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Dear YD colleagues,

Last week I attended the 2015 National 4-H Leadership meeting. This year's theme was, "Growing 4-H's Reach and Relevance by Strengthening Our Work Together." The focus was on how 4-H program leaders, National 4-H Headquarters and National 4-H Council can work together to be more successful and innovative as we retain our base and engage more young people in 4-H.

Over the three days, we worked on strengthening relationships and communications amongst leaders of 4-H at state and national levels; identifying compelling opportunities of national importance to 4-H to chart a course for deploying individual and collective power; and developing an implementation consensus plan to align with roles, reduce barriers and increase incentives in order to fulfill the compelling national opportunities.

One of the important issues we identified was "Inclusivity: to overcome institutional structures and systems to diversify programs which reflect the demographics in each state."

This issue is one we are already working on as one of the three targets we identified in the Extension Center for Youth Development's five-year strategic plan.

In response to this national effort, the north central program leaders have organized a planning team to develop the 1st Generation 4-H Strategic Planning Retreat: "Engaging First Generation 4-H Youth and Families." Each state has been asked to identify a team of 3-4 individuals to participate in the retreat in April. The group will work together to examine how we are (and aren't) prepared organizationally to successfully engage these new audiences.

The objectives are:

  • To create a foundation of understanding that we all have bias that influences how we make sense of and engage in the world.
  • To provide a "no blame" framework for recognizing and expecting bias - we have hard wired attitudes in our subconscious that exist and may work against our explicit beliefs and attitudes.
  • To experience that implicit bias can be influenced and changed through active reflection and new experiences.
By the end of the retreat, participants will:
  • Identify a shared purpose regarding the initiative.
  • Articulate their personal and organizational values, biases and stakes in the issue.
  • Understand the challenge more deeply and from multiple perspectives - What is the current state of the work in our region/states?
  • Identify, and commit to, specific experiments (individually and collectively) to make progress on the challenge.
We are in the process of identifying the individuals to represent Minnesota 4-H at the retreat. Our team will focus on how we can better engage 1st generation youth in 4-H club programming.

This important effort by National 4-H provides an exciting opportunity to examine how we can make progress on the critical goal of engaging new youth in 4-H, in Minnesota and across the country.

We will provide updates and share progress on this effort as it develops.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

The staff development team will be featuring an article on staff development in YD Update on the first Thursday of each month. This feature is designed to provide additional information on staff development, which can be used in your role as a youth development professional. This month we are focusing on strengths at the U. Did you know that the University of Minnesota is committed to student success by using a strengths approach on campus to enhance student engagement? By working with students as they focus on building their individual talents into strengths, students can thrive and develop to their full potential in academics, career, leadership, relationships, and engagement. The website is designed for University of Minnesota-Twin Cities students, staff, faculty, parents and guests to learn more about the Strengths at the U: Creating a Strengths-Based Undergraduate Experience Initiative that explores ways to get involved and provides resources for helping individuals develop and apply their talents. The resource page for faculty/staff is full of resources that include activities you can use with teams and groups, additional trainings, books, and websites with additional information. Thanks to Margo Herman for sharing this resource.

Nancy Hegland

Program leader

The University of Idaho Extension 4-H Youth Development program recently hosted an online professional development conference which provided eight different topics including interdependence, using the new 4-H career exploration curriculum, new faces of 4-H volunteers, teens as mentors, 4-H healthy clubs community level indicators for positive youth development, and enlivening biosecurity and quality assurance training. Each webinar is 1.5 hours. All are available to view on the eXtension web site. The recordings can be found at

If you conduct a search for "from your desk virtual conference" a listing of all eight webinars will show up with links to the recordings. Click on the "watched recording" when you participate in the webinar via the Learn site, so Idaho is able to track participation from each state.

If you would like the full description for each webinar, please contact Nancy Hegland at

Nancy Hegland

Program leader

4-H professionals are invited to participate in a national e-academy focusing on the skills teens develop through participating in 4-H leadership and citizenship opportunities. The dates are April 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29 with sessions at 12 noon and 2 p.m. (EST) each day. The purpose of E-academy is to inform and educate staff in aspects of teen leadership roles and citizenship. Topics will include teen leadership opportunities, the role of civic education in 4-H, reaching new audiences in these areas, skills developed through intentional civic engagement and service opportunities, and understanding and engaging in your world. Pre-registration will be required for each session. There are no fees for participating in the E-Academy.

All webcasts will be found on the 4-H webcast portal:

Additional information will be shared as it becomes available. For further information please contact Doug Swanson, National program leader, 4-H National Headquarters at

The most recent social and emotional learning issue brief, "Intentional Practices to Support Social & Emotional Learning" is now available online. This series of issue briefs is designed to help people understand, connect and champion social and emotional learning in a variety of settings and from a variety of perspectives. See all SEL issue briefs.

Kate Walker

Associate Extension professor

The Journal of Youth Development is seeking submissions for a special issue on, "The Promotion of Character through Youth Development Programs." Both submissions of regular length (up to 5,000 words, prepared in accordance with current APA style requirements) and shorter, "brief report" submissions (up to 2,000 words, prepared in accordance with current APA style requirements) will be considered. The latter submissions are intended for reports of preliminary or pilot work. Both senior and junior scholars are urged to submit their work for review.

Submissions must be received electronically by May 15, 2015 (by 5 p.m. EST). Submissions should be sent to the editorial office of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at

Learn more.

YD in the news

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  • 4-H Club wraps up final touches for FIRST Robotics Competition Game

    Featured on the front page of the Isanti County News, members of the Teens 'N Technology Isanti County 4-H club are gearing up to compete in the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition Game. Read the full article.

  • 4-H ambassadors lead cloverbuds

    Freeborn County 4-H Program Coordinator Megan Thorson authors this article about the Freeborn County Ambassador program. Through training and service ambassadors develop knowledge, skills, attitudes and aspirations related to leadership, global citizenship and civic engagement. Read the full article.

  • 4-H'ers learn the art of sewing at quilt retreat

    Led by 4-H program coordinators MaryAnn Anderson of Lac qui Parle County and Jodi Hintzen of Douglas County, the Best of the West Regional 4-H Quilt Retreat was held Jan. 10-11. The retreat introduced the art of quilting to youth, fostered fellowship among 4-H members and introduced STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) concepts inherent in quilting. 4-H members and adults attended from Big Stone, Douglas, Grant, Lac qui Parle, Pope, Stevens and west Otter Tail counties. Read the full article.

  • Scandia 4-H club wins award

    Mere months after its formation, Scandia's Soaring Eagles 4-H Club was named best of the best at a statewide conference. Members of the Soaring Eagles received the Outstanding Blue Ribbon Club Award at the Minnesota 4-H Adult Volunteer Association's (M4-HAVA's) annual conference, held Feb. 19-21 in Willmar. Read the full article.

  • The passion is still there for ol' 4-Hers

    At the Minnesota 4-H Foundation's 'Celebration of Agriculture,' the donations, recollections and accolades flow. Read the full article.

2015 Research to Practice Series at the Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health Annual Conference

University of Minnesota Extension Children, Youth & Family Consortium
Research to Practice Series
April 28
DECC in Duluth

Many of us are creating trauma-sensitive practices in our work with clients, students, organizations and communities. We have varied approaches to this work, and a great deal of expertise working in different settings and with different populations. What can we learn from one another? What are the most effective practices and how can they be used?

Join other professionals for this day-long training and engage with one another in structured small and large group conversations. Presenters will share their own best practices within a variety of settings and communities, and also facilitate these conversations in order to capture the expertise in the room and move the group forward in our trauma-sensitive work. Conversations will be shared with participants following the training, and we will explore opportunities for creating a trauma-sensitive learning community.

Find more information on the CYFC website.
Read or print the event flyer.
Register now on the MACMH website. This event is part of the MACMH annual conference.

Please note: Registration for these workshops requires attending the entire 3-workshop series. To reserve your spot, select each of the workshops below during your conference registration.

Workshop #41

  • What Does it Mean to Be "Trauma-Sensitive" in Our Work? Engage with colleagues to share definitions, practices and wisdom.
  • Healing Through Relationships -- with Individuals, Organizations, Communities
Workshop #55
  • Healing Through Self Care: How to Maintain Our Humanity in Difficult Situations
Workshop #69
  • Healing Through Engagement: Partnering in Thoughtful Program Development and Evaluation
  • Trainings, Toolkits and Other Trauma-Sensitive Resources: Learn What They Are and How to Use Them

Sharon Powell and Jennifer Garbow, University of Minnesota Extension educators, will provide an overview about money management in transitioning families in this short webinar.

Participants will:

  • Examine how family finances evolve before, during, and after a family transition
  • Identify ways families can protect themselves financially
  • Discuss common financial pitfalls parents may experience during a family transition
Date: March 24, 2015 (recording will be available on our website after the live event)
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Cost: $10


Quality Matters Online: A self study
Learn about the essential components of a high-quality youth program and how to create environments that are positive places for young people to develop. In this basics class, participants will learn about the current research that helps us define quality and begin understanding how to measure and improve it.

Mentorship (re)explained...
March 11
We will pull apart some myths, as well as look at the latest research and best practices in an interactive and thought-provoking session that will challenge the way you think about mentoring. Participants will gain knowledge about mentorship to help strengthen current programs and/or develop a new program. Register and learn more.

Youth Work Regional Forum
Social and Emotional Learning: From understanding to action

April 23
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
  • Social and Emotional Learning: From understanding to action
  • Lunch and networking
  • Breakout workshops

Exploring 4-H: Hands-on Science
May 13
It has been found that youth who participate in science activities outside the classroom are more likely to become comfortable with science. If you are looking for some fun hands-on science, engineering and technology related activities this webinar will provide you with lesson plans and resources to enhance the programming of new and experienced staff or volunteers. Register and learn more.

Youth Programs as Powerful Settings for Social and Emotional Learning
May 15
Reed Larson, Lisa Bouillion Diaz and Natalie Rusk
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 and learn more.

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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