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From the director

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Dear YD colleagues,

Volunteers are 4-H's most valuable asset. We rely on our adult volunteers to deliver the 4-H program, whether leading 4-H clubs or after-school programs, working with groups of youth on community service efforts, or providing their skills and expertise mentoring youth on a 4-H project.

Our success in providing Minnesota youth with meaningful learning experiences is dependent on our success in supporting our volunteers.

Research on motivation says that volunteers want experiences that make them feel appreciated, successful, useful, empowered, connected, and fulfilled. Volunteer recognition is an important strategy to achieve those results.

Last week, Volunteer Systems State Program Director Molly Frendo, and Volunteer Systems team members Patrick Jirik and Amy Wadding, delivered a webinar focused on strategies to improve volunteer recognition. The webinar was intended to help staff understand what volunteer recognition is and why it is important; understand the components of a comprehensive recognition plan; understand how volunteer motivations impact the type of recognition each person prefers; and provide new ideas for recognizing volunteers in programs.

Though I was unable to be on the webinar, I have heard wonderful things from staff about the training. Many were excited about implementing some of the strategies discussed in the training, such as creating an annual volunteer recognition plan and spreadsheets to track volunteer activities and recognition.

April is National Volunteer Month, so this topic is especially timely. If you were unable to participate in person, I encourage you to watch the webinar recording when you have time.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

Welcome to our first installment of the 2015 data scavenger hunt!

First, here are some basics. For each eval tip in 2015, we will ask you to find certain data that has been uploaded to the YD Intranet. Post your answer as a comment. The first person to get it right wins. Everyone else with a correct answer will receive honorable mention. Everyone who comments will get an imaginary participation ribbon. What, you may ask, is the prize for winning this prestigious competition? Your name will be posted in the next evaluation tip as the "Data Scavenger Hunt Champion," and for one month you will hold the bragging rights for this title. If you are having trouble finding an answer or have a question, please feel free to leave a comment and we will do our best to help clarify anything. Answers will be posted in the following evaluation tip.

For this first hunt, we will go in search of data pertaining to one of the organization's strategic targets. Dorothy will be so proud - so extra brownie points for posting your answer!

One of our three strategic targets is that the 4-H participants in long-term programming will reflect the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the state. One of the first steps in achieving this goal is to determine the current racial and ethnic breakdown of our 4-H members. So, brave data searchers, find the following information:

  • In 2013, what percentage of 4-H youth in your county were non-white? Hispanic?
  • Bonus question: In 2013, what percentage of 4-H youth in your region were non-white? Hispanic?
Hint: The answer may require minor calculations (fear not!), and the answers to the question and the bonus question will be found in two different sources, both of which can be found on the YD Intranet.

Siri Scott

Program evaluation team

Reed Larson, Lisa Bouillion Diaz and Natalie Rusk present Youth Programs as Powerful Settings for Social and Emotional Learning.

Friday, May 15, 2015
8:30 a.m. - noon
McNamara Alumni Center
200 Oak Street SE, Minneapolis

Or watch online.

Youth development programs are uniquely positioned to support social and emotional learning. In these programs, young people engage in real-world projects, work in teams, take on meaningful roles, face challenges, and experience the accompanying emotional ups and downs. This symposium focuses on promoting social and emotional learning in youth program settings. You'll learn about and discuss recent, path-breaking research on how youth learn skills such as strategic thinking and emotional management, and what strategies experienced leaders use to facilitate this development.

Register online.

WebEx Playground sessions

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As many of you are aware, we will be leaving UMConnect behind soon and using WebEx as our webinar tool in Extension and throughout the university! The YD distance technology team is providing colleagues in the Center for Youth Development additional opportunities to explore, practice and learn more about this tool!

If you haven't participated in an Extension one hour WebEx orientation, we encourage you to also do that. Registration and more info is on the Intranet at

Eric, Todd and Kari are hosting "WebEx Playground" sessions to give YD educators and program coordinators this unstructured opportunity for hands-on exploration. They will help you get comfortable with this new tool by giving each participant a chance to upload a file, website or video and experience hosting. The "playground" sessions are offered by region, but if you can't make your regional time, feel free to register with another region. Look for your calendar invitation from your regional liaison soon.

Dates and times for sessions:

  • Feb. 26, 10 - 11:30 a.m., southeast region, facilitated by Todd Mehrhens
  • Feb. 26, 1 - 2:30 p.m., St. Paul campus, facilitated by Todd Mehrhens
  • March 11, 10 - 11:30 a.m. southwest region, facilitated by Eric Vogel
  • March 12, 1 - 2:30 p.m., central region, facilitated by Eric Vogel
  • March 13, 10 - 11:30 a.m. northwest region, facilitated by Kari Robideau
  • March 13, 1 - 2:30 p.m., northeast region, facilitated by Kari Robideau
We look forward to exploring WebEx with you!

Kari Robideau, Eric Vogel and Todd Mehrkens

Minnesota 4-H is compiling a list of camp program opportunities as well as a listing of the camp counselor training opportunities being offered around the state in 2015. This list will be posted to the 4-H camping web page so individuals will know where training is being offered and can make contacts regarding participation.

Find camp information here:

Find camp counselor training information here:

Find camping resources here:

Please share the following information directly with Colleen Byrne ( and she will update the website. In the subject line of your email, please note "Camping information".

  • Date(s)
  • Time/start/end
  • Location(s)
  • Audience (new counselors, returning counselors)
  • Short program description
  • Cost
  • Registration deadline
  • Contact (name, email, phone)
If you have any questions and/or suggestions for additions to the camping page, please share with Becky Meyer ( Thanks you!

Rebecca Meyer

Extension educator

Staff news

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  • Margo Herman featured in Youth Today

    Margo Herman wrote an article for Youth Today's new Out-of-School Time Research and Resource Hub titled "Tangible Improvement: Assessing for Youth Program Quality". Congratulations Margo!

  • Welcome Sarah Jacobs!

    Welcome to Sarah Jacobs, 4-H program coordinator in Jackson County. Sarah brings a wealth of youth development experience as a former 4-H member in Nobles County, a two time 4-H summer intern in Lincoln County and as an agriculture instructor/FFA advisor. Sarah has a background with the swine project area and the industry and was a member of the SDSU meat science team. Sarah came on board Jan. 12 and we are excited to have her as a member of the southwest Minnesota 4-H team.

    Kia Harries

    Extension educator

YD in the news

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  • Youth teaching youth: High-schoolers teach Internet safety at elementary schools

    The Stillwater Gazette ran an excellent article highlighting the partnership between Stillwater Area School District and the 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program. Read the full article.

  • Diving into 4-H on Project Workshop Day

    Chisago County 4-H leaders introduced local children to a wide array of activities offered through 4-H during the program's Project Workshop Day. Read the full article.

April 7-8, 2015 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.), St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota

Description: This intensive two-day class gets participants deep into the observation and scoring of those more grey areas of the YPQA. During the session, participants will increase their accuracy in observing and scoring through video practice. Participants are tested at the end of day two to see if they meet the standard of 80% reliability. Those who successfully achieve that level of reliability become "endorsed assessors" and are able to collect "research quality data."

How it works:

  • All participants should have been previously trained on the YPQA prior to attending this workshop.
  • Participants will be expected to complete homework prior to session.
What you'll have when you walk away:
  • A much deeper sense of what is underneath the YPQA items.
  • A greater confidence in your ability to observe and score using the YPQA tool.
Who should attend: Anyone conducting external assessments as part of a quality assessment and improvement process and coaches or network advisors that will be working with sites to complete the self-assessment process or to implement improvement plans.

Facilitator: Deborah Moore, University of Minnesota

Register here.

Deborah Moore

Youth Work Learning Lab

Social and emotional learning: From understanding to action

Regional forums are designed to bring the latest research on youth development to communities and make a difference in the understanding of what we do and need to do with youth.

This forum will include:

  • Keynote speakers: Dr. Dale Blyth and Kate Walker
  • Lunch and networking
  • Breakout workshops
Thursday, April 23, 2015
9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (8:30 check-in)
Courtyard Marriott, 1080 28th Avenue South, Moorhead
$30 (includes lunch)

Learn more and register.

Kari Robideau

Extension educator and associate professor

From the director

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Dear YD colleagues,

Everyone is currently deep in the mode of performance reviews, so I thought I'd share a few thoughts about this important process.

Performance reviews provide a valuable opportunity for us to reflect on our accomplishments, and to celebrate the work we are doing on behalf of the youth and adults we serve.

The process is about making space for intentional self-examination and reflection every year. We ask ourselves if we have accomplished the things we had hoped to, and if we did our part to keep the mission and vision. It's also a time to think about what you'd like to do in your future work.

While this is a time to allow ourselves to identify and celebrate our accomplishments, it's also a time in which we need to be willing to be critical of ourselves, and look at where we could make improvements in the future. This is the way that you can become the "best you" that you'd like to be in the work place.

Questioning what we are doing and what we can do better as an organization and as individuals who make up the organization is also the way we become the best 4-H Youth Development professionals and program we can be.

I am proud to be part of such a dynamic and innovative organization, and look forward to my personal reflection and thinking about my contributions in the upcoming year. I hope you do as well, and look forward to hearing about the wonderful plans for 2015!


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

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