Nebraska Extension 4-H Volunteer Newsletter - July 2017

In the Spotlight for July!

  • 4-H Leaders Share Their Stories

  • Social Media and 4-H Clubs

  • Club Activity: Trust Walk Activity

  • 2017 Culinary Challenge Contest

  • Tips for Showing Beef

  • Food Preservation Canning Tips

  • Service Learning

  • Food Science & Technology Department

4-H Leaders Share Their Stories

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Each 4-H volunteer has a story to tell and a lesson learned. These stories and lessons are all Nebraska 4-H Alumni who chose to serve as a 4-H Leader. They choose to give back and be a role model for the next generation what was role modeled for them.

In the first 4-H alum’s story, the lesson is to provide role models for your 4-H club members. “While in college I missed the volunteering and became a member of many club’s to keep that desire… alive. Many times this meant I lead the activities because I was so familiar with setting activities up through 4-H. It also made me realize what 4-H has done for me and the role models I have had, so throughout college and now into the work force I still volunteer as a 4-H leader, so I can be that person for someone else.”

In the next story, the second lesson is in the power of learning a name. “One of my most vivid memories of my 4-H leader was when I arrived at one of my first 4-H events. I timidly opened the door, and the first thing I heard was, "Hi, Emily!" I couldn't believe that this person (who was a stranger to me at the time) knew my name. She welcomed me, asked me to make a name tag…My leader taught me that one of the most caring things a person can do is learn another's name. It makes the other person feel valued and important.”

The final lesson is to provide opportunities for club members to give back. “My leader showed me how to be a caring person to a wide range of people and to break the wall of judging others. She did this by showing me…compassion, but also through the activities she provided us with. For example, …she provided an opportunity working with the homeless. It was scary the first time visiting the shelter to give out scarfs because they looked rough and intimidating to go talk to. But through her actions and being a role model to us I was able to watch her interaction with the homeless and go talk to other’s on my own.”

Social Media and 4-H Clubs

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In today’s world, youth and adults use a significant amount of technology and the internet in their everyday life. Social media plays a big part in the communication of our youth and adults who use such platforms as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Social media is stated in the dictionary as websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts.

In 2014 approximately 87 percent of adults and 92 percent of youth were online using social media tools, according to Pew Research Center. With a large portion of the population using social media, club leaders can save time and energy when trying to share information on upcoming activities for the club.

Social media is an opportunity to showcase the work of its members, to promote 4-H and to offer a means of communicating with the public about the activities of your club.

Some of the benefits of having a social media account for the club are:

  • The club has a place for all club information.
  • Clubs are able to communicate to schedule upcoming events.
  • People within the club can display projects that club members have made.
  • If club meetings are missed, members are able to find out information via social media pages.
  • 4-H clubs on social media are an advocate for the 4-H program in general.

With the advantages of using social media for clubs, there are also basic guidelines each club should follow:

  • A 4-H club leader or volunteer should work with youth in setting up social media accounts.
  • Youth under the age of 19 must not have their home addresses, home phone numbers, cell phone numbers, or personal e-mail addresses listed.
  • Do not use the name of 4-H members when posting 4-H photos.
  • Follow all policies regarding the use of the 4-H name and emblem and be sure to use a proper 4-H logo.
  • Do not post copyright materials which includes videos and music.
  • No negative comments, articles, or pictures against the club, county program, or people are allow.

As social media continues to be on the up-rise for youth and adults, creating social media pages, blogs or accounts is a great way to communicate. Please, always remember what the 4-H program stands for and be that connection with the community.

Club Activity: Trust Walk Activity

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Description: A team building activity involving leadership and trust as people navigate each other around obstacles.

Life Skills: Nurturing Relationships, Listening, Communication, & Teamwork


  • Blindfolds
  • Any props you can use as minor obstacles

Recommended Setting: Outside

Building a relationship with others often begins with building trust. If a leader is to be successful, he/she must have the trust of other team members. Trust is important in all of our relationships. In addition to trusting others, you must be trustworthy. In this activity you will experience trust when a friend leads you blindfolded through an obstacle course.

  1. A walking path is set up with several obstacles. The obstacles should represent risks to you.
  2. You are embarking on a journey.
  3. Working in pairs, one youth wears a blindfold. If you are not comfortable wearing a blindfold, then close your eyes.
  4. It is the responsibility of the un-blindfolded youth to keep their partner safe and to be the guide.
  5. Blindfolded youth hold their partner’s arm. Guides should be sensitive to their partners’ physical emotional and psychological safety.
  6. You may use verbal clues with your partner, but try to do the activity non-verbally.
  7. Embark on your journey.
  8. The blindfolded youth will let his/her guide know if you are too uncomfortable to continue.
  9. Halfway through the activity, switch places. Now the guide becomes blindfolded.
  10. Repeat the journey but try to go through the course in a faster time.


  • What did it feel like to be guided?
  • What did your guide do to make you feel safe and comfortable?
  • What communication took place between the guide and partner?
  • What are some leadership skills you used in this activity?
  • Why do you think trust is important in both the leader and the follower?
  • In what other experiences have you put your trust in someone else?
  • It is easier to trust yourself or others? Which comes first?

4-H Contests: 2017 Culinary Challenge Contest

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There is no place like Nebraska and the State Fair to showcase our 4-H’ers skills! The Culinary Challenge Contest is just the place for young teams of youth to demonstrate health decision making through nutrition, menu planning, food preparation and food safety, as well as learning about Nebraska commodities!

The Culinary Challenge Contest is open to 4-H youth from 10 – 18 years in age. They must be enrolled in a 4-H Foods and Nutrition project and be a team of 2. The registration fee is $5 per 4-H’er.

Youth participate in the contest by choosing a theme and a table setting for the event. A challenge ingredient will be selected each year, highlighting a Nebraska commodity food product. The 2017 challenge ingredient is dried beans, peas and lentils. These may be used in any form, including dry-packaged or canned. More information about the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission may be found at Each team must incorporate the challenge ingredient into their food item they will be presenting during the contest. This may require altering a recipe or creatively incorporating an item into their overall table theme. (For example: hummus, bean salads, soups, baked beans, or any other recipe using dried beans, peas or lentils in a creative way).

Each team will have an interview with the judge. The challenge ingredient must also be included in the interview presentation, demonstrating youths’ knowledge of the ingredient, such as nutritional value, a farm-to-fork concept, or how to adapt a recipe to include the ingredient.

The Culinary Challenge Contest is a great way for the 4-H’ers to learn more about Nebraska commodities and how we use them in food preparation. You do not need to qualify through a county contest to participate, but if a table setting or food preparation contest is an event available, it’s a great way to practice skills needed to present at the State Fair.

More information regarding proper table setting guidelines, recipe development resources, and food safety guidelines are also available through the website at

Tips for Showing Beef

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Over the past few years there has been a significant shift to Blow and Go shows at county, state and national beef shows. With the shift to Blow and Go Shows (no glue/adhesives and no paint), beginning youth and adults may have various questions and may not have the knowledge, skill level and equipment needed to properly fit their 4-H beef projects. The intent of this article is to provide some Blow and Go fitting tips in prepping the beef animal to show.

Grooming Equipment Needed

The first step is determining what equipment is needed. An assortment of brushes and combs are crucial for removing dead hair; as well as, washing and training the hair of the animal. Generally, cattle should be brushed and combed forward, and slightly up, at a 30-45-degree angle. To promote hair growth, try to keep your animal cool with a fan and increase the number of times per day you wet down and brush the steer or heifer. A blower is also important, for not only drying the animal, but it will also help train and keep the hair clean. Clippers may be another piece of equipment to consider; however, before purchasing, consult a show-supply salesman to determine the correct clippers for the skill level of the youth.

Other necessary items to consider would be a show stick and leather show halter and maybe a blocking chute to keep the animal constrained while clipping and/or preparing the animal for a show.


There are various methods of fitting beef cattle, but the whole purpose of grooming and fitting beef animals is to make them look attractive. Before any clipping or fitting is done, study the animal and evaluate its strong and weak points and plan to fit the animal by making the weak points look as good as possible and accentuating the strong points. A lot of this can be done with clipping. The majority of the clipping should be done before ever attending a show. Keep in mind though that hair can’t be put back on the calf after it’s been taken off.

For the majority of Blow and Go Shows, adhesives/glues and paint are not allowed. Show supply dealers carry an assortment of other show day dressings and compounds such as show foams and sprays that do not have any adhesive properties. In order to know which products to use and how to properly apply it,

the best advice is to experiment at home with some of these products and select the ones that do the best job.

Fitting a calf for show is something that should be done about 30-45 minutes before show time. Don’t make the mistake of standing a calf in the blocking chute or getting them up to early in the stall because the calf will get tired and will not show well in the ring.

Food Preservation Canning Tips

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Home canning might be considered an art and a science. We often let our creative side take over! We cannot create our own recipes, improvise, and make decisions based on half-truths. To ensure the safety and well-being of those who consume your home canning you must all be current on the most up to date guidelines. There are crucial guidelines to assure home preserved products are safe for everyone. Remember these tips for safe canning. Carefully select and wash fresh produce. Use current and researched based recipes and follow recipes exactly. Use canning jars with self–sealing lids.

Processing Methods - Current USDA processing methods and altitude adjustments must be followed for all food preservation. Jam, preserves and marmalades, fruit, tomatoes and pickled products must be processed in a boiling water bath. All non-acid vegetables and meats must be processed in a pressure canner. Recipes can come from any source, but current USDA guidelines for food preservation methods must be followed. See for current USDA guidelines. Check with your local extension office for your county's altitude and how to adjust food processing times and pressure.

When preparing your canned products for county and state fair, remember canning exhibits must have been canned since September 1 of the previous calendar year.

Jars and lids should be the same size, not necessarily the same brand. Half pint jars may be used for jellies and preserves. The jars are not to be decorated by the exhibitor in any way. Canning jars must be used - others will be disqualified. No one-fourth pint jars allowed. Leave jar rings on for fair display, it helps protect the seal. One entry per exhibitor per class. Limit of three entries per exhibitor in Food Preservation. Spoiled or unsealed container disqualifies entry. Improperly canned items will be disqualified. Exhibits will be judged according to score sheets available at your local Extension office. Incomplete exhibits will be lowered a ribbon class. Canned food items not processed according to altitude in the county will be lowered one class ribbon. Recipe must be included, may be handwritten or typed. Commercially prepared mixes are not allowed. See for current USDA guidelines, how to find your Nebraska altitude, and proper procedures for food preservation. Jars should be labeled with name of 4-H’er, county, name of product and date of processing. Secure label on jar bottom. All canned foods must include the following:

Method of preservation, type of pack, processing time, number of pounds of pressure, altitude, recipe and source of recipe.

Service Learning

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Most of us have done some type of a community service project. Maybe picking up trash along a roadway, donating resources for a food drive, or visiting residents at a nursing home. This is one step to be more community focused for youth audiences. A core activity of positive youth development programs should deal with service learning opportunities for youth. What does this mean? Youth are able to examine the issues in the community and develop a plan to achieve the project. They are able to apply knowledge, skills, and critical thinking to the problem. There are four types of service learning. They include the following:

  • Direct: the project directly meets a need in the community (trail building, mentoring, visiting the elderly)
  • Indirect: the project supports direct service that meets a need in the community (organizing volunteers, mailings, raising funds)
  • Raising Awareness: the project outcome is designed to enlighten and educate a group on an issue or problem (community health campaign, texting and driving, etc.)
  • Advocacy: the project selects one side of an issue and advocates for or promotes it (writing letters to the editor, researching and testifying for legislation, creating a protest or rally)

There are three components to a service learning project: youth involvement, meaningful service, and reflection. Youth will be able to learn valuable skills as they plan, organize, and implement the project. They may see a need in a community that adults have not addressed before, and adults play a critical role in helping youth prioritize the community needs. A key component of service learning is reflection which occurs before, during, and following the project. They are able to reflect on the experience to discuss the “What”, “So What”, and “Now What”. Youth are able to make the connections of the service project and how it will influence lifelong learning.

Here are the five steps to implement a service learning project:

  • Assess and identify the need
  • Plan and prepare
  • Experience meaningful service
  • Analysis and evaluation
  • Celebration

Service learning ties in well with citizenship and leadership development for youth audiences. What does citizenship mean to you? The definition of citizenship is the character of an individual viewed as a member of society. This definition happens to follow the mission of the National 4-H program to empower young people to be well-informed citizens who are actively engaged in their communities and the world. 4-H is a valuable program to teach all youth about using positive character traits to help within the community. The service learning projects that youth are able to address can fall into the 150 different 4-H projects offered in Nebraska 4-H. 4-H youth can challenge themselves to try new service activities within their projects to develop of sense of volunteerism for their community.

Learning about service learning, citizenship and leadership happens all the time within 4-H activities. Youth might serve as an officer of a club to learn about parliamentary procedure, join a committee to plan out an event for the club, or be a part of the service learning project. One of the capstone events familiar to many is the 4-H CWF (Citizenship Washington Focus) trip that youth attend during their high school career. 4-H teens learn about citizenship and how they are a contributing member of society; travel to Washington, D.C., to see the United States government in action and learn about the past through historical sites; and plan a service learning project that they could complete after the project.

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Food Science & Technology Provides Great Career Opportunities

Do you like creating foods or making sure food is safe to eat? If yes, we encourage you to explore a major in Food Science and Technology at UNL. Food Scientists “impact the world three times a day”. Food Science and Technology curriculum includes a balance of courses in food science, biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and humanities. Food science courses include food processing, food engineering, food analysis, food chemistry, food microbiology, nutrition, quality assurance, and commodity processing courses. This program is designed to allow the student to develop an area of emphasis that fits their career goals by providing technical elective hours that are chosen by the student. Students may participate in an internship program that provides summer employment in the food industry.

Food Science and Technology majors find career opportunities with food processing firms, government agencies and educational institutions. Types of positions available to food science and technology graduates include product development, quality assurance, food plant management, food research, food marketing and sales, education and extension. Food Science and Technology graduates can also pursue careers in medicine, pharmacy, other health-related careers as well as law.

UNL facilities are among the best in the United States state-of-the-art equipment and the dedicated professors that have received college-wide as well as national awards for excellence in teaching and research. There are established funds available for scholarships, unique opportunities for internships and undergraduate research. The Food Science department is student-oriented meaning all of our classes, including laboratory sections are taught by professors.

Learn more by contacting: Sara Roberts, Student Services Coordinator,, (402) 472-2843 or viewing their website at:

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