Nebraska Extension 4-H Volunteer Newsletter - June 2018

In the June Spotlight!

  • 4-H Volunteers & Judges!

  • Club: Creating a Cohesive Club

  • Grab & Go: Presentations

  • Contest: Speech & PSA

  • YQCA

  • Purple Ribbon Projects through info Sheets

  • Camp Counselors

  • Choose a Degree

4-H Volunteers & Judges!

Big picture

Calling all adults who are wanting to get involved in the 4-H program by either being a 4-H volunteer or a 4-H County/State Fair judge!!

If you are interested in becoming a 4-H volunteer you must complete the Youth Protection 4-H Volunteer Screening before volunteering with 4-H youth in any capacity. You can find this process at under the resources webpage. You will then select volunteer resources and complete the Explore Screening Process. Once this process is complete, you will be able to find Training Resources on the same webpage. These videos provide understanding of the 4-H program and ways to work with youth and adults in the organization. You will also find wonderful teaching resources, which cover all aspects of the 4-H program.

However, if your calling is to judge, you will need to go to Once on this webpage you will find a resources link. Under resources, you will find a link for Judges Resources; this link will take you to all information about becoming a 4-H judge.

To start the process of registering you will need to fill out and complete the Judges Registration form provided on the website. This form is for any adults interested in judging county and state 4-H projects. By completing the judge’s registration online process, you are agreeing to be screened according to the 4-H Youth Safety Policy. Once the screening process is complete, registration information will be supplied to county Extension offices and State Fair 4-H superintendents. Those interested in hiring you to judge will contact you directly.

Once you are done with the judge’s registration you will then need to complete the online training videos. These videos were developed by Nebraska 4-H staff to prepare 4-H judges in their effort to create a positive experience for youth at the county fairs across the state and at the Nebraska State Fair. The areas spotlighted, are general judging information, 4-H ribbon system, Interview Judging, Clothing, Foods, Photography, Quilt Quest, and Home Environment.

All aspects of volunteering for the 4-H program are rewarding and exciting. If you are excited about what Nebraska 4-H represents, please take the time and get involved!

Club Meetings: Creating a Cohesive Club

Big picture

A simplified definition of a Cohesive Club is a group that sticks together tightly or is unified. As a club leader, it is your role to create a safe and inclusive environment. A cohesive club comes together when everyone feels they can share their ideas openly, contribute towards the efforts, and truly belongs to the club.

Club members need time to get to know each other and build from year to year. Ideas to enhance the club growth are:

  1. Who Am I Poster – Place name in middle of paper. For each category use a different color. Category suggestions (Roles/Relationships (daughter/son), StrengthFinders Strengths, Items Important to Me, Hobbies, States Visited, Schools Attended). – Similar to an ESI Unit 1 activity
  2. You Belong Game – Ask players to form groups as quickly as possible as different categories are called. Examples: group of people where at least one person has a red sock, same color of shoe, who shares your birthday month) – Great Group Games by Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor
  3. Role Call activity – When their name is called, have them respond to specific questions. Such as “since we last met… what has been the most exciting thing that has happened, what are you most thankful for, what is the biggest challenge you have overcame?”
  4. Pearls of Culture – from the Seeingi2i manual (pg 5), have youth think about what makes them unique, their family unique, their community, and world.

As an adult working with youth, it is important to know the signs of bullying. A youth may not reach out to you until asked about the situation. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power of imbalance according to Actions could include: making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, or excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying may occur in person or through cyber-bullying.

Warning signs a child may be bullied are: unexplainable injuries, lost or destroyed items, frequent headaches, feeling sick, changes in eating habits, difficulty sleeping, declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations, feelings of helplessness or decrease self esteem.

It is important to recognize signs of a child bullying others. Indicators are: get into physical or verbal fights, are increasingly aggressive, have unexplained extra money or new belongings, blame others for their problems, don’t accept responsibilities for their actions, and are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity.

Grab & Go: Presentations

Big picture

Need your youth to work on your “getting up in front of a crowd and speaking” skills? Consider having them participate in the 4-H Presentation Contests throughout the state. Need some help getting them excited to do so? Try a few of these tips and tricks.

Each person, normally youth, usually has something to say about themselves. After all, we know ourselves pretty well. Maybe it’s a fun story from a family vacation or about one of their favorite toys or favorite sports. Try an activity with your youth to where they partner up with someone and have one minute to talk about a topic. If you would like to direct their topics, you could always have them draw a topic out of a hat. Instruct them to not interrupt their partner during their mini presentation. It is supposed to be more of a presentation rather than a conversation. After that one minute, the other partner would do their mini presentation on their topic of their choice, or one drawn from a hat. You could also increase the time allowed to 2 or 3 minutes as they become comfortable or if you have older youth. Also have them switch partners after the first mini presentation. You could repeat this as many times as you’d like.

After they do their mini presentations with a partner a couple of times, put the youth in groups of 4 or more and have them give a short 3 minute presentation with a new topic. This could be a topic of their choosing or one drawn from a hat. This will allow the youth to become more comfortable with presenting more informally in front of a group. After this smaller group presentation activity, you could have a “show and tell” of sorts at a club meeting where each member gets up in front of the club members to talk about one of their club projects. This should be a topic that they know quite a bit about and should be comfortable telling others since they are usually quite passionate and proud of their projects.

They now are all geared up to give the presentation contests a try! It’s rather simple: the youth pick a topic they are passionate about and 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! (Drawing prompts out of a hat could always work too.)

Contest: Speech & PSA

Big picture

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 Public Speaking Contests throughout the state. Not sure about what that is? Here’s the scoop:

Youth must be currently enrolled in 4-H to participate. There are usually county-based speech and presentation contests held from January to April each year. So, start by contacting your local Extension office. There are three age divisions: Junior (4-H age 8-10), Intermediate (4-H age 11-13), and Senior (4-H age 14-18).

There are several categories and options to choose from as well. Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) are 60 seconds long and are basically a quick radio commercial with a theme that changes each 4-H year. For speeches, the topic can be anything of your choosing. Perhaps you give a speech on one of your hobbies or 4-H projects or maybe even show the audience how to do something. For the Juniors, the speeches are 1-3 minutes long. Intermediate speeches are 3-5 minutes and Senior speeches are 5-8 minutes.

A few other guidelines and rules should be followed if your youth decide to enter the PSA and Speech contest(s). Things like proper attire, proper presentation materials, and registration details are just a few to keep in mind. Check with your local county Extension office each year for the date of the county contest and for those rules and guidelines.

In the meantime, it’s rather simple to get started: the youth pick a topic they are passionate about and 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! So get practicing for next year!

Youth Quality Care of Animals (YQCA)

Big picture

If you’ve been part of the livestock program for more than a few years, you’ll know there has been transition going on regarding the animal care programs 4-H members have had to complete.

First we had PQA – Pork Quality Assurance

Then the beef program added Beef Quality Assurance. Total Quality Assurance covered all species and brought the option of doing online training.

YQCA is the new livestock quality program 4-H and FFA members need to complete in order to show at local, regional and state fairs.

YQCA stands for Youth Quality Care of Animals. This is a national program which has two format opportunities for members to get their certification.

Online certification is done through 4HOnline, which is the same site through which members and leaders enroll in 4-H in most counties.

According to the Youth for the Quality Care of Animals website YQCA was developed because “The animal industry recognizes the public concern for the safety Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) is a quality assurance program for youth livestock producers aged 8 to 21. The YQCA program covers the seven major species of food producing animals: beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry, and rabbits. To assist various education levels with meeting the learning objectives, the curriculum content is targeted to four age groups: Junior (8-11), Intermediate (12-14), Senior (15-18), and Young Adult (19-21).

The online modules have three sections that make up approximately one-hour of training time including a content builder, skills lab, and a quiz. For each year’s certification, youth will have topics focused on food safety, animal well-being, and life skills. The YQCA certification is good for one year and youth only complete it once annually regardless of the number of species shown.”

Some counties are having individuals trained to present the YQCA materials face to face at a meeting or training session. The face to face training must be at least an hour long and members must register online for the training before the session begins. Face to face training will cost $3.00/member and payment is made through 4HOnline. Counties may add an additional fee to cover facility rent, etc. which would be paid to the county.

If a member wants to do the online training the cost is $12/member, payable through 4HOnline. Online training consists of competing 3 sections.

Whatever you do, make sure your 4-H members have completed their YQCA training before your county deadline so they are eligible to show their animals.

Creating Purple Ribbon Projects through Info Sheets

Big picture

Identifying the best department, division, and class a project fits into is just one step on the road to a state fair purple ribbon. To ensure the project meets all the requirements of the class it is important to read the fair book, as many county and state fair classes require additional information sheets to be turned in with the project. Information sheets can also be called supporting information, personal data tag, reports, essays, or recipes within the fair book. It is important to have youth complete their information sheets because without a correctly completed information sheet, a project will be dropped a ribbon placing which could influence if a project is selected to move on to state fair and at state fair it could be the difference between and blue and purple ribbon.

These information sheets are not intended to be more work for the youth, parent, or club leader, but rather they should be seen as way for youth to share with the judge how the exhibit was completed or what was learned following the project. Therefore, youth should be intentional in what information they include on their information sheet. Consider including what was the goal of the project (it is alright if the finished project did not match the original goal), what did the youth do, what did the youth learn (lessons from failures or things would change if doing it again), or what was the cost and time of the project. Information sheets also help a youth practice the important life skill of record keeping.

The information sheet requirements can vary based on the department, division, or class the project falls under, please refer to your county’s most up-to-date fair book. They may be hand written or typed and should be neatly attached to the youth’s project. Leaders should encourage families to have the youth, and not the parent, complete the information sheet. Parents and leaders can help youth brainstorm what should and should not be included on their information sheets, but ultimately it should be the youth themselves who hand write or type up the information. Judges can take into account a youth’s age when reading the information sheet and they will often give more flexibility on appearance for younger youth, as the judges are more concerned about the techniques used and knowledge gained than on spelling, grammar, and neatness.

Camp Counselors, Summer Heros

Big picture

Summers are often filled with camps for today’s youth. Anything from art and drama to sports and conditioning. To make these camps work they often have older, more experienced youth to make the education experience go smoothly.

Any 4-H camp would not be able to run without the use of Camp Counselors or Jr. Leaders. These are youth that are older than the campers but are not yet adults, they can facilitate the activities. They are there to be the support system and give care to campers; as the staff are there to give them an education. 4-H has a model that is often based off of a project model but along with learning skills from these projects it is also very important that we as staff teach youth the life skills they need, such as communication, leadership, and compassion. All of these things can be learned as a 4-H camp counselor where their primary goals is to develop and safe and fun atmosphere where the youth can grow.

As a result of finishing my master’s project, I put together a 4-H Camp Counselor Handbook that could help counties with training their counselors. Different sections could be taken from the handbook to teach to whatever level the counselor or camp was at, whether that be at a brand new camp with first time counselors or an established camp with returning counselors. The priority of using these older 4-H members, is that it keeps them involved with the program but also to give them a purpose in their own education and development as they get older.

Often times the Extension staff are the ones teaching the camp counselors the lessons on what they need to know about the campers. This relationship gives the counselors a positive adult relationship as they transition into their teen years. Their world is becoming wider and having 4-H as a core part of that will continue to help these youth to have the same goal as they did when they were younger, “to make the best better.” Because there is no place like 4-H, no matter how old you are.

Big picture

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?

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 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!

Big picture