18 County 4-H’ers learn to lead at 4-H BLU

More than 500 youth learn leadership skills at the 2015 4-H Building Leadership & Understanding conferences

Brainerd (2/April /2015) – In February and March, more than 500 youth from across Minnesota gathered to participate in the annual 4-H Building Leadership and Understanding (BLU) youth leadership conferences. The five regional two-day BLU leadership events were filled with exciting and fun activities that help youth learn and practice valuable leadership skills that they will be able to take back with them to their counties and communities, and use throughout their lives.


This year’s conference theme was, “Tune into You,” which focused on understanding what makes you unique, self-acceptance, and accepting the uniqueness of others. The topic was selected by the 4-H state ambassadors based on a survey from youth at previous events.  Activities guided participants in exploring self-awareness, resisting peer pressure, and identifying personal values. There was also plenty of time dedicated to meeting new friends and having fun, with skits, singing, dancing and games designed and facilitated by the ambassadors to help youth participants get to know one another and have a good time.

Using a youth-teaching-youth model, the 4-H BLU leadership conferences are developed and led by 4-H State Ambassadors, Minnesota 4-H youth who have been selected to serve as spokespeople for 4-H, and to educate youth and adults about the importance of youth development, leadership, citizenship, service, teamwork, and other invaluable life skills.

“A core element of 4-H programming is helping young people to realize their own leadership potential in society, “ said Jacquie Lonning, Extension Youth Development Citizenship &  Leadership state program director. “Through these experiences, we give youth the opportunity to learn about themselves, their peers, and realize their potential in making positive changes in their communities at home, locally, and nationally.”

“Youth who attend BLU bring back valuable leadership skills to all of Crow Wing County. They use these skills not only in 4-H, but they also bring them back into their classrooms, other organizations and their communities.” said Courtney Johnson, Crow Wing County 4-H Program Coordinator.

To learn more about 4-H in Crow Wing County, contact 4-H Program Coordinator Courtney Johnson, at 218-824-1069 and visit the website, www.4-H.umn.edu.

About Extension 4-H: 4-H is a youth development program of the University of Minnesota Extension.  Available for youth grades k-1 year after high school, 4-H’ers participate in hands-on learning experiences in STEM, citizenship & leadership, animal science, creative arts and much more. Through this unique learn-by-doing process, youth obtain essential life skills such as problem solving, decision making, coping and communicating that help them succeed in their school, college, community and career. Research shows that youth who participate in 4-H have better grades and are more emotionally engaged with school, are more than twice as likely to be civically active and contribute to their communities, and are 47% less likely to have risky or problem behaviors.


2015 4-H Rube Goldberg Challenge, sign up by May 15

4-H’ers, get your teams together and sign up by May 15 for the 2015 4-H Rube Goldberg Design Challenge: Learn more here: www.4-H.umn.edu/events/engineering-design-challenge/index.html

If you are not a 4-H member you can enroll easily at: https://mn.4honline.com

There is no fee to join 4-H. When you enroll you will be asked to select a club. You can find a list of county clubs here:  http://www3.extension.umn.edu/sites/default/files/download/4-H_Clubs-in-the-Area.pdf

And you will be asked to enroll in at least one project. Find a list of projects here: http://www.extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-H/

For the Rube Goldberg Design Challenge, you’ll want to be sure to enroll in the Engineering Design project.

If you have any questions about this program or the enrollment process, contact the Extension 4-H office, 218-824-1065 or our 4-H Program Coordinator, Courtney Johnson, at 218-824-1069.

Crow Wing County 4-H Project Bowl Teams Gear Up for Competition

4-H youth from across the county are studying hard and getting their buzzer fingers ready for statewide 4-H Project Bowl competitions to start in March. According to the Minnesota 4-H Website, Project Bowl competitions are the second most attended event during the 4-H year. Patterned after the golden-oldie television show “College Bowl”, it challenges teams of 3-6 youth on their knowledge of 4-H project areas: Dairy, Dog, General Livestock, Horse, Poultry, Rabbit, Wildlife and this year in Lama too.

There are four Regional Project Bowls, followed by the State Project Bowl. Each has two divisions: Junior (grades 3 – 8) and Senior (grades 4 – 4-H graduation). Regional winners advance to the State Project Bowl and state winners in dairy, general livestock, horse, poultry and wildlife go on to national contests.

Crow Wing County will be well represented in March with more than seven teams, having both senior and junior groups represented. The first regional competition will be held March 7th in Foley, and the State competition is scheduled for April 11.

For more information about how to join 4-H or how to become a volunteer, contact Courtney Johnson, 4-H Program Coordinator at 218-824-1069

4-H Poultry Club trip to Iowa

The 4-H Poultry Club is a young and vibrant club within Crow Wing County 4-H. A goal the club set this year was to go on an educational trip. The group planned a fundraiser and through their efforts, were able to accomplish their goal by traveling to the Master Cup Poultry Show in Webster City, Iowa. 4-H Poultry Club member and Secretary Abby Fleming recaps the club’s trip.


The Crow Wing County Poultry Club went to the Master Cup Poultry Show in Webster City, Iowa. We left Friday morning and got down there about 6 hours later. We went down and stayed in a hotel for the weekend.  We went swimming and hot-tubbing!

On our way down our club leader had a surprise for us. We stopped at Dwayne Urch’s hatchery. He is a well-known breeder and has over a hundred breeds! We got to see how he has his barn set up, lots of different breeds of birds, and his incubators! He showed us his different awards that he has gotten over the years too. That was one of everyone’s favorite parts of the trip!

While we were down there we got to do multiple fun things, one of them being  taking a tour of Murray McMurray Hatchery! We got to see all of their different incubators, which were huge! They showed us how they sort the birds, male from female. The tour guide explained how they do their biosecurity there to eliminate the possibilities of diseases getting into their hatchery. He explained how they ship the birds out and they were all very friendly!

Another thing they had for the youth/4H down there were workshops. They had three different workshops for us. The first one that we went to was about bathing birds. They taught us how to properly clean your birds, when to clean them, and what products to use. The second one was about eggs. They taught about the candling and grading of eggs. Lastly, on the third one, they taught us about the digestive system of a chicken. They had a couple birds there that they had actually dissected already for us to see up close.

We got to meet multiple of the top breeders from around the country while we were there. A few of us even bought birds while too! The breeders that were down there were very friendly and were more than willing to talk to us and teach us what they could! It was a great experience and we all would like to go again next year!

Abby Fleming
CWC Poultry Club Secretary

If you are interested in joining 4-H or the Poultry Club, please contact Courtney Johnson, Crow Wing County 4-H Program Coordinator at 218-824-1069.  

SOAR Challenge discovery meeting a great success!

Seventeen 4-H youth along with 3 community agriculture/water/forestry mentors attended the SOAR (Science of Agriculture Response) Challenge discovery meeting last night, held at the Brainerd Public Utilities building in Brainerd. After a brief introduction to the challenge, presented by CWC 4-H program coordinator Courtney Johnson, youth explored topic areas and brainstormed questions for potential investigation by teams.

Teams will be comprised of 3 to 4 youth members who will determine the agricultural problem they wish to explore and will develop a response or solution to that question. Teams will be aided by volunteer mentors who bring agricultural and scientific expertise to guide the team process.

Courtney Johnson with SOAR youth particpants.


SOAR team brainstorming session.

For more information on the SOAR Challenge visit the website: http://www.extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-H/events/science-of-ag-response/

To participate, contact the CWC Extension office at 218-824-1065. This challenge is open to all youth grades 6 and above.

SOAR Challenge kickoff meeting, 6:30 p.m., Nov. 6

Nov 6, SOAR Challenge kickoff meeting, 6:30 p.m., Brainerd Public Utilities

Minnesota 4-H Science of Agriculture Response Challenge

A team challenge event for youth: Find solutions to real ag-related issues in your community and present your results on the U of M campus

The new 4-H Science of Agriculture Response Challenge (SOAR) provides a hands-on learning experience to inspire the next generation of agriculture leaders in Minnesota. Youth teams will partner with local expert mentors to develop science-based responses to agriculture-related issues they have identified in their communities.

Youth can explore issues in the areas of agronomy, animal husbandry, soil science, ag business, rural finance, food science, engineering and more. Youth are encouraged to be creative in exploring and developing solutions.

Teams can be cross-county. Teams will work together starting in autumn 2014, and make formal presentations on the St. Paul campus in June, 2015. Each member of the top three teams will receive a university scholarship of $500 – $1,000.

Interested? Not a 4-H member? Join at no cost: https://mn.4honline.com

For more information on SOAR, visit: http://www.extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-H/events/science-of-ag-response/

Or call Courtney Johnson, Crow Wing County 4-H Program Coordinator at 218-824-1069.

Nat’l 4-H Week: #iam4h social media campaign

Nat’l 4-H Week: #iam4h social media campaign

Crow Wing County 4-H Program Coordinator

Crow Wing County 4-H Program Coordinator, Courtney Johnson

If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, please join us in supporting the National 4-H Week social media campaign, #iam4h.Here’s how: On Sunday night or Monday, Oct. 5-6, tweet or post on social media using the hashtags #iam4h and #mn4h. If you can, include a picture of yourself holding the sign shown here and tag it #iam4h.

You can download the sign here: http://z.umn.edu/iam4h

Anyone who supports 4-H can do this – you don’t have to be a member or alumnus. We want to get this trending on Twitter, so we need lots of people to take part.

Research has proven that participation in 4-H has a significant positive impact on young people. Recent findings from the Tufts University 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that, when compared to their peers, young people in 4-H are:
• Nearly four times more likely to contribute to their communities,
• Two times more likely to pursue healthy behaviors like, and
• Two times more likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in the out-of-school time.

In Crow Wing County more than 325 4-H youth and 100 volunteers from the community are involved in 4 H. On September 23 the Crow Wing County Commissioners signed a proclamation that states October 5-11, 2014, as National 4 H Week in Crow Wing County.

About 4-H:
4-H, the nation’s largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower six million young people through the 109 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower one million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Learn more about 4-H at http://www.extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-H/, find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/4-h and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/4H.

New 4-H Year – enrollment opens September 16!

If you are wishing to become a NEW member of Crow Wing County 4-H, you can enroll online at https://mn.4honline.com. If you are re-entolling, just update your existing account.

Things to remember:

New members – make sure to select a club and at least one project area to complete your enrollment. Members may not be Independent until after two years of participation in a 4-H club. Enrollment is free of charge and is open to youth grades K-13.

Here is a list of clubs in Crow Wing County: 4-H_Clubs-in-the-Area.

Online Enrollment – Enrollment for the new 4-H year opens September 16. The process is quick and easy; even families with multiple youth can be done in 10 minutes or less. Re-enrolling early ensures that critical communications will be received, especially as it relates to deadlines and project-specific information.

Part of enrolling for youth, parents, and adult volunteers will be agreeing to the Minnesota 4-H code of conduct, which is available for review in its entirety, along with other policy and authorization statements at http://www.extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-h/policies/

For more information on the 4-H youth development program and to visit the project selection guide please visit the state 4-H page: http://www.extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-H/

New this fall: all re-enrolling adult volunteers will be required to complete “Safety of Minors” training in order to comply with policy adopted by the University of Minnesota in June 2013. This training will be available online via 4HOnline when you re- enroll. In some cases, it may be offered in a face-to- face setting.

If you are not yet an adult volunteer but are willing to share your time and talents to make a difference, 4-H needs you! The first step to becoming an adult 4-H volunteer is to complete the volunteer application process, plus the “Safety of Minors” training. Learn more at http://www.extension.umn.edu/youth/mn4-h/volunteer/

Volunteer applicants are not approved until all aspects of the application process, including the “Safety of Minors” training, are completed. See next article for more details on the training.

For more local information, read our Clover Update. http://www3.extension.umn.edu/sites/default/files/download/CRO_SepOct_2014.pdf


4-H and MN State Fair in the NY Times Home section today

Your Grandma’s Maker Faire


“But then Minnesota is also a place where rural teenagers sew matching costumes for themselves and their llamas — the herder might be the Statue of Liberty, the llama, a Fourth of July fireworks display — and then promenade on the catwalk. Correction: the llama-walk.” Read on at the link below:


Minnesota 4-H Clover Update, Sept-Oct 2014

Learn more about the 4-H program in our bi-monthly newsletter. Please contact the Crow Wing County 4-H office with questions: 218-824-1065. To enroll in 4-H, visit: https://mn.4honline.com



Celebrate Ag & Food Day
4-H families & alumni are invited to join a celebration of Minnesota agriculture and food at a special UMN Gopher football game on September 20. Discounted tickets can be purchased at z.umn.edu/umafd2014. Join us before the game from 9:00–11:00 a.m. for activities outside the stadium including a tailgate party featuring Minnesota brats and cheese. To RSVP or ask questions, contact Erin Kelly-Collins at erinkc@umn.edu.

National Youth Science Day  Rockets to the rescue!
On October 8, 4-H’ers across the country will become scientists for a day for the 7th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day!In light of the recent natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, this year’s event will have one mission: design and build an aerodynamic food transportation device that can deliver a payload of nutritious food to disaster victims.

Youth Science Day is an exciting, interactive learning experience that engages thousands of youth in conducting the National Science Experiment. The goal is to spark an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This year’s Rockets to the Rescue experiment will help youth learn engineering concepts, develop math skills, learn about nutrition and help solve a relevant, global issue.

STEM is the wave of the future. Experts credit technological innovation with almost half of U.S. economic growth over the past 50 years, and nearly all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in STEM. But America is falling behind. Today, the United States ranks 27th among developed nations with college students receiving science or engineering degrees. Only 1% of 4th graders, 2% of 8th graders and 1% of 12th graders are deemed “advanced” in science. Only 45% of high school graduates in 2011 were ready for college work in math and 30% were ready in science.
Learn more information and order kits today at http://www.4-h.org/4-h-national-youth-science-day/. If you are interested in participating or have questions, contact your county 4-H Program Coordinator.

Military Extension Internship
A partnership between the Cooperative Extension System and the Department of Defense has provided the funding for a national, military childcare/youth development internship program. Through this initiative, students and recent graduates have the opportunity to develop professional skills in childcare and youth development through practical work experience with military children, youth and families.

Interns are placed on military installations across the United States with limited opportunities for international placement. They will receive an hourly wage or stipend and assistance with travel expenses.

The program is accepting applications for the Spring 2015 class until September 30. More information and application materials can be found at http://www.ydae.purdue.edu/military/. Questions may be referred to: Jessica Wandless atjwandles@purdue.edu.