8 Freeborn County 4-H’ers participate in leadership event

Published 8:13 am Sunday, May 5, 2013

More than 450 youth statewide participated in the annual 4-H Building Leadership and Understanding youth leadership conferences in February and March.

The three regional two-day leadership events were filled with exciting and fun activities that helped 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, according to a press release.

Locally the following 4-H’ers attended the event:

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Francesca Eckstrom and Hannah Savelkoul of the Twin Lakes Club; Malory Mattson, Morgan Grunzke, Katie Smith and Toni Chicos of the Conger Club; Breanna Brown of the Riceland Club; and Marshall Pederson of the Hayward Club.

Using a youth-teaching-youth model, the 4-H 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.

“One of 4-H’s priorities is to provide citizenship and leadership experiences that guide youth in building relationships, developing communication techniques and strengthening organizational skills,” said Jacquie Lonning, Extension 4-H citizenship state program manager. “Through these experiences, youth find the leaders within themselves and are able to make a positive impact in their club, home, school or community.”

This year’s conference theme was “respect,” which was selected by the 4-H ambassadors because they believe respect is a big issue for youth today. Key ideas were that to respect others, youth need to learn to respect themselves, and that understanding respect is important to be able to succeed in college and careers. Youth at the conferences participated in activities designed to guide them in exploring how they define and understand respect, reflecting on when they felt respected/disrespected, learning what respect means to others, and discussing what skills may be useful to learn how to treat themselves and others with respect.

Eckstrom attended and said: “it was a fun new experience. It was cool to meet kids from other towns and hear their stories about their lives.”

To learn more about 4-H in Freeborn County contact 4-H program coordinators Amy Wadding or Megan Thorson, at 507-377-5660 or visit the website, www.4-H.umn.edu.