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Thursday, February 4, 2016

From the director

Dear YD colleagues,

In addition to the work the Extension Center for Youth Development does in Minnesota, we are also regularly contacted by organizations, both from across the country and even internationally, seeking our expertise to help them improve and grow their youth development programs and resources. Because we don’t have the capacity to fulfill every request, we select which best align with our mission, strategic goals, and opportunities for scholarship and growth.

YouthREX is part of Ontario, Canada’s Youth Action Plan to mobilize research about youth, increase understanding of positive youth development and invest in continuous quality improvement in Ontario’s youth programming.  The organization recently contacted us to explore how we could advise and mentor them in their efforts. Our first steps include Jennifer Skuza and Sherry Boyce delivering a webinar on intentional program design on Feb. 24, and Kate Walker delivering a webinar training on social and emotional learning to 157 participants from across Ontario.

The USAID-Funded Farmer to Farmer program and the Bangladesh Department of Youth Development  (DYD) are working to develop youth entrepreneurship in agriculture, and trying to make services more efficient, effective, sustainable, and accessible to the youth population. One-third of the total population in Bangladesh is youth. Since 1981, DYD has been working to help unemployed youth gain skills to be a productive workforce and prepare them for employment in different sectors including agriculture. DYD provides skill development trainings and micro-credit support. As part of their effort, they have enlisted Molly Frendo and Josh Rice to conduct an assessment of its existing services, and identify gaps and recommendations to improve. Molly and Josh will spend three weeks in Bangladesh in March, working with the group, delivering train-the-trainer workshops on youth development facilitation in the agriculture sector for DYD trainers, and conducting an evaluation and needs assessment.

We’re very excited about these important opportunities to contribute to the growth and improvement of international positive youth development programs, and help to make a difference in the lives of youth around the world.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman
Associate dean & state 4-H director

YOUth and U 2016 – Discovering our Treasures: March 29 - 30

YOUth and U will provide time for colleagues in the Extension Center for Youth Development to come together as we prepare to delve deeper into first generation 4-H members.

Our planning team has been working to provide a strong program, as well as opportunities to network with others. The conference theme is “Discovering our Treasures”.  Further program details and a schedule will be shared within the next month.  A continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks will be provided on both Tuesday and Wednesday at the Earle Brown Continuing Education Center on the St. Paul Campus.  Dinner will not be provided on Tuesday evening; however you will be eligible for the dinner per diem if staying at the conference hotel.  The conference will conclude by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30.

MAE4-HYDP – Monday, March 28

On Monday, March 28, the MAE4-HYDP business meeting will take place at 1 p.m. followed by a team building and professional development offering beginning at 2 p.m. at Grumpy’s in Roseville.

The Schedule for MAE4-HYDP is as follows:

  • 1 - 2 p.m. - Committee time 
  • 2 - 2:30 p.m. - Team building (Led by Kristie Pomerenke & Joe Rand)
  • 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Professional development Sspeaker (brought to you by the education committee)

Essential Information prior to registering:

We have reserved a block of rooms with two hotels in Roseville (Country Inn and Suites and Radisson). The University will make all reservations on your behalf and will pay rooming costs directly. You must indicate a roommate choice when you register for the conference. Please be sure to discuss with the other person(s) prior to requesting them as a roommate.  If you have no roommate preference, we can assign one for you, but you will need to indicate that preference on your registration form.

All program staff attending the conference whose home or office is more than one hour from campus are eligible to stay overnight on Tuesday, March 29.  Program staff who attend the Monday MAE4-HYDP meeting and speaker can request overnight accommodations on Monday, March 28.  Additionally, staff members who need to leave home prior to 6 a.m. on Tuesday in order to arrive at the conference by 9 a.m. are also eligible to stay overnight on Monday.

Please confirm your registration by Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 by completing this form.

If you have specific registration questions, please contact Diane Lambrecht at In order to prevent unnecessary meal costs, indicate the meals you plan to eat and any special dietary needs.

We encourage you to carpool with others from your region.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nancy Hegland at

Request for Proposals:

The 2016 YOUth and U conference will provide a variety of presentation platforms to showcase your work. The planning team is searching for exciting presentation proposals in the form of workshops, e-posters, and table talks. This is an excellent opportunity to share our collective talents and ideas statewide. Proposals are due via Qualtrics by Feb. 16, 2016. Please review the Request for Proposals form for more information.

We look forward to seeing you all in St. Paul!

On behalf of the 2016 YOUth and U Planning Team,

Trisha Sheehan & Amber Shanahan
Extension educators

Digging deeper into staff development: Get the most out of your YOUth and U experience

YOUth and U provides an opportunity for YD staff to build professional relationships with colleagues from across the state, showcase valuable and innovative work, and gain a deeper understanding of the organization’s initiatives and plans.

Question 1: Why are conferences important? Let’s break it down…

  • Conferences provide an opportunity to gain a new perspective: Sometimes the most profound way to impact your office is to step away from your office. Being in a new environment shakes things up a bit; you begin to expand your thinking and gain insight and ideas from your colleagues.
  • Face to Face interaction with your colleagues allows you to unplug: The Extension Center for Youth Development is a statewide organization, and we collaborate often using technology. But, there is no comparison to good ol’ fashioned face-to-face conversation.
  • Re-Energize: If you’re in the field of youth development, it’s likely you’re passionate about the work that you do, and the youth, families, and volunteers that you serve. Being surrounded by other like-minded, passionate colleagues is bound to enhance energy, motivation, and stimulation in your work.
  • Learn from experts, and be an expert: Regardless of the amount of time you’ve worked for this organization, you surely have something valuable to share at YOUth and U. Presenting is an excellent way to showcase your work, and share your resources and expertise; and participating in sessions will provide a wealth of resources and ideas.

Question 2: How can YOU get the most out of YOUth and U?  Here are a few tips…

“Make a Date” with your colleagues

YOUth and U provides a great opportunity to meet and connect with a colleague over lunch, grab a cup of coffee during break, or participate in a session together that is of interest to both of you. Planning to connect prior to the conference ensures that you don’t miss out on a valuable networking opportunity.

Be strategic with your time

Review the session options available and make sure that you choose to participate in sessions that fulfill either a content goal (meaning the talk will be educational or useful), or an interpersonal goal, (meaning you want to meet or support the person who is presenting).

Connect with New People

Though conferences can provide opportunities to solidify existing relationships, creating new connections is another essential element of YOUth and U. Break away from your norm and spend time getting to know at least one other person that you didn’t know before. Expanding your professional connections is good for the soul!

See you at YOUth and U!

Amber Shanahan
Staff development team

Last chance for staff discount to 4-H Celebration of Agriculture

On Feb. 20, 2016 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation will host the 3rd Annual 4-H Celebration of Agriculture beginning at 6 p.m.

A special 40% discount code is available for YD staff who register by Feb. 5. Please contact Erin TODAY if you'd like access.

Learn more and RSVP.

Erin Kelly-Collins
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

Scholarships available for college-bound 4-H youth

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation offers several scholarships for 4-H youth who are pursuing post-secondary studies at accredited colleges and universities. Over $20,000 is awarded annually through a competitive application process. Please encourage eligible youth in your county to visit the 4-H Foundation website for details. All applications must be postmarked by Friday, April 15, 2016 to be considered.

Erin Kelly-Collins
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

YD in the news

What do your strengths tell you?

4-H Ambassadors recently took part in the Gallup’s Clifton StrengthsFinder Assessment. Before a recent 4-H retreat the youth answered a series of questions from the assessment and at the conclusion of the assessment, they were given their top five strengths out of 34. Read the full article.

Youth worker training: Upcoming training and events

Youth work regional forum: Youth in a Global Community
Feb. 10, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Rochester

Brown Bag Webinar Series
March 9 & May 11, 2016

Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices in Social and Emotional Learning
April 6, 9 a.m. - noon, Minneapolis

Intentional Program Design Matters
April 13, 9 a.m. - noon, St. Paul

Leadership Matters
April 22, April 29 and May 6, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., St. Paul

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:
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