Nebraska Extension 4-H Volunteer Newsletter - March 2019

In the March Spotlight!

  • 4-H Awards and Recognition

  • Accountability with 4-H Funds

  • Grab & Go: Healthy Lifestyles

  • Contest: Digital Video - 4-H FilmFest

  • Youth for Quality Care of Animals (YQCA)

  • Nebraska 4-H Quilts of Valor

  • Hike Your Leadership Trail

  • Department of Animal Science - UNL

4-H Awards and Recognition - By Jill Lingard

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Nebraska 4-H is excited to announce updates and new opportunities for 4-H youth to be recognized! Throughout 2018, a committee of 4-H staff worked to update existing awards and develop new recognition opportunities for youth engaged in Nebraska 4-H.

Nebraska 4-H recognizes and awards individual youth and groups for outstanding achievements and contributions to their community, to the 4-H program and to their own personal development. Celebrating the amazing work of young people in Nebraska is an important part of their experience and we’re working to extend awards and recognitions to youth engaged in 4-H through clubs, camps, afterschool, school enrichment and special interest programs.

The following will highlight updates to the 4-H Diamond Clover program and introduce two new awards for 2019!

  • The Nebraska 4-H Diamond Clover program encourages 4-H members to engage in a variety of projects and activities that will help them acquire life skills necessary to lead successful lives as a competent, caring, and contributing citizen. The program consists of six levels that require a 4-H member to plan and report a broad range of age-appropriate accomplishments. At the beginning of the 4-H year, participants plan what to accomplish and at the end of the 4-H year, they report on their completed accomplishments. Successful completion of a level's Plan & Report form results in a 4-H youth earning that level of the Diamond Clover program. New in 2019, youth will find updated criteria for each level and the service project, previously associated with Level 6, has been modified to create an entirely new award opportunity!
  • The Nebraska 4-H Gives Back program is an opportunity for a Nebraska 4-H member or a team of 4-H’ers to make a meaningful contribution to their community. This award recognizes the impact that 4-H youth make in their communities and celebrates the spirit of service-learning, a pillar of the 4-H experience. To achieve the Nebraska 4-H Gives Back honor, a 4-H member or team must complete a major service-learning project that benefits his/her community. The project must be of lasting value and large enough in size and/or scope to be worthy of Nebraska 4-H Gives Back recognition. 4-H members should plan on investing over 100 hours of service, and understand that it may take up to 24 months to complete this project. Recipients will receive certificates of recognition and a $100 award supported by the Nebraska 4-H Foundation.
  • Nebraska 4-H Programs of Excellence is an award program designed to recognize 4-H groups, such as afterschool programs, school enrichment, or special programs, for providing high-quality educational experiences. Three recognition levels are offered based upon the time spent in the instructional mode. Each level includes a set of required criteria which programs must report on in order to receive recognition. Nebraska 4-H seeks to recognize entire programs, including instructors and youth participants of these programs. Prizes for youth and instructors, as well as curriculum materials for the highest level of involvement, will be awarded to recipients. Awards are supported by the Nebraska 4-H Foundation.

For more information about these awards and all of our state-level recognition opportunities, please visit our website at

Club Management: Accountability with 4-H Funds - By Lisa Kaslon

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4-H is a publicly owned program, supported by tax funds, with a name and logo (the 4-H Clover) protected by federal law. Therefore, funds donated to 4-H or to programs and activities under the name of 4-H must receive the same accountability as required in the handling of public or tax funds.

4-H clubs are given permission through their charter to use the name and emblem to support their club. This also includes the ability to raise money in the name of the club and 4-H. Clubs often have funds as a result of fund raising, accepting donations, collecting club dues, etc. All of this is acceptable, as long as clubs are meeting the financial expectations set forward by Nebraska 4-H.

4-H Clubs receive federal income tax exemption through a group exemption held by the Nebraska 4-H Foundation. This means that 4-H clubs are exempt from paying federal income tax on funds raised on behalf of 4 H, or to support educational programs; and donors can deduct contributions to 4-H clubs.

For a club to be included in the group exemption, it must meet these requirements:

  1. Be a chartered Nebraska 4-H Club
  2. Have a constitution/bylaws
  3. Have an IRS-issued Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Maintain a checking account for the funds

To retain this status, clubs must annually:

  1. Submit a year-end financial report to the extension office by January 31.
  2. Provide information as needed to the extension office to file an IRS Form 990-N on the clubs behalf by May 15.

Clubs will be excluded from this exemption if failure to comply with the above. This exclusion restricts the club from having any funds in the name of 4-H (i.e. due, fundraising, donations, etc.)

As indicated if clubs meet the expectations above they receive a federal and state income tax exemption. This exemption is not for sales tax. If a 4-H entity buys anything for internal use or to give away, they must pay sales tax on the items. Clubs must also collect sales tax on items they sell and turn this in to the state of Nebraska.

Thank you for your hard work to help us meet the laws and expectations for having money in the name of 4-H. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask someone at your local Extension office and they will help get you the answers.

Grab & Go: Healthy Lifestyles - By Brenda Aufdenkamp

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Making food choices for a healthy lifestyle can be difficult, but the USDA created a simple graphic to help students and families be healthy every day. The MyPlate graphic helps to visualize how to include the five food groups to every meal.

Our bodies need nutritious foods and plenty of water to stay healthy and energetic. This can be achieved by encouraging eating a variety of fruits and vegetables whether it is for breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner at home or eating out. For more information about MyPlate, fruits, and vegetables, be sure to visit:

PRACTICE: Give youth opportunities to select foods that fit into each of the 5 food groups. Youth can work in small teams or individually to sort pictures of foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks from all 5 food groups. (Colorful pictures can be downloaded or newspaper ads can be used.)

GAME: A “MyPlate Relay” is a great way to motivate teams of youth to practice creating different “menus” usually the five food groups.

PROCESS: Allow the winning “team” to explain the foods/items they chose for their MyPlate. Take time to answer questions and give suggestions as the students share to the entire group.

ADAPTING FOR A VAREITY OF AGES: Part of the group processing can be spent asking questions to relate the 5 food groups to the nutrients we need each day.

  1. Which nutrient can you get from eating whole fruit that is not usually found in juice?
  2. What important mineral is found in all foods in the Dairy Group?
  3. How much of your plate should be fruits and vegetables?
  4. What food group are beans and peas found in?
  5. What is the best way to know that the bread you are buying is a whole-grain bread?


  1. Fiber is found in the pulp of fruit. When juice is made (either commercially or at home with a juices), the pulp is usually removed. So, the fiber goes with it.
  2. Calcium can be found in yogurt, cheese, tofu, canned salmon, leafy greens, and in calcium-fortified foods and drinks.
  3. “Make half you plate fruits and vegetables” is a key nutrition message of the MyPlate which is the visual reminder made by the USDA for all Americans to follow.
  4. Most Americans get enough protein in their diets, but may need to make leaner and more varied selections of the foods in the Protein Foods Group. These recommended choices include lean meats, seafood, and plant-based proteins such as dried peas and beans, and nuts.
  5. Look for the word “whole” in the ingredient list. Breads labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products.

Contest: Digital Video - 4-H FilmFest - Tracy Pracheil

Ready . . . Set . . . Action!

Do you know a young person who is creative, likes to use technology, and might be interested in sharing a message with others using digital media? If so, check out the Digital Video -- 4-H FilmFest!

Entering its fifth year, the Digital Video -- 4-H FilmFest contest is held each year at the Nebraska State Fair and is an opportunity for 4-H youth from across the state to produce and to share a digital video with a live audience. A video may be created by an individual or a team of two. Video Public Service Announcements, Narratives, Documentaries, and Animations are the types of videos that can be entered into this contest.

Digital videos created by 4-H’ers from across the state (all the way from Scotts Bluff County to Buffalo County to Wayne County) have focused upon topics such as sportsmanship, indigo dying, hand washing, child development, recycling, entrepreneurship, and many other exciting subjects! As long as the digital video shares what the 4-H’er is learning about through their 4-H experiences in the area of science, healthy living, citizenship, or agricultural literacy, it’s a topic perfect for a digital video!

During the 4-H FilmFest, youth will provide a 1-minute oral introduction, followed by the showing of their digital video. A judge will then ask the 4-H’er(s) a few questions about the digital video. Participation in a county contest is encouraged, but not required, to enter the contest at the Nebraska State Fair; however, the digital video must have been shared at an event that has a live audience (4-H Club Meeting, Community Event, etc.).

Complete information about the Digital Video – 4-H FilmFest can be found in the Nebraska State Fair Book at Examples of 4-H FilmFest entries from past years, as well as links to curriculum resources to assist 4-H’ers, are also found on this page. 4-H’ers have used a wide variety of equipment and software to create digital videos for the contest – using a mobile device (such as a phone or tablet) along with free software (like Adobe Spark) is a great way to get started in this area!

And the National 4-H Film Festival held each summer in Missouri, as well as the Big Red Summer Academic Camp focused on Filmmaking at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, are great experiences to further a 4-H’ers interest in digital video, too.

Ready . . . Set . . . take Action now, and encourage a 4-H’er to become a filmmaker today!

Youth for the Quality Care of Animals - By Debra Walnofer

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Nebraska 4-H requires that all youth ages 8-18, who are enrolled in livestock projects complete annual quality assurance certification through the Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) program. YQCA is a national multi-species quality assurance program, the goals of this program is to ensure safety and well-being of animals produced by youth for showing 4-H and FFA projects, ensure a safe food supply to consumers, enhance the future of the livestock industry by educating youth on these very important issues so they can become more informed producers, consumers in agriculture and food industry, and to offer livestock shows a valid, national quality assurance certification for youth livestock exhibitors.

4-H members enrolled in the following projects: beef, dairy cattle, goat, poultry, rabbit, sheep, and swine are required to participate in an annual YQCA training. Training requirements can be completed either online through a web-based training course or a face-to-face instructor-led training course.

Web-Based training is available through the YQCA webpage. 4-H’ers sign in using their 4honline account information and complete the age appropriate course for $12 per individual regardless of their age.

Face-to-face YQCA training course must be taught by an YQCA certified instructor. In-person YQCA training course costs $3 per individual regardless of age. To find instructor-led YQCA courses in your area, contact your local Extension office.

Testing out is a third available option. Test-out options are only available to youth in the first year of intermediate (age 12) and senior (age 15) age levels. There is no test out option for juniors. If passed, youth will not be required to complete the annual training requirements for the remainder of their current age level (intermediates: ages 12-14; seniors ages 15-18). Each test consists of 50 randomly selected questions and the youth must pass with an 80% average or better. 4-H’ers will only have one chance to take the test-out option, if that youth fails, they will not be provided another opportunity to test out of that age level. 4-H’ers who do not pass will be prompted to take the instructor-led training or web-based training annually. If the youth does pass, payment for the completed test-out course will be required after the completion of the test. Test out cost is $36 for intermediates ($12 x 3 years =$36). Test out cost is $48 for senior ($12 x 4 years =$48). No payment is required to attempt the test.

Nebraska 4-H Quilts of Valor - By Holli Alley

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The power and impact of Quilts of Valor can be verified by a 2018 school Veterans Day program where a veteran was thanked and honored as tears flowed down his face. “When the Quilt of Valor was wrapped around my shoulders, 40 years of anger and pain washed away. I’ll never forget this Veterans Day. The Quilt is the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night.”

Nebraska 4-H is fulfilling the National Quilts of Valor Foundation mission of “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.” Currently, Nebraska is the only state with such high involvement of 4-H making Quilts of Valor.

Here are some Guidelines to remember when making a Quilt of Valor:

  • 100% good-quality cotton fabric with high thread count.
  • Soldiers do not want children’s fabrics such as cartoons. 10% of the soldiers receiving quilts are women, so consider whether a man or woman would like the fabric.
  • Use a quilt pattern of your choice.
  • Piece the top so it will be at its finished size – 55” X 65” or no larger than 72” X 90”. A recommended size is 60” X 80”.
  • Be sure to add a label to the back of the quilt. The label can be hand written, embroidered, printed or purchased. The label MUST SAY “Quilt of Valor.”
  • 4-H members and volunteers can work alone or in groups making the quilts.

Many counties are awarding the 4-H Quilts of Valor locally following the state fair. The National Quilt of Valor Foundation has recognized a standard protocol and procedure to award each quilt.

  • Invite Veterans and QOVF volunteers to the front of the room. Ask the veteran(s) to step forward or have the recipient be the center of attention.
  • Have someone read his/her short military history.
  • Have volunteers hold up the person’s QOV – pretty side out, meaning the quilt top side out, not the back.
  • Read the QOV Label. Each QOV has a label on it that tells it story – “today the story becomes yours.”
  • The following must be said as per QOV Foundation Requirements.

We HONOR your service – we know you left your home to protect us.

We say THANK YOU – we know that Freedom is not Free.

Please USE THIS QUILT – don’t put it in a box, into storage, or on a shelf. The maker of the quilt wants you to feel cared for and comforted as you cover yourself.

“Welcome Home!”

For more information on the 4-H Quilts of Valor project, contact Julie Ochsner at 402-461-7209 or Holli Alley at 402-762-3644.

Hike Your Leadership Trail - By Jennifer Epp

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Nebraska 4-H strives to prepare youth for success as adults in their chosen fields. This particular focus drives programs in college and career readiness, STEM, healthy lifestyles, entrepreneurship, agricultural literacy and emerging needs as they arise. Leadership was once considered an emerging need, but increasingly leadership ties all of our content areas together. Colleges and employers recruit students with leadership experience and interpersonal skills. The geographically isolated members of the ag community need leaders to educate others about the safety of the food supply. STEM is changing the world, but needs future leaders who can share these new visions.

4-H is an inclusive organization and a new program, Leadership Summit, is being released across the state to bring inclusivity to leadership development. Many organizations offer leadership programs, but many of these programs only target specific high school youth with proven leadership track records. What about the rest of Nebraska’s youth? Nebraska communities need county commissioners, school board members, etc. who choose to search for success as adults. Leadership Summit is a strengths-based program that guides youth in identifying positive attributes and applying those natural strengths in a team setting.

With Leadership Summit, Nebraska 4-H levels the playing field opening leadership development to all 5th and 6th graders across the state. The traditional full-day experience invites youth to join in a hiking-themed journey to the top of the Leadership Summit. The morning showcases an overview of leadership and personality assessment. The afternoon includes team building activities for application and a celebration at the summit. Youth walk away from this program with new, positive descriptors and a few ideas to put their strengths to work for them.

To learn more about bringing the Leadership Summit to your community, contact your local Nebraska Extension office. For specific questions about this program, please contact Jennifer Epp at Nebraska Extension in Garfield, Loup & Wheeler Counties at 308-346-4200 or

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Department of Animal Science-UNL - By Alli Raymond

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The Department of Animal Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a strong tradition of providing some of the best training available for students interested in all aspects of the animal industries, and we want you to become part of that tradition! Whether you are interested in production livestock, meat science, equine, business, biology, companion or exotic animals, or want to go to veterinary or another professional school we have the program for you. We also have a strong tradition of competitive teams with the livestock judging, meats judging, and horse judging teams as well as the Husker Equestrian Team. If you have specific interest in beef production we have a couple specialty programs related to the beef industry with the Feedlot Management Internship Program and the Nebraska Beef Industry Scholars Minor. For more information about the Department of Animal Science programs, please contact Alli Raymond at or (402) 472-0204. To schedule a visit, please contact the UNL Office of Admissions at (402) 472-2023.

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