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Counties across Minnesota are in the process of updating the county constitution/by-laws in which volunteers have a role, so it is important to refresh our understanding of and be clear about the definition of volunteers as a part of the Minnesota 4-H program.

There is a difference between being a Minnesota 4-H volunteer (has been accepted officially through our process) and the act of volunteering. People may volunteer to help at the fair or project days, bring food to a club meeting or even contribute input/opinion/perspective when asked. However, that does not mean he/she is a Minnesota 4-H volunteer unless he/she has completed the application, screening, orientation (and hopefully training although not required).

County 4-H federations/leaders councils are places where decisions are made that impact the local 4-H Youth Development program. 4-H members and Minnesota 4-H adult volunteers, based on this definition, are the individuals who make up the membership of these groups and have voting rights on the decisions made.

Over the years 4-H programs across the state have often used the word "leader" interchangeably with "volunteer". However, to be an adult leader in our organization you need to be a Minnesota 4-H volunteer. We intentionally went away from term "4-H leader" to "4-H volunteer" when the screening process was revised and updated. I hope this clarification will be helpful, not only as you work on the constitution/by-laws review, but in all of the work which involves volunteers in your county.

Brenda Shafer

Program leader

Please note the following updates regarding the county constitution/by-laws process. Details and examples for the topics below can be found on the "Questions & Responses - Model Constitution/By-Laws Process" Google doc shared with you by the educator for operations in your region.

Definition of volunteer

  • The use of the word "volunteer" in the constitution/by-law work currently being done in counties is based on the definition provided in the article above titled "Volunteer as defined by Minnesota 4-H" by Brenda Shafer, program leader. This is in agreement with what is stated in the model constitution/by-laws Article III-Membership, section 1 and section 3.

    It is important that members of the sub-committee that are revising the constitution/by-laws and the federation/council, when it comes forward for a vote, understand this definition of volunteer. Please ensure that the word "volunteer" is used throughout the document, to describe membership, voting rights and positions of leadership.

Ages of youth for membership and voting rights
  • When defining membership and voting rights for youth in the document the minimum recommended age is sixth grade and above. It is not appropriate to include Cloverbuds (K-second grade) as members.
Use of Italics
  • Please keep all county specific language that is added to the model constitution/by-laws in italics. This will make it easier for review and it will enable counties to know what can be changed in the future if needed.
Patricia Morreim
Program manager, 4-H operations

WebEx learning options

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In addition to WebEx trainings being offered by the YD learning technologies team, Karen Matthes from Extension technology has scheduled additional WebEx meeting center 1-hour orientation sessions (this is the same orientation she has previously offered). Topics include setting up a meeting, using audio, sharing content and more. Newly scheduled dates include:

  • March 11 at 1 p.m.
  • March 17 at 10:30 a.m.
  • March 26 at 1 p.m.
Please register for this training online.

Todd Mehrkens

Academic technologist

On Tuesday, March 10 the next 4HOnline webinar will be a half hour look at the custom reports tool in 4HOnline, plus time for specific questions. The focus will be on finding data from last year and how to include inactives (those not yet re-enrolled) in communications and reports.

The webinar will begin at 10 a.m. To join the webinar, go to and enter this meeting number: 273 398 794.

Todd Mehrkens

Academic technologist

Small eartag update

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Allflex notified us last week that they were unable to meet our timeline for receiving the small eartags. Apparently there was a delay in obtaining the official sign-off and license from the USDA since these are "official" tags. Allflex has promised delivery to us by next Wednesday, March 11. Our student worker force is on notice to kick this into high gear the second they reach our office. Our plan is to have them in the mail to counties by Friday, March 13. I sincerely hope this new timeline does not compromise your distribution plans.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Brad Rugg

Director of fairs and animal science programs

Registration deadline: Friday, March 20 at 4:30 p.m.

The purpose of the STEM Native Pollinator youth program is to promote youth educational success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields by using native pollinators (e.g. bumblebees) as the learning context.

The third and final training in a series of 2-day workshops will take place on March 25 & 26. The purpose of the workshops is to train facilitators who will teach the Native Pollinator curriculum, but these workshops are open to any Extension Center for Youth Development staff members who are interested in the topics (see agenda below).

Deadline to register is March 20. Come for just one of the days or for both days, depending on your interests and availability.

  • Dates: March 25 & 26
  • Time: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Location: St. Paul Student Center. Room 110 (2017 Buford Ave. St. Paul, MN 55108)
  • Cost: There is no charge, but space is limited and registration is required. Registration will close on March 20, or when we reach capacity.
Register here.
  • Day 1: March 25 - Citizen science and digital photography
  • Day 2: March 26 - Pollinator-friendly gardens
Light refreshments and lunch will be provided on both days. Parking, travel and overnight accommodations are at the participant's expense.
Hui-Hui Wang

STEM team co-chair

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