SPOTLIGHT ON 4-H

Nebraska Extension 4-H Newsletter - April 2016

In the Spotlight for April!

  • Animal ID for State Fair and AK-SAR-BEN

  • Recruiting New 4-H Members

  • 4-H With Passion and Purpose

  • 4-H + Future Business!

  • Updating Clothing and Textile Projects

  • Minding Your 4-H Manners

  • Clover Kid Cuties!

  • Studying Insects as a Career

Animal ID for Nebraska State Fair and AK-SAR-BEN

New for 2016 in the livestock arena, there are changes that are being made for Animal Identification for the Nebraska State Fair and AKSARBEN. The first big change is the use of EID tags in the ears of any Market Beef, Feeder Calf, Market Goat, Market Swine (AKSARBEN will require Ear notches) and Market Sheep. As in past years, market animals must also submit a DNA envelope to their county office. Scrapie tag numbers will be used for Breeding Goat and Breeding Sheep identification. Breeding Beef will be allowed to use a tattoo; however bangs tattoos will not be accepted as a form of ID. Another change is the use of Breeding Nomination Cards. These cards must be filled out for any breeding animal (beef, sheep and goats), wanting to be exhibited at the State Fair or AKSARBEN. Each breeding nomination card will cost $2.

There will be NO Online ID, as State Fair required last year. The pre-entry deadline for ShoWorks is August 10. Same EID tags will be used for 4-H and FFA animals this year. On the pre-entry deadline of August 10, the exhibitor will distinguish which animals will show as FFA or 4-H for the State Fair and AKSARBEN shows.

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Recruiting New 4-H Members

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4-H club membership is open to youth ages 5-18 and recruitment for 4-H can happen at any time throughout the year. Some recruiting ideas include:

  • Have a 4-H recruitment message displayed on a school or community’s digital announcement board.
  • Ask a local movie theater to host a movie or to put up a trailer about 4-H during a certain week or month.
  • Have a group of your older 4-Hers visit the elementary schools to give a brief presentation on 4-H.
  • Ask elementary students to give a presentation to their classroom and bring a 4-H exhibit to show.
  • Check with your local Nebraska Extension office for a handout, to use when recruiting. A handout with contact information can also be shared and sent home with the students at area schools.
  • Do a local radio public service announcement, decorate a business store window or put up a bulletin board at their local school.
  • County fair also provides recruitment opportunities to invite new families to experience or participate in the fun.
  • When community events are happening set up a booth to promote your club or program.
  • Host a 4-H bowling party, skating party, or an afternoon at an activity center to showcase 4-H.

Recruitment of new 4-H members is a joint adventure between current members, families, leaders, and the Extension staff. For those of us who are familiar with the 4-H program, we know it is easy to talk 4-H to someone who grew up in the 4-H Program. We can expand our thinking and way of doing things to greet new audiences. Thank you for all that you do as leaders to help promote the 4-H program in Nebraska!

Igniting Passion and Purpose with 4-H

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Incredible things happen when youth find passion and purpose. One example of a passionate, empowered youth doing great things is North Carolina resident, Daniela Berry. Daniela utilized her passion for gardening to impact and improve food security in her county (http://www.nc4hstories.org/page/plant-a-row---reaping-what-you-sow-1).

Another example of youth with purpose is a group of young New York knitters. These youth organized a knit-a-thon to provide New York and New Jersey residents with warm clothing after Hurricane Sandy left them without power or heat (https://nys4hsuccess.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/4-h-knit-a-thon-helps-support-hurricane-sandy-victims-and-sandy-hook-school-district/).

So what do these passionate, purposeful youth have in common? 4-H.

4-H volunteers have an incredible opportunity to take part in creating passionate, purposeful youth. Volunteers can begin this process with a few simple actions.

4-H volunteers are in a perfect position to expose youth to opportunities in many different interest areas. Utilizing business and community leaders to provide activities and lessons that highlight their career field or area of expertise is a great place to start.

Asking youth about their interests and what they feel their talents are is another great place for a volunteer to start. Volunteers can continue the conversation and encourage youth by talking to them about what the volunteer sees as the youth’s strengths. Volunteers can also help youth think about how they can use their interests and strengths to make their community a better place.

Helping youth set goals for their future is one of the most important tools 4-H volunteers can provide youth. As volunteers help youth set goals, they should focus on SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (http://www.greenville.k12.oh.us/Downloads/SMART-Goals-Web-2013.pdf).

Empowerment is another important aspect of igniting passion and purpose. Volunteers can empower youth by encouraging them to pursue opportunities beyond their comfort zone. This could include such activities as helping youth apply for state-wide conferences or assisting them in making connections to start a service project benefitting a local organization.

Finally, 4-H volunteers should allow empowered youth to expand and explore their interests. This may include leaving an interest behind in pursuit of a new one. As youth grow and mature their interests will develop as well. What interested them as a brand-new, eight-year-old 4-H member may be very different from what interests them at age 16.

The work that 4-H volunteers perform is ever important. 4-H volunteers play a significant role in creating passionate, purposeful youth. Though youths’ interests may change, the guidance that 4-H volunteers provide youth will help them pursue their passions for the rest of their lifetime.

4-H Projects = Future Business

Many of the skills learned in 4-H can be translated to successful careers. Often times, a 4-H’er has learned to make an exhibit so well that the craft or creativity make it unique enough to sell. In that case, the exhibit could become a product and the 4-H’er could become a business owner. Here are a few tips on turning 4-H projects into a business.


Test the market

Before launching your business, minimize risk by testing to see if there is enough interest in your product. Things to try (parental supervision is recommended):

  • Make a few samples and post them for sale on a local buy/sell/trade Facebook page.
  • Take your product to a local craft show or farmer’s market.
  • Ask if you can sell your product at a friend’s garage sale.
  • Survey potential customers to gauge interest in your product.


Get Registered

Once you have determined that there is enough interest in your product to build a business, it is time to make it official. If you are starting a new business in Nebraska, you may need to register with the Nebraska Department of Revenue. Registration is required if you will have employees, intend to engage in retail sales, renting/leasing tangible personal property, or will be providing services which are subject to sales tax. Go to www.revenue.nebraska.gov/business.


Make a plan

A business plan helps to outline logistics for how you will run your business. Running your business will require making a lot of decisions and some will have to be made rather quickly. Having a business plan will help you organize your thoughts in order to make those tough decisions easier. Resources for creating a business plan can be found at www.teachingkidsbusiness.com.


Create your image

Every business needs a recognizable marketing scheme. First, name your business. Do a quick online search to make sure that your business name is unique. Next, create your logo and slogan. A logo is a symbol that represents the business or product. A slogan is a short, catchy phrase used to explain your business belief or product features. Keep it simple. A marketing scheme should be concise and memorable.


Sell, Sell, Sell!

One of the best ways to grow a small business is to offer excellent customer service. Be sure to thank each customer after every purchase. Consider checking back with customers to make sure that the product met their expectations and fit their need. Before you know, word will spread and your business will be growing fast!

Updating Your 4-H Clothing and Textiles Projects

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As you may know, 4-H clothing projects have gone through a bit of a makeover this past year. New curriculum brought new exhibit classes at county fairs and the Nebraska State Fair. Here are a few ideas to incorporate some of the new STEAM concepts into your clothing projects.

Embossing Velvet

Embossing velvet is easier than one might think. Designs are created using heat, producing sunken and iridescent images that can appear shadowy or reflective depending on the fiber content of the velvet itself. Care of your velvet: dry clean only, and spot clean if necessary.

  1. Heat iron to the wool setting. No steam.
  2. Lightly spritz the stamp and wipe your hand across the stamp so that all of the parts are dampened, without large droplets.
  3. Place the stamp, image-side up, on the ironing surface.
  4. Place the velvet, pile-side down, over the stamp.
  5. Press the iron on the velvet over the area that covers the stamp for 10-20 seconds. Avoid having iron steam holes positioned against the stamp. Keep the iron flat. A little sliding back and forth or side to side across the stamp can help you get a crisper image and reduce the visibility of marks from holes in the iron plate or iron cover. Make sure to keep the iron level, so that no movement causes the velvet to shift and that all parts of the stamp are covered by the iron.
  6. Pull the iron up. If your velvet sticks to the iron, the iron is too hot. If you see any wet spots, lightly set the iron down again to dry it out.
  7. Check the image.

Silk Scouring

Sericin is the protein secreted by the silk worm as it spins the cocoon. It acts like a starch, stiffening the filament, which facilitates the warping of the loom and the weaving of silk cloth. Most silk that we purchase has been scoured or de-gummed leaving a soft, lustrous fabric. Some silk fabrics retain the seracin to create stiff fabrics such as silk organza, silk gazar, or silk netting. Sericin has a rough molecular surface and will absorb more dye than a smooth scoured silk fiber.


  1. Weigh dry fabric in ounces. Rinse fabric in warm water.
  2. Measure Soda Ash: 10% of dry weight of fabric, or 5% for silk organza; compensate for the area that is resisted by a shibori technique.
  3. In a large pot, add enough water for the fabric to move freely and bring to a near boil; add soda ash and 1/2 to 1tsp. of Synthrapol.
  4. Test pH using a test strip. pH should be about 10.
  5. Immerse fabric and simmer 20-30 minutes.
  6. Rinse fabric in plain water first, then rinse in Synthrapol and water to remove alkali (soda ash).
  7. Dye fabric as desired.

Minding Your Manners

Good table manners are an important skill for youth to learn at an early age. Throughout their lives, youth will have to eat in front of others. Dining with good manners is an important way to make a great lasting impression, as well as a way to ensure that one is invited again – whether to their friends’ homes, on dates, and to dinner meetings.

Before sitting at the table, it’s important to wash hands. While sitting at the table, the conversation should be pleasant. Possible conversation could include discussion on activities during the day, plans for tomorrow, plus current events. Remember the dinner table is not a place to whistle, sing, or shout.

The first item of business when sitting down at the table is to place the napkin in one’s lap. Next take a look at the silverware. The fork is on the left of the plate, while the knife and spoon are on the right of the plate. The knife is closest to the plate, with the sharp edges of the knife facing toward the plate.

If there is more than one fork or spoon, use the outermost utensil first. The silverware is positioned in the logical order of use; in other words, moving toward the plate, so the outermost fork for the salad, while the innermost fork for the dinner itself.

Please and thank you are two important phrases that are the cornerstone of good manners. They show gratitude and appreciation instead of entitlement. When asking for an item you want, take peas for example, say “Please pass the peas.” and once you receive the dish, state “Thank you.”

Etiquette experts agree that one of the most important table manners is to chew with your mouth closed. After all, no one wants to see what’s in there! It’s also important to dine as quietly as possible, no need for slurping.

Another important element of proper table manners is to speak with your mouth empty. This goes hand-in-hand with chewing with your mouth closed. At best, it’s distracting to speak to someone who has food in their mouth and it can be hard to understand them. At worst, it’s unappealing.

Finally, put the cell phone away. Unless you are a physician on call, there is no need to have a cell phone at the dinner table. If you need to make an urgent call, make it either before or after sitting down. If a real emergency occurs during dinner, excuse yourself and walk to another room to place the call.

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The World of Clover Kids!

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Never will you find a group of 4-H members so enthusiastic but sometimes shy, excited, but sometimes quiet and appreciative with high fives and hugs all around! (And many times those are from the parents!) 4-H Clover Kids is a 4-H program for children ages 5-to 7- years old. Children participate in hands-on activities designed to build lots of different life skills. The most important life skills for the 5- to 7-year-old age group are:

  • Respecting Self
  • Communicating
  • Solving Problems
  • Thinking Critically
  • Choosing Healthy Lifestyles


What can 4-H Clover Kids do?

  • Explore science with simple science experiments
  • Practice communication skills
  • Strengthen motor skills through arts and crafts
  • Make friends and learn to work with peers
  • Attend special Clover Kid Camps – one day or multi-day camp-like events


What can’t 4-H Clover Kids do?

  • Clover Kids cannot show large animals – for safety, liability, and competitive reasons often associated with livestock shows, some restrictions are necessary to maintain Clover Kids program objectives. According to the 4-H Policy and Procedure Handbook, Clover Kids should not participate in animal events when the animal is greater than 350 pounds or more than six months of age at the time of the show. Children eight and under often lack the mental and physical skills for controlling and understanding the strength of large animals. Check with your local Extension Office for more specific information.
  • Clover Kids cannot compete. Studies show Clover Kids are more likely to develop confidence, creativity, and competence in noncompetitive environments. The Clover Kids program corresponds with the child’s stages of physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development. They can however enter exhibits for participation ribbons, comments from the judge and even judge interviews. County rules vary regarding what activities Clover Kids can take part in.


Where can I get ideas for 4-H Clover Kids?
Go to: http://child.unl.edu/cloverkid for great project ideas for 4-H Clover Kids. Such as:

  • Let’s Get Outdoors: Scavenger Hunt!
  • Animal Caretaker
  • An Insect’s Life
  • Counting Coins Watch It Grow
  • Watch It Grow
  • Aerospace Activity
  • Color Changing Milk
  • Cooking Utensils & Cooking Terms
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Studying Insect Science!

Do you know club members captivated by their 4-H entomology projects? Do they get excited when they find and identify a new specimen for their collection? Have they started raising bees and harvesting honey? Are they interested in growing food, saving lives, helping animals and fighting crime through their insect fascination? Then, the Insect Science program at UNL is a perfect major for them.

Insect Science is the study of the most abundant creatures on earth. Insects have a direct effect on our ability to produce food, maintain biological diversity and preserve the overall health of plants, animals and humans. The Insect Science program provides a variety of options to match student interests and career paths with students focusing on integrated pest management for crop protection, public health concerns, crime scene investigation or environmental issues.

The UNL Insect Science program is one of the leading undergraduate entomology programs in the country. Students will learn from research faculty who are passionate about their areas of interest. Other unique aspects of the program include credits for experiential learning, the opportunity to complete a senior thesis, a study abroad experience for an intensive entomology course in Costa Rica, and membership in the Insect Science Club.

If you know students interested in discovering new insect species, understanding insects’ roles in the environment and protecting the quality of life, encourage them to learn more about the UNL Insect Science program by contacting the UNL Department of Entomology at insectscience@unl.edu or 402-472-2123.

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