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From the director

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Dear YD colleagues,

I would like to invite staff to join me for a webinar on Wednesday, July 30, from 2:30-3:30 p.m. to learn about the Youth Development results of the Employee Engagement Survey. A key strategy in our 5-year plan is to increase the satisfaction of our employees by fostering an organization of professionalism, collegiality, inclusion, and high standards. The results from the engagement survey are very important and give us insight into specific areas that we can work on together to improve the health, and productivity of our work environment for all staff. During the webinar, I will share some highlights from the survey, including areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Most importantly, we will devote time for you to ask questions, provide feedback, and share initial ideas about how we can best work together to create solutions.

You can join the Youth Development Engagement Survey staff webinar via this link:

The webinar will be recorded so that staff who are unable to participate will be able to view it at a later time.


Dorothy McCargo Freeman

Associate dean & state 4-H director

Not ready to try video? Why not try using audio? Maybe you need to get a message out to a committee and want them to be able to hear the message as well as see it. Need a radio program or public service announcement for 4-H Week? Will you be away at county fair and you know you won't be able to call home to say good night to the kids? Prep an audio message ahead of time. Maybe even read a book to them! Whatever the situation, you can record, edit and send audio files right from your computer! (Note that the blog happens to contain an audio version.)

Note: The Youth Development Learning Technologies Team uses this Blog to educate colleagues on distance learning technologies which helps increase staff interest, knowledge and skills through ideas and tools to facilitate 21st Century teaching and learning.

Read more about these tools and how to access them, plus a few words about the development process and some great examples, in the youth development distance technology team's YD tech bytes blog.

Eric Vogel
Extension educator, Educational Design & Development

Infographics are starting to pop up everywhere. Take this example here and here and here. When it comes to sharing our data, educators are starting to understand that creative methods will draw attention to what we are saying by creating a story.

The problem with infographics is that the very technical ones require the use of a graphic designer, and even these pros can mess it up by focusing more on the image than what the data should convey. (Spoiler: don't use an infographic unless you know exactly what point you want to share.)

My new favorite tool allows infographics to be designed without fancy graphic design software. 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.) Check out the infographic Shipi Kankane designed using Piktochart for her YD tip on the First Year Member experience.

I recently used this tool with the quality statewide team. I shared some information from our quality monitoring data to let quality contacts know where observations are taking place around the state. The whole piece took about an hour to complete once I had figured out how the tool worked.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Sam Grant
Extension educator for program evaluation

Three Extension educator positions are now posted.

Each full-time position will provide educational leadership to the full range of 4-H Youth Development programs in a multi-county region; work in collaboration with other Extension educators to facilitate adult learning programs, connect with faculty and staff at the Extension Center for Youth Development; and develop relationships with Extension staff and community partners to support 4-H youth and adult learning programs and scholarship.

Locations of the positions:
In regional Extension offices - Moorhead or Crookston; Mankato or Rochester; and Marshall.

Required qualifications:
A completed Master's degree at time of appointment and at least two years of post-degree professional experience in a youth development field.

Application deadline:
August 15, 2014 (positions will remain open until filled.)

Learn more about these positions and apply, or call 612-624-3717

Colleen Sanders
Search committee chair

Welcome Dr. Joshua Rice

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Dr. Joshua Rice, Youth Development Extension specialist in science of agriculture, started his position July 1, 2014. Josh earned his bachelor of science in animal and veterinary science, master of science in agriculture, and doctorate of philosophy in human and community development from West Virginia University. Prior to joining University of Minnesota Extension, Josh taught agricultural sciences and acted as FFA adviser at Southern High School in Annapolis, Maryland.

Josh grew up on his family's cattle, horse and hay farm in Morgantown, West Virginia and was a member of 4-H for 13 years and also a member of the National FFA Association. He and his wife Andrea live in St. Paul. Josh is located in 405 Coffey Hall. Please join me in welcoming Josh to his new role.

Jennifer Skuza
Assistant dean

Culturally Responsive Youth Work Matters
Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014
9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Minnwest Technology Campus
Life Center Auditorium, 1800 18th St NE, Willmar

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

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

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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