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Thursday, May 21, 2015

From the director

Dear YD colleagues,

The Extension Center for Youth Development held its fourth in a series of symposia on social and emotional learning last week. The topic continues to capture the attention of local, national and even international professionals in the field of youth development, and was attended by more than 320 people who participated in person and online from 37 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

The symposium explored how young people learn social and emotional learning skills in youth programs and the strategies adults who work with them use to support this learning.

Out-of-school time programs provide rich settings for youth to learn and practice social and emotional learning skills. In 4-H, youth engage in hands-on activities and projects, work in teams, take on meaningful roles, face challenges, and experience the accompanying up and downs. As a result, youth learn 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, responsibility, initiative or grit, and emotional management. It is critical that we understand how this learning unfolds, and how we as adults can support that process.

Our speakers were Reed Larson, a professor in the Department of Human and Community Development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and past president of the Society for Research on Adolescence.  Reed spoke about how youth learn a distinct set of skills in youth programs, and the important role that youth, programs and staff play in that learning process.

Natalie Rusk, who has a PhD in child development at Tufts University and is a researcher and developer at the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology Media Lab, where she specializes in designing programs that build on young people’s ideas and interests, spoke about how young people learn about emotions in youth programs; learning not only to manage emotions, but also to use emotions in constructive ways.

Lisa Diaz is the assistant dean & director of 4-H Youth Development at the University of Illinois Extension and a learning scientist with over 23 years of experience promoting spaces for youth development that connect both classroom and out-of-school time. Lisa shared a case example to illustrate the programmatic structures that are key to supporting learning skills.

The symposium also provided opportunities for attendees to have rich discussions about what the information shared meant for them and the programs they support.

I encourage staff who were unable to participate to watch the recording of the presentations, which will be available soon on the SEL web page.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

State of the Center address

Each year, as the Extension Center for Youth Development associate dean and state 4-H director, I have shared a message with all program staff during YOUth and U.  In the absence of having the opportunity to be with you in person, I would like to invite you to join me for the 2015 State of the Center address on Friday, June 12 from 11 a.m. - 12 noon.  Join the meeting at and enter WebEx meeting number 748 885 530.

During the webinar, I will share results from the 2014 Engagement Survey, as well as the steps we continue to take together in response to your feedback.  I will share highlights from the great work that is happening across our state and ways that we are working together.

I look forward to visiting with you on June 12.

Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

2015 4-H Science of Agriculture stories: Le Sueur County 4-H Biodiesel Team

The 2015 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge statewide event on June 17-19 where 4-H’ers will share their science-based solutions to ag-related issues is fast approaching!

To help build awareness and support for the new annual program, we are producing videos about three of the 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge teams and their research.

This second video in the series is about the Le Sueur County 4-H Science of Agriculture Biodiesel Team’s research on fuels used in farming. View the video here.

We will be sharing the videos on Extension, Minnesota 4-H and the Minnesota 4-H Foundation’s Facebook and Twitter channels.

Staff are encouraged to share the videos on your county 4-H Facebook pages, with your RDs and county partners, 4-H families and volunteers, and anyone else who may be interested in supporting or participating in the program.

Wendy Huckaby
YD communications manager

YD evaluation tips: 2015 data scavenger hunt!

Kudos to April’s Data Scavenger Hunt Champion, Heidi Haugen, who identified the right numbers for the northeast region. Well done!

Before you begin

So, it’s time for the fourth data scavenger hunt! To recap on how to participate, look for answers on the program evaluation and research page, and post your responses as a comment to this YD tip. Imaginary participation ribbons go out to everyone who contributes. However, the quickest, most accurate person gets to be grand champion!

What you need

  1. Your computer, laptop, tablet, or mobile—really anything the lets you access to the YD Intranet!
  2. Speed and ability to link the question with the right data source!
  3. That’s it! You are all geared up and ready to hunt.
This month’s question

We know that sustained participation in 4-H is associated with important outcomes for youth. This makes the first year of membership very crucial for youth and families. This becomes even more important if they are first generation 4-H families. A survey was administered in November 2014 to parents of first-year members. In your region, how many parents said this was the first time someone in their family had enrolled in 4-H?

Go out there, find your clues and be a data-hero! Good luck!!

Shipi Kankane
Program evaluation team

Teaching evaluations

Do you want to have a standard evaluation that you can use to document your teaching effectiveness? On our YD Intranet, there is a teaching evaluation that can be used and modified so you can consistently track your teaching (and there is also an evaluation option for when you have multiple presenters).

A new addition is a youth worker training evaluation. The youth worker training team has created an evaluation that will be used for all of our youth worker training sponsored teaching. This document includes core questions that will be utilized by our team to monitor our public teaching and also includes a second page with a teaching effectiveness evaluation that is optional. What you will notice about the YWT evaluation is that there is a section to evaluate the outcomes of your training.  You might find that this tool is a better fit for you if you want to collect teaching effectiveness data as well as feedback on participant learning.

Check out these resources to better document your Extension teaching. Questions? Contact Sam Grant at

Samantha Grant
Extension educator, program evaluation

YD in the news

  • 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge deepens students' understanding of science in Minnesota
    For junior high and high school students, "4-H involvement could lead to college, university or even trade school and an ag-related job," said Josh Rice, who runs the science of agriculture programming at University of Minnesota Extension. "Agricultural awareness is a very important piece of this. There are ag jobs out there and it's not just production agriculture. It can be marketing, processing, distribution and even social science." Read the full article.
  • 4-H program deepens students' science understanding
  • Minnesota is the first state to start a 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge, which is a team competition showing science and engineering understanding. Brian and Anna Prchal and Tyler Fromm are teenagers making and using biodiesel. They’re also part of a possible solution for a growing need for employees in agriculture. Read the full article.

May 28 webinar: Credit Issues During a Family Transition

Do you provide education or services to families who have experienced a family transition like divorce or separation? Are you interested in learning more about how families can protect and maintain their credit? If so, then the Credit Issues During a Family Transition webinar is for you!

Sharon Powell and Jennifer Garbow, University of Minnesota Extension educators, will provide an overview about potential credit issues in this short webinar. During the webinar you will:
  • Discuss the implications of overusing credit.
  • Examine how families can explore division of debt.
  • Outline how family finances evolve before, during, and after a family transition.
This FREE webinar will be offered live on May 28, 2015, from 12 - 1 p.m. central time. A certificate of completion is available for participants.

Register now!

Youth worker training: Upcoming training and events

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.

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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