan County volunteer, Leah Eischen. 

Two Minnesota 4-H youth who attended the conference last year also served on this year's Youth Leadership Team (YLT), Anna Brekke (Scott) and Heather Weller (East Otter Tail). The YLT plans several components of the conference and serve as emcees, facilitator assistants, activity leaders, and social media managers throughout the event. Applications to the 2017 National 4-H Conference will be available in the early fall 2016. 

Jacquie Lonning
State Program Director, Citizenship & Leadership

Six youth present at National Service-Learning Conference

Six Minnesota 4-H State Ambassadors presented at the National Service-Learning Conference in Minneapolis March 30-April 2. The presentation, "An institution embraces a modern problem through service-learning" focused on the changes realized in the State Ambassador program when service-learning practices had been incorporated. Presenters included: Emily Rogers (Lyon), Julianna Langlois (South St. Louis), Laura Wyatt (Anoka), Madison Muir (Kittson), and Skyler Siegel (Traverse). Thea Richards (Rock) also helped develop the presentation, but was unable to attend. The youth did an incredible job representing Minnesota 4-H at this national event, and gained a wealth of information to bring back to our program as well.

Joshua Kukowski & Jacquie Lonning
State Ambassador Advisors

“So You’re a Supervisor” WebEx – April 26

During the summer months, we hire many short term staff that are vital to the success of the 4-H Youth Development program. This training will provide basic supervision skills and tips for those individuals who are new to the role of supervision. "So You’re a Supervisor" was piloted in the SE region last spring, with evaluations indicating that it should be offered to all new supervisors.  The WebEx will be offered on Tuesday, April 26 from 10 - 11:30 a.m. Please use the following information to log into the training.

Join WebEx meeting, Meeting number: 744 840 278.

Nancy Hegland
Program leader

NEW Children's Mental Health eReview now available!

Falling Behind: Understanding the Educational Disparities Faced by Immigrant Latino Students in the U.S.

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.

Read this issue to learn about the many opportunity gaps Latino youth face, including economic constraints, language barriers, acculturation issues, and discrimination. Hear from Community Authors about how this research can be put to use in our educational and community settings.

Download then evaluate the eReview.

YD in the news

On Wednesday, Congressman Collin Peterson met with a delegation of 4-H youth and University of Minnesota Extension educators who were in town for the National 4-H Conference.  They talked about the importance of federal funding for agriculture, and he listened to an update on their Washington visit thus far.  “4-H is a great youth development program, and I am continually impressed with the young people I meet who are involved in 4-H.”

Nina Buchanan (MONTEVIDEO), Klariss Walvatne (BATTLE LAKE), 
Hartyn Novacek (GREENBUSH)

Register today for the upcoming Youth Development "Brown Bag" webinars!

The purpose of these webinars is to provide research-based information on hot topics, trends, and innovative programmatic efforts on content relevant to youth practitioners over the lunch hour (11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. CT)

  • May 11: What is your definition of American Indian?
  • May 23: Young teens on campus: Preparing for higher education
  • June 15: Youth as Assessors

Webinars are FREE, but registration is required! Register and learn more!

Kari Robideau
Extension associate professor

Youth worker training: Upcoming training and events

What is your definition of American Indian?
May 11, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Social and Emotional Learning in Practice
May 17, 9 a.m. - noon, St. Paul

Young teens on campus: Preparing for higher education
May 23, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Youth as Assessors
June 15, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

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:

Caption all your videos!

Those of you who make videos as part of your work, whether for training purposes or for social media, listen up: You guys need captions!

Captioning makes videos accessible to the hearing-impaired, but it has other benefits – reinforcing your message, making pronunciations understandable, enabling people to leave the sound turned down in the office, and many more.

How to do this? There are a number of ways. Youtube makes captioning easy – either upload your script along with the video itself, or use Youtube’s automated captioning. (It’s not perfect, so be sure to watch the captioned video before publishing to correct embarrassing synonyms).

On other platforms, check for accessibility or captioning options in the software, usually under the “help” section.  For example, MS PowerPoint has an accessibility checker that gives some tips on captioning and other aids to help hearing and vision-impaired people to access the information in your slides.  Google drive also encourages and offers guidance for captioning.  Facebook also offers a bit of guidance on captioning.

Video captioning is part of web accessibility. The University of Minnesota web accessibility policy requires us to make all our communications accessible to people with disabilities. Our web team is now working through our catalog of existing videos to add captions to all of them. 

Accessibility innovations usually end up having benefits beyond the group that needs them. For example, captions are now switched on for TVs in gyms, bars and airports routinely.

Ann Nordby

Online communications and learning
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