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The quality improvement effort at Minnesota county fairs is part of an ongoing vision by Minnesota 4-H to ensure quality in all aspects of 4-H programming. Currently youth program quality observations are being conducted at monthly 4-H club meetings, federation/leader council meetings, afterschool programs, etc. In the summer of 2014, quality observations will also be conducted during conference judging at a minimum of 15-20 county fairs around the state.

Our objectives continue to be:

  • Increase the quality of the conference judging experience for youth
  • Increase judges skills in conducting a quality conference judging experience
  • Improve the educational learning for 4-H youth at Minnesota county fairs
  • Identify future training needs for judges
In 2014, trained YPQA coaches will observe at 3-4 county fairs per region, and two 4-H judges at each fair, using the adjusted Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) on a stick tool for judges.

Observers can be EE's and/or PC's and must have completed quality coaches staff training. After observing a judge, the observer will:

  • provide feedback to the observed judge in a short coaching session immediately following the observation
  • record their scoring and anecdotal evidence on the 4-H PQA county fair conference judging observation tool and submit it to their Regional EE with the Quality Function.
Each region will then compile a report to submit to the state quality team. This information may be used to develop future judges training.

The following 4-H PQA on a stick documents are now posted on the program quality website and will be used to guide our work before, during and after the county fairs:

  • 2013 4-H PQA on a stick pilot report
  • 4-H PQA on a stick program description
  • 4-H PQA on a stick position description
  • Selecting county fair judges to observe and coach
  • 4-H PQA on a stick coaching tips
  • 4-H PQA county fair conference judging observation tool
We have set up two pre-observation refresher conference calls for the designated observers. They will be as follows (conference call numbers will be shared later with those wanting to be observers):
  • June 13, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
  • July 10, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
We want to thank those who worked with county PC's and judges to lead the 2013 county fair 4-H PQA on a stick pilot project; Carrie Olson and Dianne Derrick (SW), Betsy Olson, Jessica Jerney & Anita Harris (Central), Margo Herman and Ann Walter (SE), and Jan Derdowski and Val Coit (NE). Outcomes from the pilot and their observations may be found on the 2013 4-H PQA on a Stick County Fair Judges Pilot Final Report.

Anita Harris

Extension educator

YD in the news

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Staff news

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Welcome Kirsten Pederson!

I am pleased to announce that Kirsten Pederson has accepted the open 75% 4-H program coordinator position in Dakota County and will start on April 15.

Kirsten has a bachelor's degree in marketing and an early career tenure in retail management, primarily with Target Corporation. She has strong networking and partnership development skills and has led campaigns that generated over $1.1 million for the United Way. She most recently has worked as a special education assistant with School District 917, where she has incorporated technology in new and unique ways to assist learners. Additionally, Kirsten has been an active Dakota County 4-H volunteer, Girl Scout leader, and Ag Society director. She will be an excellent addition to the 4-H Youth Development team in Dakota County.

Kirsten will be joining us at Youth and U. Please join me in welcoming Kirsten to our youth development team!

Amber Shanahan

Extension educator

Social and Emotional Learning: Assess it to address it
May 6, 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon
TCF Bank Stadium - DQ Club Room, and online via live webstream

YPQA for the External Assessor-Reliability training
Tuesday, May 6, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Wednesday, May 7, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
St. Paul Student Center, Room 110

Most training and events are free for 4-H staff. Please use the YD-STAFFDEV promo code when registering. For more information about upcoming classes or to register, visit:

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