Nebraska Extension 4-H Volunteer Newsletter - January 2018

In the January Spotlight!

  • NEW Handbook Provides Information on 4-H Council Role, Functions and Expectations

  • Best Practices for Club Leaders

  • Grab & Go - Parli Pro

  • Contests - Presentations

  • Special Garden Project

  • Cooking up Some New 4-H Curriculum

  • Focus on 4-H Food Preservation!

  • Diamond Clover

  • How to Choose a Degree Program

NEW Handbook Provides Information on 4-H Council Role, Functions and Expectations

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The 4-H Council serves as a local group of elected representatives who provide guidance, solicit support and assist in carrying out programs and activities in the interest of the 4-H youth development program. The 4-H Council is made up of volunteers who are interested in promoting positive youth development and represent the demographics, delivery modes and project areas they serve. Their input, fundraising and interaction help to insure 4-H provides the needed educational programs for the area.

The major functions of the 4-H Council are: (1) Develop and Secure Resources (2) Establish and Support Local Policy (3) Advise Development of Local Program Plan (4) Advocate for Youth & Nebraska Extension.

4-H Council members should act in the overall best interest of all young people and are expected to regularly attend Council and committee meetings, volunteer at 4-H events and activities and support the final recommendations and decisions of the Council. The 4-H Council operates under the leadership of the local 4-H Staff.

Specific Basic Functions of 4-H Councils

Specific functions related to resource development in cooperation with your local Extension staff are to: (1) Develop and manage a Council budget to support the planned program. (2) Lead and support fund raising activities to reflect planned budget. (3) Provide resources to provide recognition of those contributing/participating to the 4-H youth development program (youth, volunteers, partners)

Specific functions related to policy support in cooperation with your local Extension staff are to: (1) Establish local policy for the 4-H program when not determined by district, state or national regulations. (2) Provide input to interpreting and enforcing on policy issues when relevant. (3) Serve as support to 4-H staff responsible for carrying out policy.

Specific functions of the 4-H Council related to program advisory in cooperation with your local Extension staff are to: (1) Ensure a comprehensive 4-H youth development program that includes all delivery methods, based on the needs of youth and local needs. (2) Participate in efforts to assess and clarify youth and community needs. (3) Promote full participation by youth and adults in 4-H programming, events and activities, including those outside of the county/area.

Specific functions related to advocacy, in cooperation with your local Extension staff are to: (1) Inform others about Council decisions. (2) Advocate for 4-H, positive youth development and Nebraska Extension.

Best Practices For Club Leaders

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In today’s busy society, it’s often difficult for families to make 4-H a priority.

Finding a time or date for your club to meet can be a struggle in itself.

The following tips will help you, your club members and parents make 4-H a top priority:

Plan a head. To plan a meeting at the last minute is a recipe for low or no participation. Utilize a club calendar and get the dates on the calendar early.

Families will plan around dates/meetings already scheduled. Early dates will help make 4-H the top priority when new commitments arise. Remember to communicate regularly with families by phone, email, or text messages to keep 4-H members informed of meetings, events and their commitment.

Be realistic. Be realistic about the time allotment that families have available for 4-H. Lower your expectations for the number of meetings you hold or projects for members so they can stay involved. Consider that youth may be able to complete some project work at home when their schedule is open instead of planning for the project to be completed as a group.

Be focused. Help families and club members be realistic about what they can accomplish during the 4-H year. Suggest reducing the number of projects to a reasonable level or select one project area and excel in that area. When there are too many projects or expectations about exhibits, it’s not fun anymore, it’s work!

Set clear expectations. What do you expect from club members and parents? What do they expect from you? Communicate regularly with 4-H families and establish expectations. Consider creating a 4-H club contract. Have club members discuss what they expect from each other during meetings. For example, a horse club contract might include: “Treat your horses and others with respect. Be on time for 4-H group activities.

No cell phones used while riding.” The key to a 4-H club contract is youth input. 4-H members create the terms and agree to them as a group. Incorporate incentives/rewards related to the contract. Give stars or prizes!

Keep 4-H fun while getting youth input. Keep things positive and fun for youth and seek their input. They will want to attend meetings and hang out with their 4-H friends if these elements are included. Have contests to encourage participation and to pique their interest. For example: “Email five ideas to the club leader, receive a prize at our next meeting!” Incorporating fun and utilizing youth input will keep 4-H a top priority.

Grab & Go - Parli Pro

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Main motions are vital to the success of a 4-H meeting. However, there are quite a few different motions that can help your meeting stay on track and be even more productive. We are going to focus on Amend in this article so youth have the ability to change motions once they have been brought forth.

Amend is a subsidiary motion – meaning it is a motion that will propose changes or actions to the main motion on the table. There are three ways in which you can amend a motion: insert, strike out, or substitute. Most of our younger kids will struggle with these terms so sticking with adding, deleting or changing is a great way to keep them going.

Let’s see what Amend would like in a meeting. First, someone has moved that the club has a pizza party after the highway clean-up, there has been a second, and maybe some discussion has taken place. Then, Jimmy wants to change the motion.

Jimmy: “Mr. President”

President: “Chair recognizes Jimmy.”

Jimmy: “I move to amend the main motion by changing after to before.”

Member 2: “Second”

President: “It has been properly moved and seconded to change the main motion by changing the word after to before so that the main motion would read that the club has a pizza party before the highway clean-up. Is there any discussion?”

Jimmy, of course, has first rights to discuss why he wants this change. Also, a big note to make here is that when discussion is held on the amendment, members must discuss the before versus after part. They should NOT be discussing whether or not to have a pizza party.

Once discussion is over on the amendment, the president will call for majority vote. If the amendment passes, the group will then discuss the main motion with the changes – to have a pizza party before picking up trash. On the other hand, if the amendment fails, the group will then have to discuss and vote on the original main motion to eat after trash pick-up. Either way you need to discuss and vote on the main motion in order for the group to carry it out.

Have a practice session with your youth before they try to implement with a real motion. Set them up with a fake motion (make it fun so they want to be a part of it!), Ruby will ride a bucking bull to raise money for the club. Then, have them think of ways to amend it using the three correct forms – add, delete, or substitute. If they get stuck, here are some options: substitute the name of someone else or the species they will ride, add a date or location they will ride, and delete the part that says “raise money for the club” because you just want to see Ruby ride the bull. Encourage them to carry it out from main motion to final vote making sure they keep their discussion correct.

Find other motions like Refer to a Committee, Postpone Definitely, or Previous Question to make your meetings more efficient.

Contests - Presentations

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Need your youth to work on their “getting up in front of a crowd and speaking” skills? Consider having them participate in the 4-H Presentation Contests throughout the State. Not sure about what that is? Here’s the scoop:

Within the realm of the presentation contest, an individual could give a presentation by themselves or in a team of two, depending on the category they choose. The youth must be at least 10 years old in order to compete. Participants can choose between an illustrated presentation or a teaching presentation.

The illustrated presentation is a live presentation using visual aids (such as props, posters, computer visuals, handouts, etc.) to show and tell others how to do something. The topics for this presentation should relate to how the 4-H youth is learning about science, healthy living, citizenship, and/or agriculture literacy. The time limit is 6-8 minutes for a presentation given by an individual and 8-10 minutes for a team presentation. Each year, there are a couple of special topics. In 2017, these were Nebraska Agriculture and Nebraska Agriculture/Food Preparation.

The other presentation style is a teaching (trade show) exhibit presentation. This is a live, interactive, trade show style presentation where the youth engage the audience continuously for 30 minutes by showing and telling the audience how to do something while also answering questions. Again, there have been special topics in the past. In 2017, these were Science and Nebraska Agriculture.

The teaching presentation seems a bit daunting at first, especially with the expected time requirement. However, that time will pass rather quickly! In my experiences, I have seen teaching presentations about how to program a robot or how to decorate a cake. To get started with either style of presentation, I suggest that the youth brainstorm a topic they are passionate about and then create their “story telling” presentation around that topic. Encourage the youth to present on one of their “favorites.” This could be a favorite sport, hobby, activity, school function, 4-H project, or other club they are involved in. The possibilities could be endless!

Special Garden Project

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The Nebraska Extension Special Gardening Project lets 4-H members try their hand at growing unusual vegetables and flowers. The project allows experienced 4-H gardeners to grow something fun, new, and different, while letting those new to gardening get their feet wet in this project area.

This project is open to all youth of 4-H age and it will give them the opportunity to learn about growing, harvesting, and exhibiting this unique flower. They will learn to 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 year of 2018 will focus on the Delft Blue Nigella. Delft Blue Nigella is named for the famous Dutch Delft blue pottery. They have unique, 1½ - 2" flowers with blue splashes on flower petals in varying shades of blue and gray, and intricate deep-purple centers. The unusual seed pods are also used in fresh or dried arrangements.

Interested in participating? Youth enroll in the Special Garden Project through 4-H On-Line, then contact their local Extension office to let them know the number packets they will need. The county offices will order and distribute the seeds to the youth.

The flyer about the project, an educational newsletter, and examples of how to exhibit are all available at:

4-H members enrolled in the Special Garden Project will:

  • Receive a ‘packet’ of Delft Blue Nigella (one packet per youth) in March/April.
  • Receive a newsletter containing information about:
  • Planting & growing nigella,
  • Nigella problems & insects,
  • Harvesting & using nigella,
  • Exhibiting nigella.
  • Be able to enter this unique flower at County and State Fair.

State Fair Special Garden Project Educational Exhibit Class G-775-001. The educational exhibit is based on what was learned from the project.

Special Garden Fresh Cut Flowers or Harvested Vegetables G-775-002 (NEW). The current years’ Special Garden Project fresh cut flowers should be entered in this class.

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 at: Youth who complete the evaluation are entered to win a gardening prize.

Questions? Contact Elizabeth Killinger at or 308-385-5088.

Delft Blue Nigella photo courtesy of Johnny’s Select Seeds,, 1-877-564-6697.

Cooking Up Some New 4-H Curriculum!

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It’s a big plate of changes for the 2018 Foods & Nutrition Curriculum for 4-H this year! Instead of the Six Easy Bites, Tasty Tidbits, Fast Foods, You’re the Chef, and Food Works series, Nebraska 4-H will be using the 4-H Cooking Series from Illinois Extension and the National 4-H Council. This 4-H Cooking series teaches youth about food preparation, food and kitchen safety, food science, meal planning and nutrition. Each manual builds on the skills learned in the previous level, and members complete project activities for each level. Not sure which ones to enroll in? See listing below comparing previous choices to what’s new on the menu!

If you were enrolled in SIX EASY BITES, choose COOKING 101!

Cooking 101 focuses on MyPlate, safe food preparation skills, and basic beginning baking projects, such as cookies, muffins, brownies, snacks and cereal based recipes. It also teaches how to set the table for a family meal, measuring dry and liquid ingredients and the importance of handwashing and keeping things clean in the kitchen!

If you were enrolled in TASTY TIDBITS, choose COOKING 201!

Cooking 201 teaches understanding and preventing foodborne illnesses, kitchen and food safety, understanding the Nutrition Food Label and how to make soups, rice, pasta, and other foods. Baking projects include making biscuits and scones, quick breads, creative mixes, coffee cakes, healthy baked products, and using alternative baking methods.

If you were enrolled in YOU’RE the CHEF, choose COOKING 301!

Cooking 301 teaches successful tips and techniques when working with yeast breads, gluten and the different types of fats used in baking. 4-H’ers also learn about menu planning and planning a special themed event. Youth also learn about grilling and outdoor cooking, and making butter! Projects include all yeast breads and rolls and making a shortening cake.

If you were enrolled in FOODWORKS, choose COOKING 401!

Cooking 401 focuses on more technical tricks in food preparation, including using herbs and spices and how to plan that special celebration. Projects include, ethnic foods, foam cakes, projects with herbs baked in them, pies, pastries and candy.

*If you were enrolled FAST FOODS, please check out the different options for the COOKING series, as it incorporates the same teaching lessons throughout. Enjoy what’s on your plate for 2018, it will taste great!

Focus on 4-H Food Preservation!

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Nebraska 4-H will be offering a new food preservation series for youth in 2018! If you are a 4-H’er who likes to grow your garden and then save it for year ‘round use, this project is for you! Developed from the University of Idaho, this series focuses on freezing, drying, water bath and pressure canner preservation methods. All manuals follow USDA food preservation guidelines. Each activity in the manuals conclude with questions for further learning.


For ages 8-18, the freezing project manual covers the basics of healthy eating and food safety and specific instructions for freezing fruits; juices; vegetables; meat, fish, and poultry; and convenience foods such as pizza. Sixteen hands-on activities engage youth in freezing a variety of foods and using frozen foods in recipes, menus, and taste tests.. As these items are frozen, they are not suitable for a 4-H Exhibit as is, however 4-H’ers may enter a baked item MADE from a food they froze, for example – peach pie made with frozen peaches the 4-H’er froze using techniques outlined in this project. Please see your fairbook for more complete exhibit information.


For ages 8-18, the drying project manual covers the basics of healthy eating and food safety and specific instructions for drying fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Thirteen hands-on activities engage youth in drying a variety of foods and using dried foods in recipes, menus, and taste tests. There are many options for entering dried fruits, vegetables and “leathers” for 4-H’ers to exhibit at the fair, including a new option to exhibit a baked item that had ingredients that 4-H’er dried, for example, Rosemary Herbed Focaccia Bread, with techniques outlined in this project. Please see your fairbook for more complete exhibit information.


For ages 8-18, the boiling water canning project manual covers the basics of healthy eating and food safety and specific instructions for canning fruits, tomatoes, tomato salsa, pickles, and jams and jellies with and without added pectin. Sixteen hands-on activities engage youth in canning a variety of foods and using canned foods in menu planning and taste tests.


For ages 14-18, the pressure canning project manual covers the basics of healthy eating and food safety and specific instructions for canning vegetables, dry beans, meats, poultry, fish, and prepared recipes such as spaghetti sauce and soups. Ten hands-on activities engage youth in canning a variety of foods and using canned foods in menu planning and taste tests.

Diamond Clover

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Are you looking for a fun, attainable program all 4-H’ers can participate in and be successful? Consider participating in the Nebraska 4-H Diamond Clover Program. This noncompetitive program is designed to encourage 4-H youth to engage in a variety of projects and activities that will enable members to acquire the life skills necessary to lead successful lives as competent, caring, and contributing citizens. Providing 4-H’ers a rich and diverse learning experience is the program’s overall goal. The program consists of six levels that require a 4-H member to plan and report a broad range of age-appropriate accomplishments. It is designed to enable every 4-H member willing to exert the effort an opportunity to be recognized, regardless of how they are involved in 4-H.

For each level, the Diamond Clover program provides a list of age-appropriate activities, increasing in number and difficulty for each level. At the beginning of the 4-H year, youth choose goals from a provided list for their level. At the end of the 4-H year, youth report their accomplishments and share what they learned.

For example, Amethyst is the first level and is anticipated for youth ages 8-9. It requires completing at least three of the following accomplishments:

· Learn the 4-H Pledge, Motto and Colors

· Attend at least 60% of club/project meetings

· Attend at least one local 4-H activity or event (i.e. educational program, contest, county fair)

· Host a meeting, provide refreshments, lead a game or give a report

· Help with 4-H promotion (i.e. hand out 4-H window clings, make 4-H bookmarks for libraries, wear 4-H T-shirt, give out seed packets with “4-H Helps You Grow” labels)

· Complete at least one 4-H project

· Complete your 4-H Career Portfolio for the year

· Bring a friend to a 4-H meeting or activity

· Other (appropriate for Level 1)______________________

The final level, Level 6—Diamond, requires completing eight accomplishments and a major service learning project that benefits a 4-H member’s community.
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To learn more about the Nebraska 4-H Diamond Clover Program, go to:

Benefits of Diamond Clover Program

For youth:

• Recognition improves self-esteem of youth

• Enhance the progress toward self-set goals

• Develops life skills

• Encourages and supports lifelong learning

• Provides opportunities for youth/adult partnerships

• Resume building

For volunteers/adults:

• Provide achievement opportunities to 4-H members

• Encourages positive and progressive leadership in youth

• Promotes retention and recruitment for 4-H membership

• Engages 4-H members in a variety of educational projects and activities

• For all members

For communities:

• 4-H develops competent, caring, and contributing citizens

• Prepares youth and adult leadership in the community

• Provides source of community pride
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How to Choose a Degree Program

Graduating from high school comes with many other decisions for students. First is what to do after graduation. If you choose college, then comes the choice of which school. You look at many factors to decide on the perfect place, such as student life, proximity to home, and most importantly, the degree program that best suits your career goals.. Some students know the answers to these questions right away, and some take time to decide. But with these decisions made, there leaves just one more question. What degree program will you chose? (Let’s think about rewording this paragraph a bit. I think picking a degree program should go along with selecting a school.)

The degree program for a student might be the most important choice you will make when coming to college. Your degree program is going to set you down a path that will hopefully lead you to a career that will be fulfilling, rewarding, and one that you are passionate about. But with 150 different majors at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Nebraska- Lincoln alone, that decision can be a daunting one.

The first thing I recommend for students to do is to print the list of majors offered at UNL from our website, and go through the list and cross out all of the majors that are not of interest to you. With that shorter list, go through and think about jobs you could have with each degree program, and envision yourself in those positions. If you cannot see yourself happily thriving in those careers, cross them out as well. Now you will start to have a better idea of what you should go to college to study.

The second part of the search, once you’ve done some personal research about the remaining degree programs on your list, is to schedule campus visits. During these visits you will meet with academic advisors in the programs you choose that will give you more information on types of jobs you can receive with that degree, what your courses you will be taking, and other key information about the major.

If you have any questions about the degree programs offered at UNL or want to schedule a campus visit, please contact Carly Horstman at or 402-472-4445!
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