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Dear YD colleagues,

Today is the first day of the Minnesota State Fair! Over the next 12 days, thousands of 4-H youth throughout the state will travel to the fairgrounds in St. Paul to showcase their accomplishments and learning from the year.

More than 65,000 4-H youth worked very hard throughout the year, participating in clubs, after-school programs, community service, civic engagement, school enrichment, volunteering and more. All 4-H'ers learn problem solving, decision making, project management, communications and public speaking. Some 4-H'ers choose to share their accomplishments and educate the public about their projects at their local county fair. And approximately 6,000 4-H'ers will participate in 4-H at the Minnesota State Fair!

We also have a number of other exciting new things happening at the State Fair this year.

National 4-H Council is partnering for the second year with CME Group to educate youth about the vital role of agriculture commodities in daily life, and will have a commodity carnival in the cattle barn the first weekend of the fair with fun investment activities to teach youth about the market.

In the 4-H building, we will host the first 4-H Engineering Design Challenge: Build a Rube Goldberg Machine! Twenty-one teams of 4-H youth from across the state have built a Rube Goldberg Machine that zips a zipper. The teams have competed at their county fairs, improved their machines based on judges input, and will participate in the statewide competition in the 4-H building Aug. 25, 27, 29 and 31. The goal of the new annual event is to make Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fun and exciting for youth, and help them develop 21st century learning and innovation skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

We also have an activity to highlight our new 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge launching this fall. The 4-H Science of Agriculture Challenge will ask teams of youth to partner with local experts to explore and develop science-based solutions to agriculture-related issues they have identified in their communities. Visitors to the 4-H Building during the state fair can participate in an activity that highlights the possibilities for the new 4-H Science of Ag Challenge, and operate drones equipped with cameras to monitor crop yields, wildlife and natural disaster recovery in Minnesota.

I hope to see some of you at the Minnesota State Fair! If you do see me, please stop and say hello.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

Note: The Youth Development program evaluation team will share tips and resources in YD Update to aid staff in program evaluation efforts. The information will be archived on the staff only web page. Please send any questions or suggestions for future topics to

Member and volunteer data from the 4-H Plus and 4-H Online enrollment are now available for review at the county and state level on the Minnesota 4-H Enrollment Data Tool designed by Robert Neff from Cornell University. Margo Bowerman, YD Educator in the northwest region, connected Minnesota 4-H to Robert and he graciously agreed to upload Minnesota data. The database has launched with 2007-2011 data, and more recent data will be added this fall. You can find it on the internal program evaluation website at: Minnesota 4-H Enrollment Data Tool.

How to use it

State-wide: The database can be used to understand and track annual trends in the youth member and adult volunteer enrollment at the state level. The youth data can be reviewed and compared by grade and school level, demographics, and retention from year to year. The adult volunteer data can be reviewed and compared by type of volunteer, place of residence, and retention from year to year.

County-wide: The data tool also shows trends in youth enrollment for each grade within each program year. Youth and volunteer gender, race and ethnicity can be compared each year with the state-level data. Retention (dropout rates) can be compared across program years.

Ideas for regional and county teams

This database can help teams to better understand enrollment trends and patterns at the county level and compare these local trends to other counties and the state as a whole. Teams can also set goals based on the information provided related to reaching new audiences of youth and volunteers, and retaining youth and volunteers from year to year.

We want to hear from you! Let us know how you are using this information on your own and with teams. If you have questions or comments, please contact Pam Larson Nippolt at 612-624-8445 or, Sherry Boyce at or Sam Grant at

Pamela Larson Nippolt

Evaluation and research specialist

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

Our Center's focus on understanding social and emotional learning (SEL) and its contribution to closing the achievement and opportunity gaps included a series if issue briefs designed to help people understand, connect and champion social and emotional learning in a variety of settings and from a variety of perspectives. The most recent issue brief by Cari Michaels and Liz Hagen uses a public health lens to illuminate connections between SEL and children's mental health (CMH). It is now available on our SEL webpage.

Kate Walker

Associate Extension professor

If you have received a professional award between Sept. 1, 2013 and Aug. 31, 2014 please access the following Extension link to add your information to the database:

Please add information as soon as possible and no later than Sept. 1. Thanks.

Sandy Rand

Associate administrator

Cultural Resilience: A framework for promoting assets
Oct. 2, 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon
McNamara Alumni Center, Memorial Hall and online by webinar
Free, but registration is required

To fully address youth's learning and gaps in academic performance, we need to redefine educational excellence in a global society. Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz will share a framework for creating a rigorous, inclusive environment with a diverse community. Learn more.

What does children's mental health have to do with social and emotional learning? How can we draw connections between these two areas of work so that children learn better and are healthier?

Learn more and join the Youth Development Insight blog conversation.

The Annual Youth Program Quality Conference has picked up and moved to early this fall and gained new partners who are "ignited" in their support of continuous quality Improvement in Minnesota's youth programs. Hold the date on your calendars!

A partnership between the Cooperative Extension System and the Department of Defense has provided the funding for a national, military childcare/youth development internship program. Through this initiative, students and recent graduates have the opportunity to develop professional skills in childcare and youth development through practical work experience with military children, youth, and families.

Interns are placed on military installations across the United States with limited opportunities for international placement and receive an hourly wage or stipend and assistance with travel expenses for their efforts.

The Military Extension Internship Program is accepting applications for the Spring 2015 class until Sept. 30, 2014.

More information and application materials can be found at Specific questions regarding the internships may be referred to: Jessica Wandless, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service internship coordinator

Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

National Institute on Out-of-School Time on behalf of the Robert Bowne Foundation is pleased to announce the 2015 National Afterschool Matters Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. research grants. With generous funding from the Robert Bowne Foundation, there are new funding guidelines. Download the application and RFP.

The application deadline is Nov. 14. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Sara Hill or call 917-418-3780.

YD in the news

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  • Change is an annual tradition at State Fair

    The Ramsey County 4-H Awesome Mustaches were featured in this article by the Star Tribune about what's new at the fair this year. Read the full article.

    A video of the team working on their 4-H Rube Goldberg Machine was also produced. See the video.

  • State Fair 4-H Beef Championship and 4-H Auction

    2014 will mark the 35th anniversary of the "Purple Ribbon 4-H Livestock Auction" at the Minnesota State Fair. The 4-H Auction will be held on Saturday, August 23, at 5:45 PM, in AgStar Arena. Read the full article.

  • 4-H'ers ready for fair

    Months of preparation will soon pay off for many 4-H members as they compete at the fair this week. Entries in categories ranging from livestock and dog agility to posters and photography will be judged and send some hopeful 4-H'ers to the Minnesota State Fair. Read the full article.

  • County fair was big production for area family

    This article highlights ways in which the Dakota County Fair and the 4-H program have connected one family to their community and with each other. Read the full article.

  • 4-H Profile: Chantel Lewis

    Chantel Lewis, the 2014 Brown County Extension 4-H intern, said that her summer internship has helped her realize her passion of teaching animal science and agriculture education to students. Read the full article.

Dear Extension faculty and staff,

We hope you have been having a great summer. We have some interesting webinars in September, and hopefully you will be able to join us! All Extension faculty and staff are invited to attend these monthly webinars for a chance to review and discuss priority topics within Extension. Read on to find out more.

  • Understanding Your H-Index, and Locating Journals for Publication

    Sept. 3, 10-11 a.m.
    Presenter: Kristen Mastel, outreach & instruction librarian

    In this workshop you will learn how to compute an individual's h-index using Web of Science and Google Scholar and how to find a journal's impact factor. We will discuss how these numbers are tabulated to better understand what they really tell you about your impact and journal publishing. Register Here for "Understanding your H-Index".

  • Introduction to EOAA (Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action)Toolkit
    Sept. 11, 1-2 p.m.
    Presenters: Kimberly Hewitt, director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action & Tina Marisam, associate to the director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action

    This workshop provides practical tools for supervisors and staff to identify, prevent and respond to potential discrimination, harassment, retaliation and nepotism. In this highly interactive workshop, participants will practice identifying inappropriate behaviors in hypothetical scenarios and explore effective strategies for responding to complaints from supervisees, coworkers, and volunteers. Participants are required to view pre-recorded modules before attending the webinar. Register Here for "Introduction to EOAA Toolkit".

Ying Iverson
Extension professional development director

Youth Participatory Evaluation - Letting Youth Create Knowledge
Deborah Moore, Youth Work Learning Lab at the School of Social Work
Aug. 21, 2014

Youth Program Quality "101"
Deborah Moore, Youth Work Learning Lab at the School of Social Work
Aug. 22, 2014

Annual Youth Program Quality Conference
Sept. 19: Registration coming soon

Cultural Resilience: A framework for promoting assets
Public symposium featuring Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz
Oct. 2, 2014
McNamara Alumni Center, Memorial Hall and online by webinar
Thursday, Oct. 2, 8:30 a.m. - 12 noon
Free, but registration is required.

Cultural Resilience: How to find the brilliance in our youth

Oct. 3, 2014, 9 a.m. - 12 noon
Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), Rm 105
Cost: $25

Youth Work Matters Online
Introductory week: Jan. 12-18, 2015
Course content: Jan. 19 - Feb. 15, 2015
Live webinars: Dates TBD
Cost: $100

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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