SPOTLIGHT ON 4-H

Nebraska Extension 4-H Newsletter - May 2016

In the Spotlight for April!

  • Being a Positive Role Model for Youth

  • Keeping 4-H'ers Safe

  • 4-H With Gratitude

  • 4-H Entrepreneurs Engaging New Ideas

  • 4-H Shooting Sports Aim for Success

  • Special Gardening Project Grows Statewide

  • Confessing the Fun of 4-H Camp

  • Studying Water as a Career

The Power of a Positive Role Model

“If I had a positive male role model enter my life at age 4, I would not have joined a gang.” A reformed gang member spoke to a group of future teachers. He reminded them the most influential person in our life is the adult we choose to role model. Young people can find role models in a variety of settings from their 4-H club to the church. A report titled Role Models for Young People: What Makes an Effective Role Model Program? found five key ingredients on whether a youth is likely to find a role model in the program you are leading.

  • First, the research found a youth wants someone to be able to relate to him or her, and display a range of relevant knowledge, skills and personal characteristics. Often, the skills and knowledge will come from the leader’s expertise in a 4-H project area. The personal characteristics are traits like smiling, addressing youth by their name, or asking open ended questions.
  • Next is the youth feel safe in the environment and are supported. Emotional and mentally safety are as important as physical safety. Youth need to know volunteers as well as peers will treat them with respect. Their ideas need to be validated, even if their idea is not the one chosen by the club members.
  • Youth have growing brains. They want leaders to focus on providing purposeful activities. Adults who invest time and creativity into planning are seen as invested leaders. Youth want to walk away with a skill, ability, or information from a 4-H experience.
  • The opportunity for independence is another key. The youth need the opportunity to try skills and abilities out. They want to problem solve as they learn the skill. The adult intervenes when asked by the youth to help versus the adult choosing when to help.
  • Junior Leaders, parents, and other caring volunteers need the opportunity to be involved. The youth need many role models to choose from in a 4-H club. Youth are more likely find a role model during many opportunities for support and encouragement from a variety of role models, including peers.

Keeping 4-H'ers Safe

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Are you planning a club activity, tour or outing? If so, remember the 4-H focus is to keep youth as safe as possible. As a leader there are many things to think about before taking your club out and about for educational opportunities. Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your decisions and the situations you may find yourself in as a club leader.

  1. What are the physical risks involved in this activity/decision?
  2. Are there any foreseeable risks? What dangers can be avoided?
  3. Who is the activity for, the youth or me?
  4. How will youth benefit from this activity and how is it related to the purpose of the activity?
  5. Do I have a CPR and First Aid plan in effect in case of an emergency?
  6. What would I do if the youth or their parents were watching?
  7. What would I do if the Extension Educator or Assistant was watching?
  8. Could my actions/decisions cost me my job?


In addition to the above information, the following precautions should be observed during overnight activities.

  1. A ratio of at least one adult supervisor to every 10 youth is required, with a minimum of two adult supervisors regardless of size of activity. At least one adult supervisor of the same sex as the youth is required.
  2. Youth are not allowed alone in adults private rooms.
  3. Do not enter a bathroom or shower area to assist a youth without another adult present.
  4. Never leave youth unsupervised in the residence halls at night.
  5. Volunteer and staff need to complete the chaperone training before chaperoning overnight events.


The Nebraska Chaperone Training is an online course that is free to volunteers and youth. You can find instructions on how to enroll at http://4h.unl.edu/documents/chaperonetrainingonlineinstructions.pdf. Also, as a leader it is your responsibility to abide by the Nebraska Child Abuse and Neglect Including Sexual Assault Reporting Requirements. Nebraska statutes require any person who becomes aware of any child abuse or neglect, including sexual assault, to report such abuse, neglect, or assault to law enforcement or the Department of Health and Human Services. Law enforcement is likewise required to notify DHHS of any such incidents reported to them. This means that if you suspect any child abuse or neglect, including sexual assault:

  1. You must report it.
  2. You should give as much information about the circumstances as possible.
  3. You are immune from liability from any civil or criminal liability if you have reported the information in good faith, and
  4. If you know of child abuse, neglect, or sexual assault but are not reporting it, you are breaking the law.


Reference: Nebraska Statutes 28-711; 28-716; 28-717: This information comes from the University of Nebraska Lincoln Youth Activities Safety policy under Activity Workers Guidelines. You can find the entire document at http://4h.unl.edu/documents/Activity%20Worker%20Guidelines.pdf.

Inspiring Gratitude in Our Youth

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"Hey, thanks!” What’s the big deal about having an attitude of gratitude? What’s the importance of saying thanks? Studies cite a growing interest in the area of gratitude in the younger generation. An attitude of gratitude serves as a key factor for success in life.


Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen AND taking time to express thanks. Two key factors are “being aware of” and “taking time”.


Your 4-H member won a trophy, scholarship or other recognition. What’s the next, very important, step? Expressing appreciation and saying thanks. Write a note, visit with your donor, shake their hand and say THANK YOU. It can go a long ways with a donor in their continued support when they receive appreciation or thanks from recipients. With winning comes the privilege of saying thanks!


As youth are awarded trophies, scholarships, and various honors, hopefully they will recognize the importance of saying thanks. Parents become the first line of support, reminding youth to say thanks, write a note, send a text or email, or better yet, meet the donor in person. Club leaders are encouraged to create an environment of gratitude through 4-H club meetings and activities.


Research indicates that gratitude is associated with happiness and personal well-being and helps people form, maintain, and strengthen supportive relationships; gratitude helps people feel connected to a caring community, such as 4-H.


Knowing the benefits, how can we foster gratitude in children? Our families, schools,


4-H and others must all do our part. While there’s no quick fix, the more we remain committed to it, the more rewards we will reap. By bringing out the best in our kids, we bring out the best in our families and communities. Anything worthwhile takes time and effort. It’s up to all of us to make it happen. Adults model and teach gratitude. Kids help other kids learn the importance of gratitude and their responsibility to say thanks. Gratitude is a virtue that anyone can cultivate.


There are many opportunities for kids to recognize and thank those who have done something special for them, and it’s a habit that if they start young, they will carry throughout life. Enhancing gratitude can be relatively simple and easy to integrate into 4-H families and clubs.


When it comes to future generations, gratitude is the single best investment we can make. Gratitude matters and it matters most in kids.


Zig Ziglar summed it up well, “Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life changing.”


Entrepreneurs Creatively Solving Problems in 4-H

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Entrepreneurs contain more characteristics and abilities than just starting their own business. They have to be able to manage money, work with people, keep good records, listen to their customers’ needs, constantly learn about their surroundings, think and be innovative, and explain to others what they do. But, one does not have to start their own business in order to learn these skills. In fact, current businesses are also looking for people with this “entrepreneurial mindset”: someone who can think creatively to solve problems.


Being in 4-H is one way to gain these skills. No matter the project, the 4-H’er must learn about themselves. For livestock, they must learn about the industry; manage the money to feed, groom, and take care of that animal; always understand what their “customer” wants in good quality food; and work with others who may be helping them raise that animal. For sewing, baking, engineering, woodworking, and home environment projects, the same holds true: the 4-H’er has the opportunity for mastery in these project areas. What are people or the judge’s looking for when it comes to a quality product? How would another person use what that 4-H’er is making? Answering questions from judges allows the 4-H’er to explain to others what they do and about their project.


How can you help your 4-H’ers gain more of these entrepreneurial skills? Help them find projects that they are most interested in. Encourage them to think outside of the box when creating things in those project areas. Help them keep good records when doing livestock projects. Help them start a record book or portfolio for any of their projects so they can show what they have done over time. Encourage them to interview with the judge at the fair if given the option.


Entrepreneurs can also fall under the category of “social entrepreneurship” where they put forth the effort to make a difference in their community. They act like a business in order to create change. Maybe it’s raising money for a cause or collecting items to then donate to those in need. Help youth explore this side of entrepreneurship by carrying out a service project during the year, such as a clothing/coat drive, a bake sale or lemonade stand to raise money for the club to then donate to another cause or to give back to the county 4-H program, raising money to beautify local fairgrounds, or helping the elderly rake leaves or shovel snow during fall and winter. The youth can manage this “business” and learn what it takes to manage items/money, work with people in their community, keep good records, and pay attention to their surroundings so they know what their community needs most, and, ultimately, think creatively to solve problems.

4-H Shooting Sports Aims High for Volunteers!

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Can science make a person a better shot? Can a good shot become better with some science? In the Nebraska 4-H Shooting Sports project, the answer seems to be yes. 4-H Shooting Sports leaders’ practice teaching science during their weekend long training required of all volunteers earning their certification. The theory is if you teach a young person to think scientifically, they can improve their shot placement whether using a firearm or a bow.


Over 400 volunteers reported 41,500 hours volunteering in 2015, in which they made over 35,000 youth contacts. The opportunity to teach science is incredible with the trained volunteer force reaching so many youth. The primary science skill taught at the leader training is working through the scientific method. The participants practice launching Fruit Loops and Sixlets from spoons in which they make predictions, draw conclusions, and make adjustments when examining how projectiles fly through the air. In another experiment, the instructors practice shooting eggs off golf tees using air guns, .22 rifles, and bow and arrow. The experiment shows how different projectiles encounter an object as well as the force when leaving the firearm. One of the favorite experiments is making paper rockets and launching them from a PVC pipe launch pad powered by an empty water bottle. All the lessons are free on the web.


The 4-H Shooting Sports volunteers commonly hold weekly practices for their 4-H clubs. It is the 2nd largest 4-H project with 4-H Foods being number 1. Youth, with a certified coach, can choose from six disciplines. The shooting sports disciplines include rifle (BB gun, air rifle, and .22 rifle), shotgun, hunting skills, archery, muzzle loading, or pistol (air pistol and .22 pistol). There are state competitions in most disciplines which start in January with archery. Rifle, shotgun, and pistol are held in the spring, and archery holds an outdoor competition in the summer.


Most recently a state-wide 4-H Shooting Sports Ambassador program is launching in 2016. Youth enrolled in related 4-H projects and over age 14 can apply. Many of these youth will qualify to shoot, or volunteer, for the 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships held in Grand Island, Nebraska. Approximately 30-35 states will travel to compete against the best in their discipline.


The 4-H Shooting Sports Projects are committed to helping youth use scientific skills, engineering abilities, and technology advances to explore the content in their 4-H projects and exhibits.

4-H Special Gardening Project

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The Nebraska Extension Special Garden Project is a way for youth from across the entire state with an interest in gardening to try growing new and unusual vegetables and flowers, obtain the tools necessary to be successful gardeners, and learn about the wide range of plant-science related careers.


Each year the Special Garden Project focuses on a different flower or vegetable. The 2016 Special Garden Project will focus on the colorful, Jazzy Mix Zinnia. This cultivar comes in shades of burgundy-red, red, yellow, and orange with cream, red, or yellow tips. The 1-2” blooms are fully-double and semi-double. These zinnias are a great cut flower that can get 20-26” tall. On average it will take about 75-85 days for the plants to bloom.


Interested in participating? To enroll in the project, contact your local Extension office and let them know the number of youth that are interested and to get more details. Be sure to also enroll youth in the ‘World of Flowers,’ ‘Annual Flowers,’ and/or ‘Special Garden Project’ in order to exhibit projects at fair.


4-H Members & Clover Kids enrolled in the Special Garden Project will:

* Receive Jazzy Mix Zinnia seeds


* Receive a newsletter about:

  • Planting & growing zinnias
  • Zinnia problems & insects
  • Harvesting & using zinnias
  • Exhibiting zinnias


* Be able to enter this unique flower at County and State Fair

  • Fresh cut Jazzy Mix Zinnias must be entered in the ‘Zinnia’ Class G-770-022.
  • State Fair Special Garden Project Class G-775-001* (Eligible for State Fair)
  • Be on the lookout for other fun county only ways to exhibit this unique flower like a story, poem, or poster. Each county is different so be sure to check with your local Extension Office.


* In order to improve the program, please remind youth to participate in the evaluation either by hard copy or at: http://go.unl.edu/wi4r . Youth who complete the evaluation are entered into win a gardening prize.


Questions? Contact Elizabeth Killinger at elizabeth.killinger@unl.edu or 308-385-5088.

Expanding 4-H - Nebraska 4-H Camps

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Nebraska 4-H Camp, help your youth find their place in this world!


“The amazing thing about camp is it truly brings out the best in everyone and you don’t feel like you have to change who you are.” – Camp Confession #715


4-H Camp is a safe place for youth of all ages to explore a different aspect of their world and different side of themselves. Activities and interests differ from camp to camp and include a wide range. Youth who like to learn in the out of doors or those who are more interested in robots are all welcome.


Introduce your 5-8-year-old to just how much fun 4-H Camp can be! Your camper will begin to learn communication skills, teamwork, and begin building relationships. Exposure to key lifetime skills such as confidence, cooperation, and decision making are features of attending camp. Campers will be encouraged to take healthy risks in a supportive environment by trying new activities and learning new skills that encourage independence. Utilizing outdoor activities and challenges helps stimulate campers' curiosity about science in the environment. Camp is a meeting place where the seeds of lasting friendships are sown!


Sessions designed for elementary ages allow your younger camper the chance to explore many 4-H Camp activities and traditions. 4-H Camp increases self-esteem, fosters a love for the outdoors, and aids in the development of social skills needed in the real world through a variety of activities and experiences. Camp creates an atmosphere conducive to expanding interest, appreciation, and knowledge of the natural environment and natural sciences. At camp, the foundation to become a leader is established as campers have the opportunity to discover, learn, and grow! Your camper will have an opportunity to try out the zip line and work as a team on the T.R.U.S.T. Course. Building lasting relationships, fostering friendships, and positive adult interactions are key elements of camp as each camper leaves with a lifetime of memories!


Your middle school-age camps are loaded with more advanced adventures! Each session features camp favorites like the waterslide, Gau-Gau, campfires, creek stomping, and provides opportunities for campers to create lasting friendships. Your camper will learn to work as a team while working through the elements on the T.R.U.S.T. Course. We foster confidence, responsibility, and healthy conflict-resolution, and provide campers authentic leadership opportunities. Campers discover practical relationships with science and nature, which can be applied to their real world. Our activities and trips provide a fun and safe experience for all - one that leaves campers with lasting feelings of accomplishment, pride, and a lifetime of memories!


“Camp is where I learned about me: facing fears, trying new things, pushing my boundaries, and accepting myself.” – Camp Confession #477


These are things camp kids say to their friends and family when coming home from 4-H Camp. They come home having learned new skills, made new friends, and had a thousand new experiences. At camp, youth will learn the independence and self-confidence that will transform them into successful adults. All those principles that you’ve been trying to teach them at club meetings and activities are now given the opportunity to flourish; as well as, being reinforced at 4-H Camp. For more information go to http://4h.unl.edu/4hsummercamp and help youth find their place in this world.

Water Science!

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Did you know that over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered in water? And of that water, only 1% is readily available for human use?


Most 4-H members know the importance of water to Nebraska and to the world, but do they know additional water experts are needed for the future? Each year the demand on local and global water resources grows and more professionals are needed to help sustain high quality supplies of water and resolve conflicts among users.


Water seems pretty basic, but the science, policy and management of water are increasingly complex. Students will analyze the wide range of demands on water resources from irrigation and industry to recreation to wildlife. They will study how competing interests are affecting the quantity and quality of surface and ground waters and the ecosystem benefits they provide. If you know students interested in the management of surface and groundwater resources, policies affecting its use and the sustainability of this precious resource, the UNL Water Science program is for them.


Students wishing to solve real-world challenges can find many career paths in Water Science. They may choose to become community planners, environmental chemists, irrigation managers, or water quality specialists. Other opportunities include working as a hydrologist, an environmental lawyer, a water lobbyist, an environmental educator, or a water resource manager.


To learn more about a degree in Water Science, contact Amanda Bergeron-Bauer, recruitment coordinator for the School of Natural Resources, at abergeron2@unl.edu or 402-472-7471.

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