Nebraska Extension 4-H Volunteer Newsletter - February 2018

In the February Spotlight!

  • 4-H Code of Conduct

  • Club Meetings

  • Grab & Go - Team Building

  • Citizenship Washington Focus

  • Livestock ID for State Fair/Aksarben

  • Human Development Project

  • Service Learning

  • Student Study Abroad

4-H Code of Conduct

A code of conduct is a set of rules outlining the social norms, responsibilities of, or proper practices for, an individual or organization.

Nebraska 4-H asks volunteers, parents and members to all sign a code of conduct during enrollment time in an effort to remind everyone how everyone in 4-H needs to conduct themselves.

The primary goal of the 4-H Program is to help youth develop competency in their projects, confidence in themselves and others, build connections to their community and develop sound character. In all cases the document asks participants to agree to abide by six core values of character including trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring, fairness and citizenship because members build these skills and attributes by practicing and following them.

In the case of volunteers, the primary goal as a 4-H volunteer is to help youth gain these skills. Everything volunteers say and do should serve as a positive role model and be consistent with the six core values.

The document sets forth a series of expectations for everyone to follow to allow this learning and development to happen in the right ways. These guiding principles for appropriate behavior in the 4-H program are to keep the program and its participants acting and behaving in the best interest of positive youth development. Items such as responsible treatment of animals, obeying laws and rules, and not using alcohol or illegal substances and more, are behaviors that are expected by all participants in the program. The Code of Conduct and the signature of participants is an agreement that if these behaviors are not followed, consequences around involvement in events, or even the program can be enacted.

The 4-H program strives to provide the best environment for members, parents and volunteers. A code of conduct helps us remind participants that their behavior within the program is important and how we act reflects on the program.

It is recommended that leaders and parents take the time to walk through the code of conduct at meetings and talk about the expectations and consequences so all members, parents and volunteers understand.

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Club Meetings: An Essential part of the 4-H Experience

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Mastery, independence, belonging and generosity. These are the parts that make up the 4-H essential elements to create a positive environment for all youth in the 4-H program. The combination of these promote youth development and empower members to contribute positive impacts to their club, their community, their country and their world!

4-H club meetings have been a primary method of delivery for 4-H members and their families since the foundation of the program. Meetings are structured encounters that serve as an effective means for delivering positive youth learning opportunities. They help guide youth to reach their full potential, while being involved and engaged. Participation in numerous related 4-H events have shown to increase participation, rather than just a single event.

4-H Club meetings almost always have opportunities for club members to learn new things. They also create the perfect environment for active participation and a safe place for youth to meet new friends and share their ideas and opinions. Meetings are perfect avenues to put youth in charge, giving them leadership roles as officers and committee members which in turns provides the members a sense of ownership to their 4-H club. As a leader, you are there to help guide youth, while also providing a safe and caring adult figure who helps form the successful leaders of tomorrow.

Whether you offer a face to face meeting or a virtual meeting they are all vital in building your club and the membership. Don’t just meet to meet, think about the purpose of your gathering. Meetings need to have an agenda to keep the group on task as well as a time limit so that families know what they are to expect when getting involved. Meetings should offer an opportunity for youth to all get involved. Try “Getting to know you” activities or group building tasks.

There are many other extra-curricular at schools, church and other organizations that families must prioritize their activities in which they participate. 4-H meetings must offer true, valuable experiences for members in order for 4-H to retain its position as vital and meaningful in the lives of young people.

Nebraska 4-H requires club membership to have a least 5 youth members from 3 different clubs, an adult leader who has passed the volunteer screening and must meet at least 6 times throughout the year. These meetings focus on 4-H programming, educational experience, community service and so much more!

Grab & Go - Team Building

Group games are fantastic for kids of all ages; not only are such activities fun and engaging for the children themselves, they’re also an opportunity to learn skills such as teamwork, cooperation and creative thinking. Team building activities also give kids the chance to build relationships with each other and develop their social skills.

Team building games typically require participants to work closely together to attain a desired result. Kids learn how to communicate, articulate their ideas and compromise with others during the course of a group game.

Here are a few quick and easy teambuilding activities for all ages:

Hole Tarp

Instructions: The team (5-10 kids) has to keep a ball on a tarp. The catch? The tarp has holes on it, so they have to work together to ensure the ball doesn’t fall through any of the holes! The goal is to have the ball moving on top of the tarp for as long as possible.

All Tied Up

Instructions: Give the team (4-12 kids) a task to complete such as keep a balloon in the air. Sounds simple? The catch is that everyone is tied together by their wrists or holding hands and they cannot let go. The activity teaches them the value of teamwork and the need to communicate well.

Tallest Tower

Instructions: Tallest tower challenges teams (3-5 kids per team) to build the tallest possible tower they can with whatever is provided to them. Use anything that is unbreakable to build the tower: blocks, straws, tape, paper, note cards, etc. On the word “go”, the teams start building a freestanding tower with the materials. Give them 10 minutes to complete. The team that has the tallest tower wins.

At the end of each activity don’t shy away from reviewing the activity. Ask questions that encourage the kids to reflect on their experience and what they learned.

Process (Questions should lead youth to think about):

What procedures or steps they used in doing the activity?

What problems or issues came up as they did the activity?

How they dealt with these problems?

Why the life skill they practiced is important?

Generalize (Questions should lead youth to determine):

What they learned from the experience.

How this learning relates to other things they have been learning.

What similar experiences they have had.

Apply (Questions are structured to address):

How what they learned relates to other parts of their lives.

How they can use what they learned.

How they can apply what they learned to future situations.

Citizenship Washington Focus

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Every summer, high school students from Nebraska and across the country travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF). CWF is the National 4-H Council’s premier leadership and citizenship program for high school students.

The CWF experience includes seven days and six nights of experiencing Washington D.C. while staying nearby at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. CWF is more than sightseeing in and around Washington, D.C. It’s an opportunity for 4‑H members to learn how to be confident leaders and responsible citizens who can make a difference in their communities.

Participants are immersed in the culture and history of Washington through educational workshops, facilitated by highly trained collegiate program assistants. Workshops start with the basics of good citizenship; continue with national issues that our country is facing that relate to every citizen; follow up with instruction about the bill writing process; continue with consensus building and gathering support for their bills; and culminate with action planning for their own communities.

Delegates also learn about various resources on Capitol Hill and prepare for meeting their Nebraska Congressional Delegation. They meet with our Nebraska Senators and Congressman either at the Nebraska Breakfast on Wednesday morning or at their individual offices.

Don’t every think CWF is all work and no play! CWF participants enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at our nation's capital with trips to the United States Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, Mount Vernon, the National World War II Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Smithsonians to name just a few of the special stops during the week.

The youth build new and lasting friendships with other 4-H members from Nebraska and the United States at the National 4-H Center. The 4-H members enjoy various mixers during the week including outside fun, low key games and a dance, as well as eating fabulous food together at the Clover Café!

One 4-H member who experienced CWF said, “I loved this conference and would return, if I had the chance in a heartbeat. The people and the experiences were amazing and I wouldn’t have traded them for the world.”

Contact your local extension office to learn more about CWF and to discover how to sign up with a delegation close to you. Depending on your delegation, you might experience New York City, a Broadway play, the Statue of Liberty, and/or Gettysburg National Military Park. Call now for an adventure of a lifetime!

2018 Livestock ID Requirements for State Fair/Aksarben

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Online Nomination Website:

Nebraska State Fair Entry Website:

Additional Information

County offices can accept paper ID sheets for their own record keeping but these will not be accepted as a form of identification for State Fair and/or AKSARBEN. Each exhibitor may nominate a total, between 4-H and FFA, as follows: Market Beef (10), Market Lambs (20), Market Swine (40), and Market Goats (20) at the State Fair level.

Family Responsibilities: (for State Fair)

1. Exhibitors will be required to enroll in 4-H and the required projects by the county deadline in 4H Online.

2. Exhibitors showing market animals at State Fair or AKSARBEN must have a signed and sealed official DNA collector with hair samples for DNA verification turned into their county office and have completed the online nomination ( along with submitting payment online by the appropriate deadline listed in the table. Any animal carrying an 840 EID tag will require the exhibitor to obtain a Premises ID. Contact the local Extension Office for details. (It is recommended that you make a copy or a photo image of completed envelope you turn into your county.)

3. Exhibitors showing breeding beef, breeding sheep and breeding does at State Fair or AKSARBEN will need to complete an online nomination ( by the June 15 deadline.

4. Exhibitors will be required to complete Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) for the enrolled livestock projects by the county deadline.

5. Exhibitors will notify the County Extension Staff of any retags that may occur up to time of check-in at either the State Fair or AKSARBEN show.

6. Exhibitors will select which animal entries they have chosen to show at State Fair on the State Fair pre-entry website. All nominated and validated animals will be automatically listed as a choice option for pre-entry registration.

7. 4‐H and FFA youth participants will declare which youth organization they will show their animal projects by August 10 in ShoWorks.

8. If an animal is shown in FFA at the State Fair, it is no longer eligible for AKSARBEN. If an animal is entered in FFA, but isn’t exhibited, that animal will still be eligible to be exhibited at AKSARBEN.

Exhibitors will be required to bring the breed registration association paperwork to check-in at State Fair for animals wanting to show in a breed class. The exhibitors name should be identified on the registration paper.

Teaching Kids About Ages & Stages - Human Development Project

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Every child grows and develops differently, doing things at their own pace. However, children generally reach certain milestones in their life at roughly the same time. Ages and Stages is a term used to broadly outline key periods in the human development timeline. The four stages are infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and middle childhood. Having a clear understanding of Ages and Stages will help 4-H youth who have chosen to take the Human Development project.

Infants (Birth to 18 months)

Infants see their world through their senses. To help infants mature and learn it is important to stimulate them. The goal is not to teach the infant but rather to help them interact and explore their world.

Toddlers (18 months to 3 years)

During this time a child is beginning to define them self. Activities that spur imagination and encourage vocabulary development are critical. Toddlers get into everything so it is imperative to keep them safe from potential accidents.

Preschool (3-5 Years)

During preschool years, children like to be busy cutting, pasting, painting, and singing. They are curious. Their minds are like little sponges always absorbing new information.

Middle Childhood (6-9 Years)

School age children continue to learn and are becoming more independent. Friendships are very important at this stage.

The I Have What It Takes To Be A Babysitter 4-H curriculum is a free download that can be found online at There are interactive child development puzzles for each stage on pages 71-79 of the curriculum. Each puzzle lists multiple characteristics for a particular age and stage of children at is a good resource for 4-H youth.

Human Development exhibits for fair which involve designing a toy our activity made for a specific age group are based the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines found at The six areas are:

Social Emotional Development: Projects should focus on creating strong, positive, secure relationships.

Language and Literacy Development: Projects should focus on communication skills such as talking, listening, playing, reading, writing, and learning.

Science: Projects should include a balance of content and multi-sensory experiences. Young children are curious and natural scientists.

Health and Physical Development: Projects could help promote fine and gross motor skills, as well as self-help skills. Children who are healthy and safe are more prepared for school.

Math: Projects should help children develop number and mathematical concepts through meaningful and active learning experiences.

Creative Arts: Creative arts projects should foster creativity and individual expression, self-esteem, imagination, and appreciation of cultural diversities.

Service Learning

Through it’s pledge of “hands to larger service,” 4-H has given back to the community by encouraging young people to volunteer. In 4-H, service is commonly defined as the voluntary action of an individual or a group of individuals without pay. 4-H offers many opportunities to learn through community service and service learning. Service to the community through food drives, park clean-up, developing mentoring programs, fixing up museums, planning local celebrations or youth determining community needs or helping to solve community problems, helps young people learn caring, leadership and citizenship skills.

Community Service and Service Learning are very different in their approach, but they both help youth become more civically engaged in their communities. Service learning focuses more on learning and Community Service focuses more on serving. Service learning is a blending of both service and learning goals in such a way that both occur and are enriched by each other. The main difference between community service and service-learning is intentionally linking the service back to learning objectives, either classroom or 4-H project work.

Below are eight elements to consider when developing a service-learning project or program.

1. Community Needs — Youth should take an active role in identifying community needs.

2. Learning Objectives — Learning objectives can be developed in relation to the objectives found in 4-H project manuals.

3. Youth Voice and Planning— Listen to and engage young people in the planning

process. This provides more ownership and learning opportunities for young people.

4. Orientation and Training — Young people must understand the organization, issues

and skills required to provide effective service and maximize learning.

5. Meaningful Action —The actual service experience itself requires

much planning and thinking. There are many logistics that are important to ensuring a

meaningful experience, including transportation, supervision and risk management.

6. Reflection — Reflect on the process and what was accomplished through service learning. The reflection process helps young people grow on a personal, social

and intellectual level.

7. Evaluation — Evaluation provides an opportunity to assess process (what we did well, what we could have done better) and impact (how have young people and the community changed).

8. Celebration & Recognition — When young people provide valuable service to the

community, their efforts need to be recognized and celebrated. This reinforces the

value and their connection to what they accomplished.


University of Tennessee – Helping Hands-A Leader Guide to Service Learning Projects

Michigan State University –Community Service and Service Learning

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Students Study Abroad

At the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, students have many opportunities to get involved on campus. With our growing population, many students choose to study abroad as a way to learn about diversity and other cultures. The focus of these trips is to help students become global citizens by enhancing their worldview and providing opportunities for them to serve others in various ways. The College of Education and Human Sciences (CEHS) is a leader at the University of Nebraska in providing faculty-led trips around the globe. These trips are transformative as they have had a lasting impact on the students and better prepares them to enter the workforce.

This past summer, CEHS traveled to Salvador, Brazil to study Brazilian culture, families and schools. The faculty leaders, Dr. Springer and Dr. Wilson both have either lived or spent time in country, enriching the cultural experience for all of the students. The goal of this trip was to help students come face to face with a culture different from their own, and to learn that each culture has strengths that can be valued, appreciated and understood. During the trip, students were able to stay with host families, learn about the regional religion; as well as, work with diverse schools catering to students from different socioeconomic status.

Dr. Springer shared the impact traveling to Brazil had on him, “… at times it is an emotional experience, because I get to see how students are changed by this experience and at the same time, I am being changed. Even though I have already lived in Brazil, I come back an even better person.” He appreciates the opportunity students have to go abroad, because it sets their education a part from others. Dr. Springer believes in these trips because it gives his student a global perspective that they may not be able to experience, had they not gone on this type of experience.

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