Programming, Youth

Recognizing Youth’s Efforts

One of the great things I have the opportunity to observe in my role as a youth development educator is how youth grow and develop from year to year. Youth, just like other living things such as plants need a nourishing, supportive, and protective environment. The 4-H youth development program utilizes the “essential elements” research to ensure that a youth development program is met. This means that each young person needs to:


  • Know they are cared about by others: that they belong
  • Feel and believe they are capable and successful: that they have mastery
  • Know they are able to influence people and events: that they have independence
  • Practice helping others: that they can demonstrate generosity.

From research, it was concluded that there are eight critical elements that must be present for positive and effective experiences and opportunities benefiting youth. These eight elements are known as the eight essential elements and are summarized below:

  1. A positive relationship with a caring adult.
  2. A safe emotional and physical environment
  3. An inclusive environment
  4. Engagement in learning
  5. Opportunity for mastery
  6. Opportunity to see oneself as an active participant in the future
  7. Opportunity for self-determination
  8. Opportunity to value and practice service for others
Fair may be over, but chores still need to be done. Here, my daughter McKenzie does chores after school.

The 4-H program uses recognition as one strategy to help youth become more capable and competent, thus creating an opportunity for mastery. In fact, recognition is a huge incentive to promote further learning and can inspire young people to continue participating and learning. 4-H has several ways we recognize youth. One of the most visible is during the county fair, which young receive ribbons and perhaps even trophies. This provides immediate feedback for youth based on the quality of their end product. There is so much more to the 4-H program than the county fair which youth benefit. Youth complete essentially a “record book” which documents the progression of skills and activities youth have learned from completing not only their fair projects, but participation in other 4-H activities throughout the year. Youth also have the opportunity to self-reflect on a variety of accomplishments throughout their 4-H year. The Diamond Clover program’s goal is to provide 4-H members a rich and diverse learning experience and is designed for members of all ages.

It is that time of year, that both the Clay and Fillmore County 4-H programs will be highlighting those 4-H youth who have earned various 4-H awards. If you are in Fillmore County, I encourage you to attend the Amazing Race/4-H Recognition event which will start at 2:00 p.m. on October 28th at the Fillmore County Fairgrounds. Any youth, whether in 4-H or not, will compete in teams of four or less to complete some fun and unique tasks. Following the Amazing Race activity, 4-H’ers will be recognized for their achievements around 3:00 p.m. with an ice cream social. More information can be found at

If you are in Clay County, the annual 4-H Achievement Program will be held Friday, November 2, at 7:00pm at the Fairgrounds.  4-Her’s should bring a dessert to share.

For more information on how to get youth involved in America’s largest youth development organization that empowers nearly six million young people across the U.S., you can check out Nebraska 4-H’s website or contact me at


Celebrate National 4-H Week

For the 75th consecutive year, millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country will be celebrating National 4-H Week during the first full week of October.

4-H alumni around the country are always the first to acknowledge the significant positive impact 4-H had on them as young people; the opportunities and experiences that 4-H4hweek_2017_logo.jpg provides youth empowers them to become true leaders. In fact, research has shown that young people in 4-H are almost four times as likely to contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering andMath (STEM) programs in their free time.

In Nebraska, more than 25,000 youth are enrolled in 4-H and 12,000 volunteers are involved in 4-H. In addition, approximately 56,000 youth participate in Nebraska 4-H school enrichment experiences. One of the most anticipated events of National 4-H Week every year is 4-H National Youth Science Day, which sees hundreds of thousands of youth across the nation taking part in the world’s largest youth-led science challenge. The exciting theme for this year’s challenge is Incredible Wearables.2017-09-29_1343

On Wednesday, Oct. 4, youth will use the engineering design process to build a prototype wearable technology that will gather data to help solve a real-world problem. Wearable technologies are now used in industries around the globe, from education and sport, to health, fashion, entertainment, transportation and communication. To learn more about National Youth Science Day, please visit

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 110 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, find us on Facebook at and on Twitter at For Nebraska 4-H, go to

Uncategorized, Youth

4-H Teaches Life Skills

The 4-H youth development program uses resources of the land-grant university and the time, talent, and dedication of Extension staff, screened and hardworking leaders and volunteers to teach youth life skills. Nebraska 4-H engages youth through 4-H programs and activities by building positive youth relationships between youth and adults and providing needed support for youth to develop their strengths. Through development of positive partnerships and development of strengths, 4-H programs in Nebraska are developing life skills that help youth become competent when they transition from child to adulthood. A skill is a learned ability and life skills are competencies that assist people in functioning well in the environments in which they life.Kick off graphic 2017.jpg

The life skills model for 4-H as developed by Hendricks (1998) is used in Nebraska. This 4-H framework incorporates the four “H’s” of the clover, head, heart, hands and health. The skills are grouped as they follow below:

HEAD. Thinking skills are as broken down as follows: Learning to learn, decision-making, problem solving, critical thinking, and service learning.
Managing skills are as follows: Goal setting, planning/organizing, wise use of resources, keeping records, and resiliency.

HEART. Relating skills are as follows: Communications, cooperation, social skills, conflict resolution, and accepting differences.
Skills that promote caring include: concern for others, empathy, sharing, nurturing, and relationships.

HANDS. Skills that enhance giving are community service/volunteering, leadership, responsibility, and contribution to a group.
Skills that promote working are: marketable/useable skills, teamwork and being self-motivated.

HEALTH. Living skills youth learn include: healthy life-style choices, stress management, disease prevention and personal safety.
Skills that teach youth a sense of being are: self-esteem, self-responsibility, character, managing feelings and self-discipline.

Uncategorized, Youth

4-H Enrollment – OPEN

Hello 4-H Families & anyone interested in learning more about 4-H! We are excited as we embark on a new 4-H programming year! All 4-H families will enroll in clubs and projects through 4HOnline at 4HOnline is a web-based enrollment system that will allow families, parents, leaders and volunteers to enroll or re-enroll in 4-H on your personal computer, mobile device or at local enrollment events hosted in your county.  You’ll be able to complete all of the information necessary to join 4-H online, including 4-H code of conduct forms and health forms.  There will be no paper forms to submit for enrollment.    cropped-n_4h-ext-3c.png

The process is quite simple and the website is very user friendly. It is your responsibility to make sure youth in your family get enrolled by the April 1st deadline and (March 1st for Fillmore County Shooting Sports members). We are happy to assist you with your enrollments and please call our office if you have questions with enrolling.

Contact Information: Fillmore County Extension at (402) 759-3712 or Clay County Extension at (402) 762-3644

Uncategorized, Youth

4-H Shout Out Campaign

One of the most impactful programs I participated as a youth was 4-H. I learned responsibility, leadership skills, life skills that help me today and confidence. Recently, National 4-H launched a national campaign to highlight the accomplishments of our young people. Details of this campaign are highlighted and it is encouraged to take part and share those accomplishments through social media.


Every day, millions of kids across America are leading positive changes — large and small — in their lives, schools and communities. But today’s youth don’t get credit often enough for the progress they are making or the good things they are doing.

Nebraska 4-H Youth Development within the University of Nebraska—Lincoln believes that every child has valuable strengths and given the chance, can grow into confident, responsible and compassionate young people who have the power to realize their dreams and lead change… who learn and lead by doing… True Leaders.

This week, 4-H is launched a national campaign focused on highlighting the accomplishments of young people. In the community, you may see the campaign in action through television and radio public service announcements, special events, social media advertising, and more.

It is also strongly encouraged to participate in this special campaign by taking time this week to “Shout Out” through social media the amazing and unique things that your 4-H youth are accomplishing in your community. Here are a few simple steps to follow to help you recognize youth:

1) Create social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Share in your post a photo or video of youth. Tag others pictured if possible.
2) Add Hashtags. Be sure to add the hashtags #TrueLeaders AND #NE4H (specific to Nebraska) to your post.
3) Post and Post Often!

More information can be found on the Nebraska 4-H web site. Our goal is to inspire 100,000 shout outs for kids across the country. For every Shout Out, there’s one more person being a champion on behalf of a young person, and one more kid being recognized for the great thing they are doing.

Thank you for helping 4-H “Shout Out” true leaders! Your support here in Nebraska is greatly appreciated!

Uncategorized, Youth

4-H Youth Development Impacts

The mission of Nebraska 4-H is to empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Nebraska 4-H strives to help young people achieve their greatest potential by introducing high-quality youth development experiences into the lives of Nebraska youth and families. Engagement in 4-H results in youth who are making positive decisions related to their health and their future goals. Further, they are advocates and leaders determined to leave a lasting impact on Nebraska communities. By taking part in Nebraska 4-H, youth are preparing for a successful future by focusing on 4-H Science, Agricultural Literacy, Career Development and College Readiness, Citizenship and Leadership, and Healthy Living.

4-H’ers have planted a community garden and given the fresh produce to the local food pantry and a local Senior Center.

In Nebraska, 1 in 3 age-eligible youth across all 93 counties are enrolled in 4-H, for a total enrollment reaching approximately 140,000 youth. Nearly 56,000 youth participated in school enrichment experiences. Over 25,000 Nebraska youth were members of a 4-H club. Nearly 8,000 youth and adults participated in 4-H camping programs. 12,000 volunteers share their time and resources with Nebraska 4-H.

Locally, in 2015 we had 204 youth enrolled in the Fillmore County 4-H program and nearly 400 youth were reached through school enrichment or agricultural literacy based programs. February is Nebraska 4-H Month and ALL youth and their families are invited to attend the Annual 4-H Kick-Off celebration on February 21st from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Fillmore Co. fairgrounds to learn more about 4-H and kick off the 2016 year. kickoff2016The event will showcase 4-H projects, information on the upcoming year, games and 4-H fun. All attendees will be invited to participate in multiple mini projects including fishing, animal science, face painting and more! Did I mention there will be inflatables? As well as, pictures with Lil’ Green and prizes galore! Concessions available.


Nebraska 4-H Month!

February is Nebraska 4-H Month, and Fillmore County is celebrating the 4-H youth who have made an impact on the community, and are stepping up to the challenges of a complex and changing world. On February 22nd from 5-7:00 p.m. at the Fillmore Co. Fairgrounds, 4-H youth will connect with the community by participating in the 4-H Kick Off Celebration.NE4hmonth15logo

This free event will showcase a few projects members can participate in addition to recognizing seniors who received a 4-H scholarship. This event is open to any youth and their families. If you’ve seen the 4-H Clover and wondered what it represents, this is a chance to stop by and find out more! All attendees are invited to participate in multiple mini projects including fishing, animal science, face painting and more. There will also be inflatables, a special visit by Lil’ Green and prizes galore. Concessions will also be available by Jill’s Sweet Shop.

Recent findings from Tufts University’s 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development indicate that young people in 4-H are three times more likely to contribute to their communities than youth not participating in 4-H. Notably, the Tufts research discovered that the structured learning, encouragement and adult mentoring that 4-H’ers receive play a vital role in helping them actively contribute to their communities. In Fillmore County, 219 4-H members and approximately 100 volunteers are involved in 4‑H.

4-H youth are a living breathing, culture-changing revolution for doing the right thing, breaking through obstacles and pushing our country forward by making a measurable difference right where they live. Learn how you can Join the Revolution of Responsibility, or contact the Nebraska Extension Office in Fillmore County at (402) 402-759-3712 or by visiting the website at Check out our FaceBook .