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From the director

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Dear YD colleagues,

The holidays are approaching fast, and I know all of you are looking forward to spending time relaxing and enjoying the company of family and friends. As I reflect on the last year, I am thankful for so many things, and want to share a few thoughts with you.

National 4-H Council Innovation & Impact Executive Director Don Mohanlal sent me a thank you note after his visit with us last month, expressing how impressed he was with the work we were doing. In it he said, "I have seen the future, and it is Minnesota 4-H."

I would like to thank all of you because you are Minnesota 4-H.

We have accomplished so much together this last year. I was so happy to meet with all of you during our regional visits this summer and fall, and hear your stories and your accomplishments. I also want to thank you for what you challenged us to hear and understand, telling us where changes were needed, and making your voices heard. This is truly how we create "we" in our organization.

Together, we are striving to be the best 4-H Youth Development organization that we can be. I'd also like to thank you for embracing and supporting me, and allowing me to be your leader as we move our vision forward, thoughtfully and caringly, in large and small ways. Your hard work and support help me to know we are on the right track, and that you believe in the future of 4-H and making a difference in the lives of young people.

Enjoy the holidays and have a Happy New Year!


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

YD evaluation tips

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Note: The Youth Development program evaluation team will share tips and resources in YD Update to aid staff in program evaluation efforts. Please send any questions or suggestions for future topics to

The program evaluation team has been writing YD evaluation tips since June of 2010. That's a lot of tips over the years! You can look through the archives of the evaluation tips by clicking on the evaluation tab on this post. For the last installment of 2014, I'm going to bring back a couple of my favorite tips from over the years. Hope you enjoy this blast from the past.

  • From July 2011: Likert scale examples. I love this resource to get thinking about different ways to score questions. I can get very stuck trying to figure out how I want to ask a question on a survey, and this is a tool that has helped me time and time again.
  • From August 2012: Head over to Tagxedo to make word cloud images from text. What I love about Tagxedo is that it allows you to customize your images, create word clouds in any shape, and it easily export into PowerPoint presentations.
  • From April 2013: Create effective presentations with the help of the American Evaluation Association. The Potent Presentations website is chalk full of amazing tools that will help you to improve your presentations.
  • From May 2013: Minnesota Compass is a great resource for community and neighborhood level data. There are specific indicators on youth demographics, education, and social issues.
  • From July 2014: Piktochart was designed to help the non-designer build beautiful infographics. Their tag line is, "We are infographics made easy." What's not to love about that?! (It's also free for the basic version which has limited graphics and features.)
Make it a New Year's resolution to check all of these resources out. Look for a new spin on YD evaluation tips in 2015!
Samantha Grant

Extension educator, program evaluation

The design team of Growing 4-H Opportunities Together: Volunteers in Vision & Action (GOT:VIVA) is excited to announce that the toolkit is on our internal website! It is located under "delivering youth programs" and "volunteer systems, support & management".

GOT:VIVA intentionally aligns two processes that are central to delivering meaningful youth development programs: program development and volunteer systems development. This process relies on a team approach that engages local 4-H program staff and Extension educators working within the region. The purposes of this process are to:

  • Define the direction a county 4-H program can take to contribute to the positive development of young people.
  • Strengthen the volunteer system and structure to advance 4-H priorities.
  • Identify potential organizational partners who have a mutual interest in working together to improve the scope and quality of youth development in the community.
Extension educators with volunteer systems and regional program planning functions are taking the lead in most regions. Program leaders can be a resource to regional teams as they think through appropriate implementation for 2015 and beyond.

We would like to thank all staff that contributed to the development of these materials through field testing, piloting testing, creating materials and reviewing materials over the past three years. This information is included on the acknowledgements page of the toolkit.

Design team leadership: Tamie Bremseth, Becky Harrington and Karyn Santl

Our Youtube channel is growing. We now have 27 videos in our collection, including an undated vintage gem of Joyce Walker and Byron Schneider interviewing Gisela Konopka. (If you know the year, please tell me!)

The channel has playlists for both of our 2014 public symposia, and for a collection of videos made by our inclusion and diversity cohort. Colleen Byrne and Amy Gregoria will be moving our trove of presentation recordings onto this public channel to make it more useful and accessible to our staff and to the public.

Please feel free to watch and use these videos in your work.

Ann Nordby

YD web manager

National 4-H Council is now accepting applications for the annual Youth in Action Award to be presented at National 4-H Council's Legacy Awards in Washington, D.C. on April 23, 2015. The Youth in Action Award is one of the highest honors a 4-H'er can achieve.

The award recognizes one remarkable 4-H'er who exemplifies the life-changing impact of 4-H, a young person who demonstrates personal growth, community impact and project excellence through their 4-H experience.

In addition to this great honor, the Youth in Action Award winner will receive:

  • Scholarship: A $10,000 scholarship for higher education.
  • Public recognition: An all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to be recognized at Council's Legacy Awards on April 23, 2015. Promotion in the winner's hometown media as the national winner.
  • Executive references: Official reference letters from National 4-H Council executives and corporate supporters.
  • A shopping experience: A shopping experience (valued at $1,000) to select attire for the Legacy Awards event.
  • Spokesperson opportunities: Opportunities to serve as an official 4-H youth spokesperson through national media and events.
To qualify, applicants should be a 4-H member or recent alumni, ages 16-21, that represent the diversity and passions of 4-H youth nationwide, demonstrate outstanding leadership, showcase the essence of 4-H positivity and possess a proven ability to engage others. More detailed guidelines can be found at

If you know of an outstanding 4-H member that fits this criteria, please encourage them to apply for this distinguished award.

Application deadline is Jan. 12, 2015. Please visit the Youth in Action Award website for information on the past winners.

If you have questions, please direct them to Rachel Mentzer at

Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

M4-HAVA conference

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Registration for the 2015 Minnesota 4-H Adult Volunteer Association (M4-HAVA) conference is now available online. The theme for this year's conference is "4-H Ties it Together." Developed to expand the knowledge and skills of 4-H volunteers and give leaders new ideas for 4-H projects, with workshop topics ranging from beekeeping to quilting to gardening and caring for pigeons. The conference will take place at the Best Western in Willmar, Minnesota, Feb. 19-21. Early bird rate for M4-HAVA members is $124, including all meals for all three dates, and must be postmarked by Jan. 10. Regular rate for members is $140 (nonmembers, $175).

Molly Frendo

State program director, volunteer systems

On behalf of Minnesota 4-H and the Extension Center for Youth Development, I would like to congratulate Elizabeth (Liz) Carlson of Kandiyohi County and Kaylinn Stormo of South St. Louis County on winning of the 2015 Minnesota 4-H Salute to Excellence awards. Liz and Kaylinn were selected out of a pool of outstanding nominees.

Liz was selected as the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer, an award given to individuals who have spent 10 or more years as a 4-H volunteer. As a volunteer for more than 11 years, Liz has been involved in leadership roles on the Council Board of Directors, provided vision and direction to the County Fashion Review, and helps to lead the Share the Fun program in her county. She has also chaperoned for 4-H Building Leadership & Understanding and at the Minnesota State Fair. 4-H Program Coordinator Krista Lautenschlager described Liz as her "go-to" volunteer who not only motivates and mentors youth, but 4-H parents as well. 4-H parent Janel Schuenke wrote, "Liz Carlson is the most caring, thoughtful and sharing leader who truly makes every child feel safe, supported and valued. She finds creative ways to be sure to include every member, even our many young Cloverbuds, during club elections, meetings, and activities."

Kaylinn was selected as the Volunteer of the Year, an award given to those who have been a 4-H volunteer for 10 years or less. Not only was Kaylinn a 4-H member for 12 years, she has also served as a volunteer since 2006. Kaylinn has been very active in her County Ambassador program which she helped to establish as well as providing leadership to a number of other events including Harvest Fest, 4-H Adventure, and 4-H Tech Club. 4-H Program Coordinator Valerie Coit described Kaylinn as someone who really listens to and understands youth, always treating them with kindness and respect. 4-H member and Ambassador Caden DeRoche shared, "Kaylinn has a way of mentoring that makes youth feel like they are doing the leading. And pretty soon that's what happens - we are leading." He went on to describe how Kaylinn always encourages deeper thought and discussion with youth that really helps them grow.

Both Liz and Kaylinn will be honored at the state level at the 2015 Minnesota 4-H Adult Volunteer Association conference in Willmar, Minnesota. Winners at the state level go on to compete at the regional and national level. Regional and national honorees will be announced in 2015. Please join me in thanking Liz and Kaylinn for their service!

Molly Frendo

State program director, volunteer systems

Quality Matters Online: A self study

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

Changing Adolescent Healthy Living Behavior through Mentoring
Jan. 14, 2015
Online (Brown bag webinar series)

Leadership Matters Online
Introductory week: Feb. 9-16, 2015
Course content: Feb. 9-March 3, 2015
Live webinars: Feb. 17, 24 & March 3, 2015 (hours for each webinar are 9:30-11 a.m. (CST))

Dilemmas in Youth Work Online
Feb. 16 - March 20, 2015
Course content: Feb. 23-March 20
Live webinars: Feb. 23, March 9 & 20, 2015 (hours for each webinar are 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. (CST))

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

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