4-H Update: Local 4-H youth went to Denver

Published 10:00 am Sunday, February 26, 2017

4-H Update by Megan Thorson

Megan Thorson is a County 4-H program coordinator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service for Freeborn County.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, between 2015 and 2020 there will only be enough new U.S. graduates with expertise in agriculture, food, renewable natural resources or the environment to fill 61 of the expected average annual job openings.

Megan Thorson

Megan Thorson

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Freeborn County 4-H offers youth many opportunities throughout the year for agriculture awareness, career exploration and college and workforce preparedness. The Extension Center for Youth Development has developed a five-year strategic plan with three target areas that are being tracked and measured to help demonstrate the impact 4-H is having in the lives of Minnesota youth. In January, Freeborn County 4-H youth were able to attend a special trip to the National Western Stock Show in Denver with many educational stops along the way. The trip focused on two of the center’s targeted areas, which include 70 percent of youth participating in 4-H youth development going into higher education. Eighty percent of youth participating in 4-H youth development will be prepared with 21st century learning skills to communicate effectively, build connections, positive choices and make contributions that help them excel in their education and in their workplace.

With the help from buyers at the annual 4-H livestock auction during the Freeborn County Fair, Freeborn County 4-H youth were able to take this first annual trip to Denver to the National Western Stock Show. 4-Hers got to experience the USDA meat animal research center in Clay Center, Nebraska; tour Colorado State University and its research farm; visit and tour the stock show; tour the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Lookout Mountain and tour and experience the Denver Mint. Attended by 32 youths, the five-day, four-night trip included four adult chaperones and seven parents. Sixty percent of participants responding to a qualtrics evaluation felt this trip increased their knowledge about higher education opportunities and careers very well to extremely well. Eighty percent of the participants strongly agreed they built connections with other 4-Hers or adults, 60 percent strongly agreed they had to make positive choices, 90 percent strongly agreed they used responsibility and 70 percent somewhat agreed they learned or utilized communication skills.

The trip offered 4-Hers a multitude of livestock and agriculture educational opportunities in addition to great scenery, like the Rocky Mountains. We are focusing on the center’s plans and offering 4-Hers opportunities to experience higher education and utilizing their 21st century learning skills.

If you would like more information about this trip, the 4-H youth development strategic plans or 4-H in general, contact the Freeborn County Extension Office at 377-5660.