Nebraska Extension 4-H Volunteer Newsletter - March 2017

In the Spotlight for March!

  • The Value of Contests in 4-H

  • Parliamentary Procedure

  • Club Activity: Healthy Lifestyles

  • Interview Contest

  • Premise IDs & EID tags

  • Disaster Kits

  • Utilizing Jr. Leaders

  • Celebration of Youth: 4-H & CEHS

The Value of Contests in 4-H

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The word CONTEST (or competition) brings about an enormous amount of emotion. Some relish in the excitement, while others may want to avoid it at all costs. However you feel about competition, we cannot deny that it is a fact of life. Youth compete in speech, DECA, music, sports, and of course, 4-H. But competition does not end with graduation. Youth also compete for scholarships and college acceptance, while adults are in competition for jobs, promotions, marketing and sales.

So if we are expected to compete, how can 4-H contests prepare our youth for this lifelong skill? First, 4-H is centered on Positive Youth Development (PYD). The contests offered through 4-H celebrate the learning process, not just the ribbon or trophy. These contests encourage youth to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone within a safe environment. Stories echo across the state of individuals who have joined our organization eager to learn but terrified to compete. Through the encouragement of a trusted adult, these youth initially may participate in a one on one conversation with a judge answering various questions about a project. Once they have tasted success, they may decide to record a one minute PSA and then are soon on their way to being able to deliver an eloquent five minute speech. They may or may not go on to “win” a contest, but they have learned the skills needed to organize their thoughts in order to speak confidently and effectively throughout their lifetime.

Contests also have the ability to bring about the absolute best in an individual. Knowing that others are working toward the same goal creates an environment that encourages creative thinking and focus. Individuals are pushed to think outside the box and not be satisfied with the status quo. It encourages youth to think strategically, finding ways to accentuate their strengths and discover how to overcome their weaknesses.

While we have discussed a few benefits of competition, we would be remiss to underestimate the difficulties that will be encountered along the way. With any new endeavor, there will be obstacles to overcome. Youth will feel inadequate, will not know how to organize themselves, and will want to quit. However, as PYD experts, our job is to encourage our youth to see their infinite potential and celebrate every victory.

Parliamentary Procedure

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Parliamentary Procedure. Whether you know its importance or not, you probably know that it is viable tool for all 4-H members to know. The real problem might actually lie in the fact that you don’t know it well enough to teach it, let alone enforce it!

First, you must know that parli pro has been around for hundreds of years. It has been modified to some extent but the main purpose is still intact: to protect the rights of the minority. You may have a few youth that would like to go pick-up trash instead of go to the nursing home. It is their right to be heard and have a say in the group’s final decision. And proper parli pro does just that!

In order to start a successful meeting, you need to have a complete agenda with old and new business available for all participants. The president or leader will use this to bring items to the group’s attention. A brief description of the situation or need for attention can be discussed by said president or leader. However, in order for the group to continue discussion or propose any action there MUST be a motion on the floor. This will usually come about through a main motion.

According to Robert’s Rules of Order, the official rule book for parli law accepted nationwide, a main motion will must be proposed in the following sequence:

Member calls for recognition by standing and stating, “Madam/Mr. President/Chairperson.”

The chair will recognize member of his/her choice if more than one member wishes to speak by stating, “Chair recognizes Sally.”

Member will then state, “I move to…”

A second member will then need to second the motion (this provides approval that more than one person wishes to speak about that particular motion).

The chair will then restate what just happened and call for discussion by saying, “It has been properly moved and seconded that we pick up trash on Saturday, Feb 23rd. Is there any discussion?”

When teaching children, make sure you get them into the habit of stating the motion correctly. “I move to have a motion that says we…” is one of the most common incorrect ways of stating a motion. They need to say “I move to” followed by an action verb. The more detailed the motion, the better. Include dates and times and locations if possible so you do not have to waste time amending later.

A key discussion rule, which will make your meeting go faster is that each person is allowed to speak on the motion at hand twice. This will keep them from stating the same point over and over again. Also, the person that made the motion cannot discuss while stating their motion. They must sit down, wait for a second, and then ask to be recognized during discussion. The president needs to be trained that if the person making the motion wishes to discuss immediately after the motion is made, that member has first priority to explain their motion.

There are many other motions that will allow your meetings to run smoothly; however, knowing how to get started with a main motion will get you going in the right direction.

Club Activity: Healthy Lifestyles

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Research states, “Each meal is a building block in your healthy eating style. Make sure to include all the food groups throughout the day. Make fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods part of your daily meals and snacks” (10 Tips: Build a Healthy Meal). “A good diet and regular physical activity can build strong bones throughout your life. Strengthen your bones three times a week doing activities such as running, gymnastics, and skating. Aim for 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Move your body often” (10 Tips: Eat Smart and Be Active as You Grow).

In order to help our youth understand how easy it is to include all of the food groups in our meals and snacks and to stay physically active each day, try using these simple activities.

Food Groups Tag

Materials Needed:

  • A lot of space to run around


  1. Start by engaging the club members in a discussion about the five food groups (meat, milk/dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables) and what kinds of foods you can find in each.
  2. To play tag:
  • Have one or two people “it,” depending on the group size.
  • Play normal tag but once a person is tagged, they must sit down until someone who has not been tagged yet comes up to them and shouts out one of the five food groups.
  • Whatever food group they shout out to the person who has been tagged and is sitting down, the person sitting down must shout out a food that belongs in that food group before standing back up and re-entering the game.
  • Since it will be very hard for the one or two people that are “it” to tag everyone, you can set a time limit and end/restart the game after a few minutes and change the person or people who are “it” if you would like.”

Clover Kid Snack Mix/Community Service Project

To get clover kids involved in your club meetings, consider having them learn about the food groups (meats, milk/dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables) by making a snack mix that uses as many food groups as they can. Items could include cereals, peanuts, dried fruits, pretzels, raisins, and chocolate chips. Then, to learn about community service, you could have the clover kids help serve the snack mix to the rest of the club members before or after the regular meeting. To cover the other food groups (milk/dairy vegetables), the snack for the club could include yogurt or milk to drink or a vegetable tray with dip or celery and peanut butter. You could then have the clover kids explain to the club which part of the snack they are serving is from which of the five food groups. (This will also give them some brief presentation experience.)

4-H Contests: Interview Contest

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Again in 2017 the Regional Interview Contest will be held in May at the Lifelong Learning Center in Norfolk, Nebraska. 4-H members that are age 11 and older (11 as of January 1) may participate. More information will be coming your way in 2017. We would be glad you joined us.

What is an Interview Contest?

The Interview Contest is an opportunity for 4-Hers to practice the real-life skill of applying for a job. The contest involves a set of job descriptions members can use to prepare to apply and interview. To enter the Interview Contest the member must:

  • pick one of the three job descriptions,
  • develop a résumé,
  • write an accompanying cover letter,
  • prepare for the interview,
  • fill out a job application the day of the contest,
  • participate in an actual interview.

Contest Resources: Preparing for the Job Search Guide available on the web at

GENERAL RULES: 4-Hers must submit a registration form, three copies of a cover letter and three copies of a résumé. Cover letters and job résumés should not exceed one page each. Each participant’s cover letter, résumé and application will be the result of his or her own efforts. If a contestant’s materials are found to not be their own original work, that contestant will be disqualified. Please use examples related to 4-H experience when preparing their cover letter, résumé, and interview.

The Day of the Contest

Phase 1

Cover Letter (Completed before contest)

Résumé (Completed before contest)

Phase 2

Application (Done day of contest)

Students will complete a standard job application on-site, prior to the personal interview.

Students will assume the application is for the job they provided their cover letter, résumé and references.

Students must provide their own writing utensil.

The use of notes will not be permitted.

Phase 3

Personal Interview (Done day of contest)

The interview will last between ten to fifteen minutes

As this contest simulates an actual job interview, spectators will not be permitted in the interview judging room.


A cover letter and résumé for ONLY ONE of the job descriptions is accepted. Real-life education and experiences should be used to show that you are a good candidate for the job selected. Highlight your 4-H experiences whenever possible.

Premise ID & EID Tags

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Premises identification (Premises ID), along with Electronic Identification (EID), are important steps in tracking where animals are raised, marketed, and exhibited in order to rapidly respond to any animal disease events.

The new Animal ID system that was put into place for market animals shown at State fair and AKSARBEN in 2016 will be used again in 2017. EID tags will be required for all market beef, market swine, market lamb, market meat goats, and feeder calves that intend to be shown at state fair or AKSARBEN. Each EID tag has a unique 15-digit number printed on it and can be read by scanning the tag with an EID wand reader. Animals that intend to only be shown at the county fair can be tagged with either an EID tag or a county only standard ear tag.

These tags are designed to last for the life of the animal and to better track where the animal came from, weight, and vaccination history, etc. In addition to the EID tags for market animals, all must have a DNA hair sample pulled, put into a signed and sealed envelope, endorsed by an Extension Educator, and turned into the County Extension office by April 15th for beef and June 15th for swine, lamb, and meat goats in order to show at State Fair or AKSARBEN.

To help ensure proper use and application of the EID tags, there are some important tips and guidelines to follow. For best practices, use the Allflex Universal Total tagger (red with a red blunt pin), or the EID Ultra Retract-O-Matic tagger (orange). Both may be used to successfully insert EID tags. Be sure to remove the black rubber insert on the bottom of the tagger, before loading the EID tag into the tagger.

The button portion must be placed on the inside of the animal’s ear, and the tag portion faces backwards on the back of the ear. It is recommended that the EID tags be placed in the left ear of the animal and avoid placing tags in existing holes in the ear as this greatly increases the chances of losing the tag.

Exhibitors of 4-H and FFA beef, swine, sheep, and goats that carry an EID tag will be required to obtain a Premises ID number through the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at no cost to the exhibitor. Exhibitors without a Premises Identification number will not be allowed to exhibit at the Nebraska State Fair.

  • The requirement for a Premises ID may not apply at this time to those solely exhibiting breeding animals, unless a producer’s EID tag is in the animal’s ear.
  • A previously obtained Premises ID for the family ranch location where livestock are kept can be used for this purpose.
  • Many swine exhibitors may have a Premises ID through completion of the Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) program. If so, there is no need to obtain another Premises ID for that location through the Dept. of Ag.
  • The obtained Premises ID can apply to more than one youth if there are multiple exhibitors housing livestock at the same location. These youth may be family, or unrelated exhibitors that house their livestock at the same location. Write down and keep track of Premises ID numbers.
  • The Premises ID number will need to be reported to your County Extension Office and/or FFA Advisor promptly

Are You Ready for a Disaster? (Emergency Preparedness)

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Disasters can affect any part of the world at any time of the year, swiftly and without warning. Most people don’t think of a disaster until it is too late; then they suddenly realize how unprepared they are for the massive changes it makes in their lives.

Teaching youth & families how to think/prepare for a disaster is very important. A disaster supplies kit is one way of thinking ahead. A disaster kit is simply a collection of basic items a household may need in the event of an emergency.

Families may need to survive on their own after an emergency. This means having enough food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. Help might arrive in hours or it might take days.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. A disaster supply kit should contain items to help manage during these outages.

Creating a 4-H Disaster Kit can be a worthwhile activity! It can be a learning experience for youth and their families. According to the Nebraska State Fair 4-H Exhibit Book a disaster kit needs the following:

“Disaster Kit (Emergency Preparedness)” - must contain the materials to prepare a person or family for emergency conditions caused by a natural or man-made incident. Selection of materials is left to the exhibitor. Family or group kits must have enough material or items for each person. A description of the kit's purpose, the number of people supported and a list of contents is required. Youth are encouraged to test their kit by challenging their family to try to survive using only the included materials for the designated time. If tested, share that experience in kit documentation. Please include an explanation of drinking water needs for your disaster kit. Do not bring actual water to the fair in the kit. Refer to score sheet SF111.”

The scoresheet contains: 10 points for the container (appropriate size & strength); 10 points for appearance & arrangement of items (contents easily identified by color & label, readily accessible; 10 points for written information, purpose & inventory (neatness, legibility, explanation showing understanding; 70 points Kit contents (warmth, water, food, communication, sanitation, light, miscellaneous supplies with explanation).

Utilizing Jr. Leaders to Serve & Lead

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Serving as a Jr. Leader can, for some 4-H’ers, be the most memorable part of being in 4-H. How can you make sure you are providing opportunities for these opportunities? The first step is to teach the importance of service and teamwork. The second step is to organize many occasions for their leadership to shine.

Completing “A Roomful of Rain” is a short way to remind youth just how much teamwork can accomplish.

  1. Dim the lights and gather everyone in a circle. Look up to the sky, put out your hand, and pantomime putting up an umbrella. “Looks like rain!”
  2. Begin the rainstorm by rubbing your hands together. Starting on your left, invite player to join in, one at a time, around the circle. The gentle swishing creates the sound of soft rain.
  3. Now snap your fingers. As each player around the circle switches, can they hear the rain get heavier? When everyone joins in, the torrent builds.
  4. Finally, turn the rain into a storm by slapping your thighs and stamping your feet in turn, all around the circle.
  5. To calm the storm, reverse the actions, until the last sound is that of just two hands rubbing and the rainstorm is over. As you flip on the lights, say, “Ah, sunshine!”

Ask participants what the storm would have sounded like if it were only one person. How much more powerful was the storm with all of you playing your part? How is working in a team and serving your community like the rain storm you created?

Now, brainstorm ways that Jr. Leaders can be the “rainstorm” in your community. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:

  • Jr. Leader planned year- Youth are much more invested if they come up with the idea, so let the Jr. Leaders plan out the events they want to do for the year. What group do they want to be the focus of their community service? How will they show leadership at events?
  • Create a point system- Categories for earning points can include: meetings, participating in contests, helping at events, community service. They need to earn points to attend a “fun” event.
  • Help during County Fair- They can help with check-in or ribbon attaching on judging days, or lead pledges before each event.
  • Workshop helpers- Offer Jr. Leaders the chance to be assistants at workshops. Since not all parents can attend, they are great helpers to younger kids who need it.
  • Fundraisers- Involve them and give them 50% for their help.

Celebration of Youth: 4-H and CEHS

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On Saturday October 15, the College of Education and Human Sciences’ Textile, Merchandising, and Fashion Design department hosted their 23rd annual Celebration of Youth event recognizing students from across the state for their artistic vision and skill. For three weeks in early October, work completed by these students for competition at county and state fairs is displayed each year in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Robert Hillestad Textiles Gallery. Projects range in style and medium showcasing a student’s talent and passion. This year projects included quilts, accessory apparel, mosaic apparel and a piano key art instillation.

The 26 students recognized at the “Celebration of Youth: A Harvest of Creatives” event in October represent 20 of Nebraska’s 93 counties and range from ten to nineteen years of age. All students recognized through this annual event are invited to campus for a day of workshops, networking and recognition. Workshops are designed for parents and students to learn concepts of design, craftsmanship, and innovation working with a variety of presenters from the department. At the conclusion of the day students are recognized one by one at a formal program by faculty and administration from both the college and department.

Each year, youth from around the state compete at the Nebraska State Fair in the 4-H areas of Clothing, Home Environment, and Quilt Quest. Prize winners are distinguished from across these categories, and gallery audiences witness the creativity, invention and craftsmanship on display. Nebraska 4-H educational programs like the Quilt Quest, Home Environment and Clothing curricula represented in this exhibition, place strong emphasis on key life skills including critical thinking, problem solving, social skills, communication, responsibility, citizenship, and leadership.

Information inquiries and questions about all CEHS programs can be directed to Georgia Gleason at

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