Nebraska Extension 4-H Volunteer Newsletter - April 2018

In the April Spotlight!

  • Nebraska National 4-H Congress

  • Club: Lead up to Career Portfolios

  • Grab & Go: Sit. Stay. Dog Project.

  • Contest: Hippology

  • Livestock & Horse Skillathon & Quiz Bowl

  • Determining Personal Colors

  • Personal Management

  • Grazing Livestock Systems

Nebraska National 4-H Congress

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The history of the National 4-H Congress goes back more than eighty years. An educational tour to Chicago was the forerunner to what would eventually become known as National 4-H Congress. This annual tour was held in the Union Stock Yards during the International Livestock Exposition. There, over 100 young men and women met to exchange ideas and receive recognition for individual accomplishments and community service.

The number of participants steadily grew, and by 1922 this annual event was designated the National Boys and Girls Club Exposition. This meeting is officially considered the first National 4-H Youth Congress.

Exhibits, demonstrations and a popular parade became the annual program for 4-H during the International Livestock Exposition. For 73 years, National 4-H Congress gave over 100,000 delegates, Extension staff, volunteers, partner representatives, exhibitors and other friends of 4-H the opportunity to participate in a special event. There was no National 4-H Congress in 1995, but two invitational events were hosted by the Southern Region and Western Region states. 1996 saw the rebirth of National 4-H Congress in Memphis under the leadership of the Extension Service – USDA. Memphis was the home of National 4-H Congress until the event moved to Atlanta in 1998.

On Thanksgiving weekend more than 1,000 delegates from throughout the United States and its territories meet in Atlanta to participate in National 4-H Congress. The program is a mix of educational, service and recreational opportunities.

The City of Atlanta and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta roll out the red carpet to make the event memorable. Located in the heart of the south, Atlanta combines traditional Southern Hospitality with the energy of a world-class international city. It has a culturally diverse history. Atlanta has through the years been the home to a variety of celebrities and statesmen. The Congress program provides opportunities to explore a variety of Atlanta resources which could include:

  • The Carter Presidential Library
  • The Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Change
  • Centennial Olympic Park
  • The World of Coca-Cola
  • The Atlanta Zoo
  • CNN Center
  • The Atlanta History Center
  • The Georgia Aquarium

The schedule typically includes:

  • Workshops designed to develop leadership skills
  • Plenary Sessions with outstanding speakers and entertainers
  • A Service Learning Experience
  • Tours and recreational opportunities throughout the city

Nebraska sends delegates to National 4-H Congress each year. Nebraska delegates are selected for a trip to National 4-H Congress by submitting their 4-H Career Portfolio for state competition. Twenty-three applicants will be chosen for partial scholarships to attend National 4-H Congress. Alternates are also selected and may attend National 4-H Congress at their own expense.

Youth must be

  • Enrolled in 4-H to attend National 4-H Congress.
  • All applicants must turn 15-19 during the calendar year in which the trip to National 4-H Congress is actually taken.
  • 4-H'ers must have completed at least two years of a 4-H project in order to attend National 4-H Congress in that project curriculum area.
  • The applicant must also be enrolled in a related project at the time of the application and remain enrolled through National 4-H Congress.

4-H'ers may only attend National 4-H Congress once. 4-H'ers attending National 4-H Congress are ineligible to win future awards to attend. However, if a 4-H'er was awarded a trip to Congress and declined the award, they are still eligible to win future awards.

Club Meetings: Lead up to Career Portfolios

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The 4-H Career Portfolio is a written expression of learning experiences. Members can use it to measure their participation in club events and activities and how well they meet their own personal goals. Portfolios relate experiences in leadership and community service and can be used as a tool for members to assess the skills and knowledge learned and how they can be applied to real life experiences.

4-H has a long history of “learning by doing.” Experiential learning happens when a person gets involved in an activity, looks back at the experience critically, determines what was useful or important to remember from the activity, and uses this information in doing something else. It is more than doing activities. Experiential learning involves discussing what was done (what), thinking about was learned (so what) and applying new skills and information to a real life experience (now what).

4-H leaders and parents can assist club youth with the task of building their Career Portfolios by:

Helping the 4-Her’s reflect on the learning you have witnessed by their actions in specific projects and through activities they have been involved in with younger 4-H members.

Take time during each 4-H club meeting to acknowledge club activities and events that members can record in their career portfolio.

Take time to plan activities where 4-H members may be given the opportunity to develop leadership skills by helping younger members.

Remember to take photos of club activities and share them with the 4-Her’s.

Take time to review the five sections of the Career Portfolio periodically to help 4-Her’s develop leadership and personal growth in areas needed.

Section 1: Identify the project(s) they are taking. List what was accomplished and what was learned through each project.

Section 2: List each 4-H activity in the appropriate curriculum area. Activities can include, but are not limited to camps, contests, workshops, county events, educational experiences, service projects, elected offices, committees, judging, presentations, and speeches. 4-Her’s do not have to be enrolled in a project that corresponds to the curriculum area.

Section 3: List the 4-Her’s most meaningful participation in school, church and community organizations that are not related to 4-H.

Section 4: This story should be a maximum of 6 pages single sided, double-spaced with 1.5 inches top margin and 1 inch side and bottom margins.

Section 5: Include no more than 4 pages of photos and up to 2 additional pages of supporting materials other than photos.

Grab & Go: Sit. Stay. Dog Project.

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Sit. Stay. If your 4-H’er is preparing for their 4-H Dog project, this is an article you definitely want to read. Learn how to nurture the bond between handler and dog, 5 steps to stress-free training sessions, and the importance of joining a 4-H Dog club.

A common issue we see when 4-H youth are preparing for the 4-H Dog show is the lack of bond between 4-H handler and animal. Now is the time to start nurturing that bond! One way to do that is to make sure the 4-H youth is always the one training and working with the dog. This way, you can encourage the dog to trust and respect the 4-H youth as its handler.

To make the transition from pet owner to 4-H dog handler with your pet, here are 5 steps to more stress-free training sessions.

  1. Always have treats! While you can’t use treats or toys in the ring, it is good to encourage good dog behavior and attention by offering their favorite treat or toy for accomplished goals.
  2. Practice in different locations. It is good training to give your dog exposure to different sights, sounds, and distractions when preparing for county fair. Practicing at parks, pet stores or your friend’s house can be great experiences for your dog. But don’t forget to ask for permission!
  3. Practice with other 4-H Dog project members. Meet once a week at different locations and practice Showmanship patterns, Obedience commands, and get your dog used to other dogs.
  4. Use the approved collars and leads. Certain styles of collars and leads are required for 4-H Dog shows. To learn more about what to use for your dog, visit:
  5. Practice makes perfect, but perfect practice wins purple ribbons! Download the 4-H Dog rule book to be sure you’re practicing all patterns and commands correctly.

Have you found a 4-H Dog club in your county? We encourage all 4-H Dog project members to network with other project members. This will ensure you are meeting all show requirements, allow you to meet new friends with similar interests, and introduce your dog to other people, smells, and dog-friends. Contact your local county Extension office to find a 4-H Dog club near you!

Contest: Hippology

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The goal of the Hippology Contest is to provide youth with an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of equine-related subject matter. This contest takes place during the State Horse Expo in Grand Island in July. This is a team contest. Junior teams consist of 1 to 2 participants between the ages of 10 to 13 as of January 1. Senior teams consist of 3 to 4 participants between the ages of 14 to 18 as of January 1. The Hippology Contest has multiple different phases: judging phase, written exam phase, station phase, and seniors have a team problem. In each of the phases the youth can be asked about a variety of topics including tack, knots, tools, diets, parts or reproductive and digestive system, anatomy, skeleton, breeds, colors, parasites, blemishes, and unsoundnesses. In the Judging phase, teams are asked to place two confirmation classes and two performance classes. Questions will be asked on one halter class and one performance class. The youth do not have to give oral reasons during this phase. Some sample team problems are balancing a horse’s ration, farm management recommendations, or training and conditioning programs.

4-H leaders can easily incorporate many fun activities to help teams prepare for this contest. Leaders can create two big posters pointing to a variety of horse parts. Have the youth compete in a relay race to see what team can get all the horse parts correct the fastest. This kind of a race can also be done with tack, reproductive or digestive systems, or skeletal parts. 4-H leaders can make a matching game out of breeds, colors, and color patterns. Extension offices may have a Horse Learning Laboratory Kit, which includes the supplies for these activities. The kit includes a box of feed samples, allowing youth to see, smell, and feels to help them identify the different feeds. The Curriculum Guide within the Horse Learning Laboratory Kit has some activities which can be utilized to help teams prepare for the Team Problem phase. 4-H leaders could take their group to visit a veterinarian clinic or bring in a veterinarian as a guest speaker to teach the youth about parasites and blemishes. Have the youth visit a horse farm and take time to identify all the horse colors and color patterns. Another option is for the 4-H Leader to utilize game Power Points, such as Family Feud or Jeopardy, and create games out of the topics discussed.

For more information about the Hippology Contest, visit

Livestock & Horse Skillathon & Quiz Bowl

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A Livestock or Horse Skillathon is a fun and educational activity that can be set up at a club meeting, county contest, or even competition at the State level. It can be easy to set up the activity with supplies and pictures you have in your home or barn. The goal is to challenge youth to identify different things that they may use in their 4-H project. Following are ideas of things that could be involved in this identification activity.

Most project manuals have a diagram of the parts of animals from poll to tail head. The names of the parts can be erased but the arrows remain. A list of the parts can be included to make the activity easier for younger or less experienced youth.

Pictures of various breeds of cattle, sheep, and hogs can be found in agricultural magazines, sale catalogs, or artificial insemination catalogs. The youth can try identifying the different breeds. Horse magazines show different breeds and colors of horses for horse members to identify.

Equipment used on livestock can be gathered from the tack room, barn, or animal health supplies. These may include a branding iron, grooming tools, syringe, bander, dehorner, ear notcher, tattoo pliers, horse shoe, nippers, hoof pick, and tagging pliers.

Youth can be asked to identify feed ingredients such as shelled corn, cracked corn, oats, wheat, salt, mineral, distillers grains, alfalfa hay, and grass hay.

After youth have tried hard to identify the items and papers have been exchanged for grading, the correct answers can be given. A good discussion can be held about the uses of each piece of equipment, tool, or feed ingredient.

Prizes can be given or the high scorers can get snacks first.

A quiz bowl competition can also be held at the club or county level. Three to five youth can gather around a table with a spoon or spatula in the middle (no forks or knives), as questions from 4-H manuals are read, the first to grab the utensil has the opportunity to answer the question. After one youth has answered 3-4 questions correctly, they give up their seat and another youth can sit in.

Determining Personal Colors

When selecting colors for your wardrobe, consider three factors in regards to your per­sonal coloring: your skin tone, your eye color, and your hair color. Personal coloring gives clues to your best-worn colors in clothing.

The colors you select to wear are important in creating an attractive appearance. Flattering colors can brighten the skin and emphasize the color of the hair and eyes. Unflattering colors can make the skin look drained, sallow or unhealthy. Taking the time to determine your best colors is important if you want to emphasize the highlights in your hair, accentuate your eye color, plan an attractive wardrobe, and avoid wasting money on unflattering clothing.

Your personal coloring can indicate the color family, brightness, and intensity you will want to use for colors in your wardrobe. Skin color is the most important consideration used to achieve a desir­able wardrobe color scheme.

As you begin the search for your most flatter­ing colors, you must determine the underlying color in your complexion. Is it warm or cool? Warm complexions have yellow, peach, or red undertones, while cool complexions have pink, violet, or blue undertones.

To determine your basic coloring, analyze your skin without makeup. Be sure to use natural or in­candescent lighting, fluorescent lighting can alter the appearance of colors. Now, look at your face in a mirror. What are the prominent colors that you see? Most skin, regardless of race or tan, will have undertones of yellow, red, pink or blue. If you have trouble determining the color on your face, look at the inside of your wrist. If the veins are blue or purple, you have a cool tone. If they appear green or have a yellow cast, then you have a warm tone.

After determining your basic skin tone (warm or cool), consider the color of your hair and eyes. These three – skin, hair, and eyes – make up your personal coloring and should be considered when selecting clothing. Colors that flatter your skin usually look good with your hair and eye coloring.

To determine which colors are top choices, assemble a variety of colored fabrics. Consult a color wheel so that you can find as many different colors, shades and tints as possible. Drape the fabrics under your chin and around your shoulders one at a time to find colors that complement your skin, hair and eyes.

Ask yourself the following questions about each color:

· How does my complexion appear – sallow, vibrant, etc.?

· Does this color cause skin imperfections or wrinkles to be less noticeable?

· Does the color bring out the highlights in my hair?

· Are my eyes accentuated with this color?

You can enhance your individual features if you know how to choose colors to match your eyes, skin tone and hair color.

Personal Management

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Let’s face it, we are all guilty of trying to cram too much into our schedules. We spend our days running from one appointment to another, working early mornings and late evenings only to find our list getting longer and our stamina dwindling until our flame is only an ember. We are either wishing the day would come to an end, or hoping for an extra hour. But the fact is, time is an equal opportunity commodity, and how we optimize every day is dependent on the choices we make. Personal management begins with the understanding that in every aspect of our life we have a choice and for every choice there is a consequence. No matter how trivial or consequential, we choose our response.

How we choose our response is dependent on our life’s mission. Many people spend weeks and even months planning the perfect vacation, but when it comes to our lives, we have the tendency to “take things as they come”. Becoming clear on our principles and values allows one to become focused on the most important things. Creating a personal mission statement begins with identifying the 5-7 most important roles you play as well as setting goals in how you want to effectively fill each role. While this process may take some time, it will become the foundation that grounds you in your life purpose.

Once we have developed our mission and understand what is important, we can then begin to match our mission to our actions. Stephen Covey refers to this process as scheduling the Big Rocks. In this process we set aside 30 minutes each week to focus on our mission and set goals within each of the areas of our life. From there we dedicate blocks of time to accomplish our goals, remembering that we are striving for effectiveness, and not just efficiency. (This mindset will prevent us from filling every hour in our schedule.) The final step in the planning process is to set aside 5-10 minutes each day to review your progress and make any necessary adjustments.

Because life can be full of surprises, we will never be able to avoid all crisis or emergencies. However, this process will minimize the time we spend on urgent matters allowing us to enjoy this beautiful journey we call life!

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Grazing Livestock Systems

Nebraska 4-Hers know the state is a leader in the beef industry. They also know that about 60% of Nebraska is forage and rangeland. However, many may not be aware that the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has a degree program that combines these resources into an experience based education.

Grazing Livestock Systems is a degree program in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources that provides an integrated systems approach to the management of forage-based livestock production. The program combines forage and range science, animal science, and management economics to provide a strong foundation for decision-making and long-term stewardship of grazing operations. The emphasis is on production systems that optimize economic returns while properly managing livestock and natural resources.

The Grazing Livestock Systems program provides flexibility in course selection. Students will also learn through seminars, a hands-on internship tailored for each student, and a capstone planning course in livestock management for range and pasture. In addition to outstanding on-campus facilities, students have access to two research and demonstration ranches. Students can apply for Grazing Livestock Systems scholarships including financial assistance to attend grazing-related educational events such as the annual Nebraska Grazing Conference and the Nebraska Ranch Practicum.

Career opportunities include farm and ranch management, governmental agencies involved in grassland management, extension education, and private land preservation and management. Other areas of employment include agricultural finance and loans, livestock organizations and publications, analytical laboratories, and allied industries such as feed, animal health/pharmaceuticals, facilities and equipment design, and animal breeding services.

If you are interested in this program or would like to schedule a campus visit, please contact Carly Horstman at or 402-472-4445 for more information!

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