Give to the Max Day is taking place on November 14, 2013. Your support of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation makes a meaningful contribution to learning experiences and programs including Animal and Agricultural Science, Citizenship and Leadership, Healthy Living, and 4-H Science. If you wish, you can designate your gift for a specific county or program within 4-H. If you would like to learn more, or if you would like to support Minnesota 4-H during Give to the Max Day, please visit http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Minnesota-4-H-Foundation.
Extension > 4-H Foundation News
Growing up in 4-H taught Brian Krafthefer the power of family and community in the development of young people. His parents and grandparents were active 4-H members and his many years in the program developed skills and relationships that significantly impacted who he became as an adult.
When Brian moved from Douglas to Washington County to start his career as a research engineer, he knew one thing for certain, he would raise his family in 4-H just the way his parents and his grandparents did.
"For every generation of my family, we've seen the social value of being involved in 4-H. It is a place where lifelong relationships with both peers and caring adults are developed and nurtured. My grandparents and parents had that, I had that, and now my kids have had that too."
Although both of Brian's children are grown now (his daughter is a proud 4-H alum), he continues to be a strong and engaged supporter of 4-H because of the role it can play in creating opportunity and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics in young people.
In 2012 Brian became the establishing donor of the Washington County 4-H STEM Scholarship. The scholarship is intended to provide financial support and encouragement for college freshmen who are excited about a future career in the technical fields. He plans on giving annually in support of this scholarship and actively encourages other STEM professionals in his community to give as well.
"The earlier we can get youth excited about science and engineering the better. We've got to catch their imagination during the "I wonder why" phase of their development and 4-H is a great place to do that. If youth are more stimulated to participate in and enjoy the sciences because of the donations I give to 4-H, then I feel like that's a great legacy. I'd be happy with that."
The Minnesota 4-H Foundation is proud to be a part of Brian Krafthefer's legacy giving plan. If you'd like to learn more about making a legacy gift to 4-H, please contact us!
The Speck family, of Hubbard County, was a typical Minnesota family looking for engaging activities that would encourage self-confidence and creativity in their two young sons. Although Colleen and Dave hadn't participated in 4-H growing up, they knew it was affordable and available in their area so they figured it was worth trying out.
"Honestly, I thought 4-H was really just for agriculture families, so I was a little hesitant at first," mentioned Colleen. "But I quickly learned how much 4-H had to offer my family. What 4-H really is is a life-changing youth development program. And it's for all families."
Brendon and Ryan, the Speck boys, found their 4-H home in a science, engineering and technology 4-H club in nearby Beltrami County. A major focus of this club has been the exploration of aquatic robotics engineering. The family has participated in statewide aquatic robotics training events (with significant funding provided by the Minnesota 4-H Foundation), taken their projects to the State Fair and Brendon represented Minnesota in the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington D.C.
Brendon, now a college student studying mechanical engineering and a small business owner, has remained engaged with 4-H by helping to design activities and curriculum for the club his parents and brother are still actively engaged in as leaders. A huge recent accomplishment for Brendon was being named the Young Entrepreneur Foundation's 2013 Young Entrepreneur for Minnesota. He credits 4-H with much of the success he has achieved, helping him to develop his self-worth and confidence in public speaking.
"I can't say enough for 4-H," mentioned Brendon recently. "It has given me so many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. I am grateful and am giving back by volunteering in 4-H so other kids can have the same discoveries as my brother and I have had."
Brittany is a proud 4-H alum from the Wranglers Club of Anoka County. During her 11 years as a 4-H'er, she participated heavily in the horse project area, including serving on her county's horse committee and competing as a member of her local Horse Knowledge Bowl Team at the regional, state and national levels. She is also a proud 4-H State Ambassador alum (2009-2011).
As a young alum, Brittany has stayed involved with 4-H at both county events and at the State Fair as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Unit Head in the 4-H building. She loves to help young people explore and get excited about STEM projects and ideas.
"4-H helps youth create networks with other youth from around the state and create mature relationships with professionals. Youth get the chance to explore different subject areas and are supported by leaders who are knowledgeable and connected -they have a huge passion for what they teach."
Brittany's enthusiasm for the sciences has led her into pursuing a degree in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development at the University of Minnesota. She hopes to stay connected to 4-H after graduating so she can help other young people explore their interests and passions and make great friendships, just like she did during her many 4-H years.
"Being in 4-H gives youth the opportunity to create friends for life. Your mentors become friends as you get older. I hope to be one of those who continue to give back!"
Meet Jacob Sorensen, a freshman at South Dakota State University, 4-H alum from Freeborn County and 2013 recipient of the Corn Capital Innovations Scholarship from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.
Jacob is a very well-rounded young person, having been active in 4-H as both club and county Treasurer and President, in addition to his extensive work in the swine project area. Throughout his high school career, he was highly engaged in athletics, performing arts, religious activities and community service projects, all while maintaining a 3.0 GPA.
Jacob, who grew up on a farm raising corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs, has broad interests, including business management, precision farming, marketing and engineering. He hopes that pursuing a degree in the Ag Systems Technology department at SDSU will help him hone his field of study and find the ideal career for his diverse agricultural passions.
"4-H has helped me become who I am today by broadening my interests and letting me put all my talents to work whether it is in the show ring with my cattle or pigs or in the shop building wood and metal projects. I have had a wonderful experience in 4-H and I am sure glad I have 1 more year."
Congratulations to Jacob Sorensen, our inaugural recipient of this annual scholarship award. We thank Corn Capital Innovations for the generous gift that established this award.
Meet Alexandria, a 4-H'er from Blue Earth County. Alex is one of two 2013 recipients of the Kern Scholarship from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.
Since joining 4-H in 2008, Alex has focused most of her 4-H experiences around her dog, Mya, a 6 year old Lab-Springer mix. In their most recent county fair showing, Alex and Mya won a Grand Championship in Advanced Rally. Normally Alex and Mya would have competed in 5 other events but Mya had a major health crisis that limited their ability to show in all their typical events. In general project areas and demonstrations Alex earned 8 Grand Championships this year, and took a veterinary science project on Mya's disease (Atypical Addison's) as well as a demo on choosing a dog to the State Fair this year. For the past several years, Alex has served as Blue Earth County's youth dog project leader. She has also served as a club leader, photographer for her county.
Alex will be attending Minnesota State University in Mankato, with the hopes of earning her degree in zoology and then attending the U of MN and becoming a doctor of veterinary medicine. She looks forward to remaining engaged with 4-H by serving as an alumni volunteer in her county teaching dog training classes.
We're excited to congratulate Alex and wish her well in her academic pursuits!
Each day alumni poured into the 4-H Building, ready to see the Arts-In show (directed by Kirstin Delp, 4-H alum from Anoka County), view exhibits ranging from photography to food preservation, from community pride to quilting, from entomology to electronics (all managed by several 4-H alumni under the direction of Sandy Ducharme) and to introduce their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends to the personal growth and development opportunities that 4-H proudly offers youth of all ages. The 4-H Building was busting with joy, enthusiasm and pride.
Few alumni passed our table in the entryway without sharing a story or two about winning a trip to the State Fair, staying in the 4-H "Hilton" (third floor dorms of the building) and becoming who they are today thanks to their experiences with 4-H. One woman, pushed in a wheelchair by her adult daughter, announced that she had visited the 4-H Building every year since she was a small child. This was her 82nd consecutive year of showing 4-H enthusiasm and gratitude during her visit to the State Fair's 4-H Building. When 4-H alumni come to the State Fair, joy-filled memories are recalled and smiles are always present.
It was such an honor to hear your stories as you visited the 4-H Building this year at the State Fair. Thank you for sharing your memories and helping me to see even more clearly what a strong and vital role 4-H plays in the lives of Minnesotans.
I'm so glad to share membership of the Minnesota 4-H Alumni & Friends Community with you. Let's volunteer, advocate and give in support of 4-H so that this wonderful youth development program can remain strong and vital for many years to come!
The Frankford Jolly Youth is a Mower County 4-H club in Grand Meadow, Minnesota. This group of youth, along with some supportive adults, partnered with the local school district to plan, plant, cultivate and harvest a garden that produced over 800 pounds of vegetables last year. This produce was donated to the Grand Meadow Food Shelf and several elderly community members.
"I volunteered with my family about 8 times over the summer to keep the garden watered and weeded and to pick vegetables when they were ready," said Emily, a 12-year old 4-H club member. "It gave me such a happy feeling to bring all that food to people who needed it. On the days when the food shelf couldn't take everything we'd harvested, we shared the extras with our neighbor Betsy. She's too old to grow her own vegetables, but she loves cooking them."
The Minnesota 4-H Foundation, through their annual Helping Hands Grant program, provided the start-up money for this community gardening project. Donations from local farmers, businesses and individuals of compost, plants and tools made community support for this project overwhelmingly apparent.
"We sought advice from the principal and parent advisory committee at Grand Meadow School, Mower County's Master Gardeners and other community members about what plants to grow and how to amend the soil," said Jessica Fretty, 4-H club leader for the Frankford Jolly Youth. "The K-4th grade teachers engaged all their classrooms in the planning and planting process. It was great to see so many people support this project."
The Frankford Jolly Youth Club is actively engaged in preparing for the next growing season. They were awarded additional funds for expanding this community service gardening project through the Helping Hands Grant program and community support continues to be strong.
"We hope to resolve some drainage issues and be even more purposeful about how we distribute vegetables to the seniors in our community," noted Fretty. "We're also going to plant more shelf-stable crops like potatoes and onions to better serve the families who use the food shelf. This has been such a great experience for us. We're grateful to the 4-H Foundation for supporting our work!"
One of the biggest struggles for young people is finding their place to belong. A place where they can express themselves positively, be accepted for who they are, learn life skills and find good friends. For the past 40 years, the 4-H State Arts-In program has been providing just such a place for young people across Minnesota.
The program begins with eight days of intensive arts experience, combining leadership skill development, team building and lots of hard work. These eight days serve as training grounds for the Arts-In production, where participating youth perform at least 40 shows for 12,000+ audience members over the 12 days of the Minnesota State Fair.
The 4-H State Arts-In Program was recently honored with a matching grant from the Dean of Extension at the University of Minnesota. This means that every dollar individuals and companies donate between now and August 2013 will be doubled up to $40,000!
As budgets get tighter and cuts become increasingly necessary, we rely more and more on individuals like you to ensure 4-H programs like State Arts-In stay strong. We are excited that this matching grant will help us ensure the quality of State Arts-In for the next 40 years. Donate today!