University of Minnesota Extension
Menu Menu

Dear YD colleagues,

The Youth Development Leadership Team met on July 29. The following is a summary of the meeting.

  • Evaluation data tool: Pam Larson Nippolt informed the team about a new Minnesota 4-H enrollment data tool that is now available. Member and volunteer data from 4-H Plus and 4HOnline enrollment are available at the county and state level in the new tool designed by Robert Neff from Cornell University. The current up to date enrollment database can be used to track youth and volunteer enrollment trends according to a variety of criteria. The tool can be found on the YD Intranet here.
  • Diversity & inclusion update: Josey Landrieu, Joshua Kukowski and Kathryn Sharpe presented a report on behalf of the diversity and inclusion shared learning cohort. They talked about key learning over the past year and the plan for a Sept. 23 event to share five videos the cohort produced on building partnerships across cultures, culturally responsive youth-adult partnerships, serving youth with disabilities, religious inclusion, and working with immigrant youth. They also provided recommendations for the future of the diversity & inclusion cohort, which included regional and statewide YD diversity cohorts, and culturally responsive youth work matters training that could serve as a resource for YD staff in support of regional work plans related to the YD strategic target on diversity.
  • Central region update: Josey Landrieu presented an update on behalf of the central regional team. She shared the team's 2014 action plan and guiding framework, which included four commitments that focused the team's work: A common agenda, inclusive community building, intentional/responsive to community needs, and data informed and data driven. Josey walked through each commitment, the related goals for the year, such as developing concrete goals and strategies for each county related to the YD diversity target, and a list of some of the key partnerships that exist in the central region.
  • YPQA benchmarks: Deborah Moore, Sam Grant and Jan Derdowski presented recommendations from the statewide quality team on setting annual benchmarks for using the YPQA in 4-H clubs to improve quality. The purpose of the recommendations was to set benchmarks for regular use of YPQA for regional teams, support use of new tool and scores reporter, create monitoring processes to encourage planning and accountability, and review scores reporter data and share common themes which will impact future training and coaching.
  • U of M Foundation campaign: Cara Miller presented information about the University of Minnesota Foundation's upcoming capital campaign, and the role and related plans of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation. The group discussed priority funding areas for the campaign, campaign messaging, a timeline, and next steps for planning.
  • Administrative updates: The team briefly talked about plans for Dorothy's visits with regional teams this fall, YD time at the Extension Fall Conference, and content and staffing of Minnesota 4-H's booths at the National 4-H conference in November.


Dorothy M Freeman and the YDLT: Jennifer Skuza, Tamie Bremseth, Pam Larson Nippolt, Nancy Hegland, Brenda Shafer, Colleen Sanders, Wendy Huckaby, Cara Miller

A YD staff webinar was held on Wednesday, July 30, from 2:30-3:30 p.m., to share the Youth Development results of the Employee Engagement Survey. The results from the engagement survey are very important and give us insight into specific areas that we can work on together to improve the health and productivity of our work environment for all staff. During the webinar, highlights from the survey were shared, including areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Most importantly, time was devoted to ask questions, provide feedback, and share initial ideas about how we can best work together to create solutions.

We encourage staff who were unable to participate in the webinar to view the recording to learn more about the results and plans to engage staff in further discussions this fall at regional team meetings. The recording is available at

Wendy Huckaby

YD Communications Manager

The new 2014 4-H Engineering Design Challenge: Build a Rube Goldberg Machine! has been underway at county fairs this summer, and is a wild success!

This year, the challenge asks teams of 4-H youth to build a Rube Goldberg Machine that can zip a zipper. Rube Goldberg Machines use everyday items that interact in a series of chain-reactions to complete a simple task (for example, the game Mouse Trap is a Rube Goldberg Machine.)

To date, 21 teams of youth in grades 3-8 have built machines, are competing at their county fair and will move onto the statewide competition at the Minnesota State Fair. The goal of the challenge is to get youth excited about science and engineering, and to encourage critical thinking, creativity, innovation and problem solving in a fun learning environment.

Rube Goldberg Machine judging at the state fair will take place between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the 4-H Building on Aug. 25, 27, 29 and 31.

Don't miss it!

Statewide 4-H STEM team: Hui Hui Wang, Rebecca Meyer, Anne Stevenson, Patrick Jirik, Margo Bowerman, Mark D Haugen, and Dianne Derrick

Note: The Youth Development Learning Technologies Team uses this Blog to educate colleagues on distance learning technologies which helps increase staff interest, knowledge and skills through ideas and tools to facilitate 21st Century teaching and learning.

The next Youth Development Tech Bytes Blog is titled, "UGH! Not another conference call!". Twenty-first century meetings often take us away from face-to-face settings and bring us into the world of meeting via distance through tools such as conference calls, Google Hangouts, and webinars. This creates a new challenge for facilitator's as they work to build a productive and engaging meeting for all participants. Visit the blog to read about ideas for keeping people engaged in meetings via distance and comment on what works well for your conference calls.

Kari Robideau

Associate Extension professor

Over the past program year, 15 staff members from across the Extension Center for Youth Development engaged in a staff development opportunity to share and learn through personal stories about diversity and inclusion within our work. Cohort members included: Josey Landrieu, Kathryn Sharpe, Susan Beaulieu, Ann Walter, Anita Harris, Judith Conway, Jacquie Lonning, Darcy Cole, Carolyn Dingfelder, Joe Rand, Anna Gilbertson, Joanna Tzenis, Joshua Kukowski, Amie Mondl, and Krista Lautenschlager. Participants discussed readings, engaged in group activities and discussion, and reflected personally on enhancing and developing a mind set, skill set, and heart set for working with diversity and inclusion.

As an output of their learning, the cohort members have created seven short films focused on topics such as: building partnerships across cultures, culturally responsive youth-adult partnerships, serving youth with disabilities, religious inclusion, and working with LGBT youth. Please join the members of the cohort at the premiere of their short films on Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. - noon at the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC). Please RSVP if you are able to attend at: The project was funded by the University of Minnesota's Equity & Diversity Transformation Awards, a grant program sponsored by the Office for Equity and Diversity.

Extension Center for Youth Development Diversity & Inclusion Shared Learning Cohort Planning Team

As part of the state Citizenship & Leadership team's charge to develop a comprehensive program model to guide the 4-H Ambassador programs (county & state), the team has been examining the 4-H County Ambassador program through survey data and other research to identify areas to strengthen across the state of Minnesota. Focus has been given on developing a framework for County Ambassador programs as a response to concern from many staff and volunteers about the following needs:

  • Consistency among County Ambassador programs
  • Curriculum for improving/enhancing County Ambassador skill-building
  • A more meaningful impact on global citizenship and leadership learning (meeting common outcomes) across the state
  • A logical ladder of learning to and from other Citizenship & Leadership programs, including the State Ambassador program
Thirteen counties were selected to participate in a guided County Ambassador pilot program with the state Citizenship and Leadership team. Staff, volunteer, and youth representatives from these programs will begin with a planning retreat in September and will meet together periodically throughout the year to provide input on program elements while also implementing and supporting their County Ambassador programs.

The state Citizenship & Leadership team is excited to be working closely with the following pilot sites and their program coordinators, volunteers, and youth throughout the next year: Ann Marie Ward, Beltrami; Suzanne Souza, Big Stone; Janet Malone, East Otter Tail; LeeAnn Howard, Fillmore; Megan Thorson, Freeborn; Mari Jo Lehmeier, Hubbard; Amanda Swenson, Isanti; Krista Lautenschlager, Kandiyohi; Tracey Anderson, Lake; Katie Johnson, Nicollet; Wade Herbranson, North St. Louis; Karen Beranek, Redwood; and Sara Budde, Stearns.

Quarterly updates will be shared once the pilot begins.

State Citizenship & Leadership team: Brian McNeill, Jacquie Lonning, Jan Derdowski, Jessica Russo, Josh Kukowski, Judith Conway, and Nicole Pokorney

During the fair you can follow all the 4-H action online from one place on our smart phone app.

The app has:

  • Judging results (updated frequently)
  • Fair schedule for visitors
  • Interactive fairgrounds map
  • Twitter streams from all four of our Twitter accounts
For each of our Twitter announcements accounts for exhibitors - MN4HBeef, MN4HDairy and MN4HAnnounce - participants can switch on text alerts to pop up on their smart phone's home screen.

Our app will be available for free in the itunes and Google Play stores in the next few days.

Ann Nordby

YD web manager

We will be webcasting several 4-H events live during the Minnesota State Fair:

  • Dairy goat show, 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22 (up to 6 hours long depending on the number of entrants)
  • Arts-in performance, 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26. (30 minutes)
  • Lama costume competition, 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27 (approx. 1 hour)
Each show will have a chat pod hosted by a 4-H youth. Audience members can ask questions. This is an organizational communications opportunity for the youth, and helps families to participate from home. Non-4-H audiences will learn more about 4-H, what the young people learn at the fair and the value of the judging experience.

Watch all three shows on the same page on our website. Until the first show starts, this page will be showing you the view from a northern Minnesota eagle's nest.

Like last year, the Arts-in and lama shows will be recorded and the recordings will be housed on the Arts-in and Lama Project web pages after the fair. Thanks to our sponsor, Broadband Corp.

Ann Nordby

YD web manager

Child Trends research

| Leave a comment

A new report from Child Trends shows that just under half of children in the U.S. have had at least one of a series of major, potentially traumatic events associated with an increased risk of poor health and illness as adults. Adverse childhood experiences are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. Read this brief to learn more about the prevalence and impact these experiences have on children.

Jennifer A. Skuza, PhD

Assistant dean

4-H Foundation news

| Leave a comment

It is with sadness that the Minnesota 4-H Foundation says goodbye to Brad Starbuck. Brad has served on the Minnesota 4-H Foundation staff as a development officer in the southwest region and for agriculture programs for nearly two years. His last day with the 4-H Foundation was Friday, Aug. 1. Brad is not going far however as he is taking a job as director of corporate and foundation relations with the Carlson School of Management at the University Foundation. We wish Brad the best in his new role and thank him for his collaborative and positive work with the Minnesota 4-H Foundation and 4-H program.

Cara Miller

Executive director, Minnesota 4-H Foundation

YD in the news

| Leave a comment

  • Clay County 4-H'ers test water robots

    The program, now in its fourth year, started with just a single robot kit designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Navy. But that kit got old, and last year, the Clay County 4-H club was fixing it almost as much as they used it. So they improvised, built their own robots and brought them to Lake Sallie for testing. Donated by some University of Minnesota students and modified by the 4-H club, it's much larger than the ones they built themselves.

    Read the full article.

  • 4-Hers to fight cancer at fair

    Jackson County 4-Hers will help wage war against cancer during this year's Jackson County Fair.

    Read the full article.

  • In 4-H BLU and YELLO make GREAN

    Inspired by their experiences in BLU and YELLO, 4-H teens from several northeastern Minnesota counties came together in 2011 to form GREAN: Learn. Serve. Inspire. Together, these 4-H'ers developed a mission statement for GREAN that emphasized service, leadership, and inspiring others to take positive action. Now in its fourth year, 13 teens from Itasca and Koochiching counties came together for GREAN Team 2014.

    Read the full article.

  • 4-H veteran offers sage advice to new exhibitor

    Eight-year-old Thomas Brand got ready to show Angus, his cross breed pig, at the Wabasha County Fair armed with advice from Allison Harvey, a state fair grand champion.

    Read the full article.

  • Local youth/adults attend national 4-H shooting invitational

    Thirty-five Minnesota 4-H youth and 11 adults represented Minnesota at the National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational in Grand Island, Neb. June 24-29. The 35 youth represented 16 counties in Minnesota. This article highlights Kanabec county youth and volunteers in Minnesota's delegation.

    Read the full article.

  • Barry County 4-H visits Minnesota

    10 Missouri 4-H members hit the road recently to stay with 4-H families in Wright County, Minn. They stayed with the families for five days, using the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of 4-H in areas beyond Barry County, Missouri.

    Read the full article.

  • 4-H competitors vie for Grand Champion at Winona County Fair

    This year's event marks 156 years of the Winona County Fair.

    Read the full article.

Staff news

| Leave a comment

  • Welcome Michelle Klinkner!

    I am excited to announce that Michelle Klinkner has accepted the position of the 4-H program coordinator for Faribault County.

    Michelle has a wealth of experience working with youth and the 4-H program. Actually, Michelle is coming back home as she was the 4-H program coordinator in Faribault County back in 2004-2005, and has been the interim in this position for the past two months. She also has experience in teaching, program planning and development, and working with volunteers. She resigned her 4-H position in 2005 to move to Wausau, WI with her family to start a new business adventure called Dairy Services, Inc.

    In 2011, Michelle and her husband, Chris along with their four children Annaliese, Cole, Jaxen and Ashlyn, moved back to the area where Michelle has been serving as the assistant faith formation and youth minister at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church working with youth and volunteers of various ages.

    Michelle's greatest asset is her ability to communicate and motivate people. She has great rapport with both youth and adult volunteers, and is organized, dependable and has a great love for the 4-H program. Her background, passion for 4-H, and desire to help others succeed are just a few qualities that made her a match for this position.

    Michelle's email address is Please join me in welcoming Michelle to our 4-H family. We are pleased to have her on board!

    Deb Hadley

    Extension educator

  • Welcome Jeremy Freeman!

    Jeremy Freeman has accepted the position of 4-H program coordinator in Chisago County. Jeremy will be working full time with Chisago County 4-H out of the North Branch office.

    Jeremy holds a BA degree in outdoor education and leadership and has over five years of experience in program and administration with youth and adults at wilderness camp settings in Montana. From his application and interview it is evident he brings great enthusiasm, energy and skills to the position. Some of his skills include; program design and delivery in experiential education, recruitment and supervision of volunteers and staff, fundraising, program marketing and outreach.

    Jeremy and his family recently relocated to Minnesota to be closer to other family members. This past spring he worked as a part-time instructional assistant in the Cambridge-Isanti school district.

    Jeremy's email address is We are excited to have him join our central region and Chisago County!

    Josey Landrieu

    Assistant Extension professor

  • Welcome Heidi Anderson!

    I am excited to announce that Heidi Anderson joined our group of 4-H professionals as the Benton County 4-H program coordinator on July 22!

    Heidi has been connected and led in 4-H as a youth member, a 4-H summer assistant and an adult volunteer. Her hands on experience, community connections and work ethic will continue to help Benton County 4-H positively impact the 4-H community.

    Heidi has strong academic training and professional leadership experience that will enable her to be an effective manager and leader in her new role. She is an honors graduate of St. Cloud State University with extensive coursework in marketing and Spanish.

    Most recently Heidi had provided leadership to the Minnesota Holstein Association where she managed the organization's operations, sales, membership and finances. She also collaborated with and led volunteers to coordinate major events, conventions and sales while also directly leading the youth educational program.

    Heidi's email address is Please join me in welcoming Heidi to Benton County!

    Mark Haugen

    Extension educator

From the director

| Leave a comment

Dear YD colleagues,

I would like to invite staff to join me for a webinar on Wednesday, July 30, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. to learn about the Youth Development results of the Employee Engagement Survey. A key strategy in our 5-year plan is to increase the satisfaction of our employees by fostering an organization of professionalism, collegiality, inclusion, and high standards. The results from the engagement survey are very important and give us insight into specific areas that we can work on together to improve the health, and productivity of our work environment for all staff. During the webinar, I will share some highlights from the survey, including areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Most importantly, we will devote time for you to ask questions, provide feedback, and share initial ideas about how we can best work together to create solutions.

You can join the Youth Development Engagement Survey staff webinar via this link:

The webinar will be recorded so that staff who are unable to participate will be able to view it at a later time.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

  • © 2014 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy