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Thursday, April 16, 2015

From the director

Dear YD colleagues,

For more than 20 years, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation has proudly supported local 4-H community service and program innovation through their Helping Hands Grants. Two weeks ago, the 2015 Helping Hands Grants were announced, awarding $25,000 to 26 4-H clubs and programs, and many projects are already underway! You can see a full list of those grant recipients here:

Every few years, the focus of the Helping Hands Grant program is reviewed and adjusted based on the overall direction of Minnesota 4-H.

Over the next few months, the Helping Hands Grant team will be revising the application process to increase opportunities for youth to develop 21st Century skills through every step of their experience.

In addition to encouraging youth to take leadership in planning all future Helping Hands Grant projects that request funding, the Helping Hands Grant team will offer grant writing support and training to equip applicants with important skills for communicating effectively and making lasting contributions to their communities.

If you have specific ideas about how to increase the 21st Century skills that youth develop through the Helpings Hands Grant program, please contact Erin Kelly-Collins at the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

2015 4-H Science of Agriculture stories: Nicollet County 4-H GMO Team

The 2015 4-H Science of Agriculture teams across the state are deep in their research and preparing for when they will present their results at the statewide event on the St. Paul campus on June 17-19! The Nicollet County 4-H Science of Agriculture team created a great video about their research on the public perception of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). View their video under the stories tab here.

YD evaluation tips: 2015 data scavenger hunt!

It’s time for this month’s data scavenger hunt. Again, here’s how the challenge works. For each evaluation tip in 2015, we will ask you to find certain data that has been uploaded to the YD intranet. Post your answer as a comment, and the first person to get it right wins. Really, everyone who participates is a winner!

So, pack some snacks and begin navigating through the program evaluation and research section. We are sending you to explore monitoring data.

One of the strategic targets is that 4-H participants in long-term programming will develop 21st Century skills. We first measured this by conducting a survey with 8th - 12th grade 4-H members in June 2014. We utilized the Universal Common Measures which asks several questions in each of the broad areas of effective communication, making connections, positive choices, and making contributions.

On the survey, youth were asked to rate their agreement on several statements about “making connections.”

Question: What percentage of survey respondents in your region indicated they “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that as a result of their 4-H experience they had adults in their lives who cared about them?

Bonus Question: Another of the Common Measures is “effective communication.” Youth were asked to rate their agreement on several statements about communication skills gained as a result of their 4-H experience. Share an interesting finding from respondents in your region.

We’ll watch the comments to see who gets there first to earn April bragging rights!

For our data scavenger hunt last month, we had zero responses! Yes, this does cause pain to our data-loving hearts, and yes, our data report's feelings are hurt since nobody opened it. But, fear not, because this is a new month and amends can be made with an extra dose of responses.

For March's tip, the answers can be found in the "4-H Youth Post-Secondary Plans" report located here. The answers, however, will not be given because as the old adage says, "No work, no gain." If you really want to know the answers, of course feel free to contact us (after looking at the report, of course.

Sherry Boyce
Extension Educator, Program Evaluation

Digging deeper into staff development: Creating motivation and engagement

A few years ago, my performance review was led by Tamie Bremseth and Brian McNeill who were my supervisors at the time.   At the end of the session, I was challenged to write a program model for our project clubs to share with others and to start an endowment fund in Traverse County.  Really?  Wasn’t I already doing enough?

Tamie and Brian knew a challenge was just what I needed to stay engaged; to stay motivated.  A leader inspires.  An effective leader knows their team well enough to understand the internal motivators of each member to bring their best performance.  According to “Super-Motivation,” by Dean R. Spritzer, internal motivators vary from task, power, competence, security, independence, relationships, accomplishment, work-life balance and meaning.

Creating “meaning” has emerged as an integral effort to increase engagement.  The professional development course, “Creating an Engaging Work Environment: Tips for Managers,” available through ULearn, states supervisors who help staff align their work with the values and purposes of the organization drive employee effort by as much as 32%.

For upcoming 4-H Staff Development offerings, please see the YD intranet staff development calendar and ULearn.

Melissa Persing
Staff development team

Urban 4-H STEM clubs visit the 3M innovation center

On March 31, 2015, two Urban 4-H STEM clubs were invited to visit the 3M innovation center. As part of their visit, 4-H youth met with 3M scientists, engaging in science learning activities and Q&A sessions about their educational and career paths. The trip was organized by 3M scientist Jeff Emslander, who is a 4-H alumnus and current 4-H parent. Jeff, who credits much of his professional success to his youth experience in 4-H, went to great lengths to welcome our group of 4-H’ers to 3M, with the hope of inspiring a new generation of 4-H scientists. 4-H staff Colleen Sanders, Hui Hui Wang, Anne Stevenson, Mohamed Farah and Joanna Tzenis helped support this youth experience. 

Joanna Tzenis
Extension educator and assistant Extension professor

Minnesota 4-H Foundation news: 17th Annual Golf Classic

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation's Annual Golf Classic with be held June 22, 2015 at the Medina Golf & Country Club in Medina, MN.  All proceeds will go to support the Minnesota 4-H program.  If you or a group of passionate 4-H'ers from your county would like to volunteer at this event, please contact Janet Beyer or Erin Kelly-Collins. Please visit our event page for more information.

Erin Kelly-Collins
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

YD in the news

  • 4-H Youth Teaching Youth puts teens in the classroom
    This feature article in the Pioneer Press highlights the 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program at Pine Hill Elementary in Cottage Grove. Read the full article.

  • HHS grad wins national 4-H scholarship
    Hastings native Rebecca Church couldn’t have asked for a better end to her 4-H career. Church is the recipient of the Jim and Cindie Schaben Premier Exhibitor scholarship which awards a 4-H exhibitor for their “superior production knowledge, allowing exhibitors to showcase their abilities and be rewarded for their expertise”. Read the full article.

  • Lucky Four 4-H tours Hering's Maple Syrup
    The Lucky Four 4-H Club recently went on an informative tour of Hering's Maple Syrup in Waterville, the largest maple syrup operation in Minnesota. Read the full article.

Additional WebEx 1-hour orientation training scheduled

Additional WebEx 1-hour orientation training scheduled More training is scheduled and will continue to be scheduled until groups of people stop showing up. Please encourage people to attend an orientation and give WebEx a try! Dates, times and registration are on the Extension Technology Intranet.

Karen Matthes
Extension technology

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.

Youth Work Regional Forum
Social and Emotional Learning: From understanding to action

April 23
Regional forums are designed to bring the latest research on youth development to communities and make a difference in the understanding of what we do and need to do with youth.

This forum will include:
  • Keynote speakers: Dr. Dale Blyth and Kate Walker
  • Social and Emotional Learning: From understanding to action
  • Lunch and networking
  • Breakout workshops

Exploring 4-H: Hands-on Science
May 13
It has been found that youth who participate in science activities outside the classroom are more likely to become comfortable with science. If you are looking for some fun hands-on science, engineering and technology related activities this webinar will provide you with lesson plans and resources to enhance the programming of new and experienced staff or volunteers. Register and learn more.

Youth Programs as Powerful Settings for Social and Emotional Learning
May 15
Reed Larson, Lisa Bouillion Diaz and Natalie Rusk
This symposium focuses on promoting social and emotional learning in youth program settings. You'll learn about and discuss recent, path-breaking research on how youth learn skills such as strategic thinking and emotional management, and what strategies experienced leaders use to facilitate this development. Register and learn more.

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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