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.


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