University of Minnesota Extension
Menu Menu

From the director

| Leave a comment

Dear YD colleagues,

In less than two weeks, Youth Development educators, state program staff and program coordinators from across the state will gather for our annual YOUth & U staff development conference.

This year's theme is, "Building on traditions and inviting transformation: youth development in the 21st century". Our objectives are to recognize our accomplishments over the past year, provide staff with opportunities to network and strengthen relationships with colleagues, and to obtain relevant and useful information, ideas, and best practices to use in program planning and implementation. For example, the statewide STEM and Science of Agriculture teams will both have workshops on work they have been developing in these critical areas.

Another important objective is to share a five-year plan that will help us demonstrate the positive impact 4-H is having in the lives of Minnesota youth. The plan includes three target areas that we will track and measure progress in across the state. These targets along with the rest of the plan build on what we do well, and will help guide the design, implementation and evaluation of our programs. We believe that through this plan, our outcomes will become more concrete and explainable, and show the measurable difference 4-H makes.

The educators from each region who serve as liaisons to the Youth Development Leadership Team have been helping us explore how to best engage all educators and program coordinators in thinking about and shaping regional plans that will contribute to achieving these targets over the next several years.

We will devote time at YOUth & U to engage staff in discussions to gather initial feedback and creative thinking to kick off this exciting journey to showing our impact.

If you have any questions prior to YOUth & U, feel free to talk with the educator in your region who serves as a liaison to the YDLT:

I look forward to seeing you at YOUth & U!


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

Youth Development has made it a priority to help develop the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math leaders in Minnesota. One of the ways we do that best is through 4-H STEM programs that provide youth with hands-on learning opportunities. These experiences make science come alive and spark an interest in future STEM learning and careers.

The current issue of Extension's Source magazine is now available and includes a story about two Extension 4-H alumni, their first critical "aha" STEM learning moments through 4-H, and how it led them to their current areas of STEM study at the University.

I encourage our staff to share this article with funders, partners, volunteers and other key stakeholders to help them understand the important role 4-H STEM programs play in getting youth excited about STEM, and setting them on a path to college and careers in STEM-related fields. You can find the article on Extension's web site here.

Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

Evaluation study of the 4-H online training modules

A small group of 4-H adult volunteers will be contacted in April and asked to participate in an evaluation study of the 4-H online training modules. The study includes an e-mailed survey and a telephone interview for volunteers who have recently completed one or more of the modules. The results will be used for program improvement purposes. If you are contacted with questions or have any questions of your own, you can contact Pam Larson Nippolt at or 612-624-8445. Thank you in advance for supporting this work.

Regional monitoring reports available this month

The program evaluation team members will be contacting Educators in each region to introduce the regional reports and to offer technical assistance to your teams. Look for Sherry, Sam and Pam at YOUth and U - we will have limited hard copies available and will send electronic links to all in the coming weeks!

Pam Larson Nippolt

Evaluation & research specialist

Each year Extension hosts the annual staff conference, which brings together civil service and bargaining unit staff from the following staff groups: clerical/technical, civil service, nutrition educators, 4-H program coordinators, Master Gardener coordinators, community program specialists, community program assistants and county support staff.

The conference is a valuable investment that creates opportunities for staff to acquire new skills, share ideas, network with colleagues across the state, and learn about important Extension initiatives and priorities.

This year Extension will host the event in two separate locations to make it more convenient for staff to attend (staff should choose the location that is closest to their office):

  • Tuesday, May 6 in Bemidji, at the Sanford Center
  • Wednesday, May 14 in Mankato, at the Verizon Wireless Center
Register now through the staff conference section of the Extension intranet. The deadline to register is April 18.

I encourage you to take advantage of this wonderful staff development opportunity.

Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

YD in the news

| Leave a comment

Aitkin County Rippleside Helping Hands 4-H Club receives 2014 AMC Community Leadership Award

The Rippleside Helping Hands 4-H Club of Aitkin County recently received the 2014 Association of Minnesota Counties 4-H Community Leadership Award.

Each year the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) recognizes outstanding 4H Community Youth Leadership projects in Minnesota. The AMC is a voluntary statewide organization of Minnesota's 87 counties that helps provide effective county governance to the people of Minnesota. The AMC Extension Committee awards the youth-led projects that respond to real community needs.

The Rippleside Helping Hands 4-H Club was selected for their "Students Using Their Time, Talents and Kindness to Make Their Community Better!" The 12-member after school club of 4-6th graders is dedicated to service learning "using their time, talents and kindness to make their community better". In 2013, the club's projects included performing skits at the nursing home, serving a free community meal, a "Rippleside Pride" teacher appreciation effort, community planting with a master gardener, a garbage/recycling walk, and raising awareness and money for the Red Cross.

Several members of the club and its leaders attended an awards banquet in St. Paul on February 26 to receive the award, and gave a presentation about their club's work, and what it means to club members and their community to an audience of the nearly 300 county officials and staff from across Minnesota during the AMC's annual Legislative Conference.

Knowledge to action: Connected learning through global competency
April 24, 2014, 8am-4pm

Attend Minnesota ASCD's 2014 Spring Conference on April 24: "Knowledge to Action: Connected Learning through Global Competency." The keynote presenter will be Dana Mortenson, Founder and Executive Director of World Savvy. Register here.

Dilemmas in Youth Work Online
Introductory week: April 14 - 20
Course content: April 21 - May 14
Live webinars:

Welcome to Dilemmas of Youth Work Online
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. (CST)

Wrap-up of Dilemmas of Youth Work Online
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. (CST)

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:

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