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October 2013 Archives

Featured Donor: Brian Krafthefer


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!

Giving and Receiving: The Speck family's 4-H story

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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."

Featured Alum: Brittany Eich

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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!"

4-H scholar spotlight: Jacob Sorensen

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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.

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