Positive youth development continues to make an impact by helping youth learn and lead in a global society
The 4-H youth development approach
By the numbers
- 40,516 youth enrolled in Minnesota 4-H, up 57% from 2021.
- 10,146 new members, up 54% from 2021.
- 21% of Minnesota 4-H members are BIPOC or non-white youth.
- 7,011 devoted volunteers, up 5% from 2021.
- 5,375 youth workers and volunteers trained.
Olmsted County 4-H’ers work together to remove invasive snails from local pond
Last fall, an Olmsted County 4-H club discovered invasive mystery snails in a local pond when doing their semi-annual community pride project. After confirming the identity of the snails, club members reported the presence of the invasive species to EDDMapS, an app used by Minnesota professionals to track a variety of invasive species.
As a result of those efforts, the 4-H’ers learned that this was the first confirmed report of invasive mystery snails in Olmsted County.
Last winter, youth leaders Kylie and Aurora formed a committee to learn more about the snails– and how to manage them. They then applied for the 4-H Helping Hands Grant and were awarded $550. Scheels also donated $50 to support their efforts.
“While researching for the grant, I learned how big of a threat the snails really are. They give parasites to people and animals, take food from native snails, they can clog water pipes and can reproduce very fast at any time of the year. That's why we need to do something now before it escalates."
- Aurora, youth leader
The club did its first removal this past June, while also picking up trash at the city-owned pond.
“4-H youth– donning waders and clam rakes– removed hundreds of mystery snails from the pond, and confirmed there are both adults and immature mystery snails in all three connected ponds,” says Angela Gupta, Department of Agricultural and Natural Resource Systems Extension educator.
To showcase their knowledge and the work that they have done so far, Kylie and Aurora submitted a community pride project– a binder detailing their journey– to be judged at the Minnesota State Fair. Their hard work earned them both blue and purple ribbons.
Despite their award-winning project, Kylie and Aurora are not done. The club plans to continue its efforts by surveying additional nearby water sources to determine the spread of the mystery snail infestation.
Former Minnesota 4-H’er wins national Youth in Action award and scholarship for leadership in STEM
Nicole, a former Dakota County 4-H’er, was named winner of the 2023 Youth in Action award for STEM. She was recognized for leading her robotics team to develop a modified Power Wheels ride-on car for a toddler with a disability.
Nicole led her team to launch their own chapter of child mobility project GoBabyGo!, build six additional mobility devices and create an online manual teaching others to build their own mobility device.
As a national winner, Nicole was awarded a $5,000 higher education scholarship and will spend 2023 inspiring other youth by telling her 4-H story and celebrating her leadership. In addition, she will have opportunities to showcase her story nationally, network with prominent 4-H alumni and serve as the official 4-H youth spokesperson for STEM.
“4-H gave me the confidence to develop and hone my leadership skills, allowing me to spearhead the creation of something that really makes a difference. My experience in 4-H inspired me to help my team start their own chapter so robotics teams can make similar devices that solve issues that impact their communities.”
- Nicole, 2023 Youth in Action award winner
Minnesota 4-H’ers participate in youth participatory action research project on University of Minnesota campus
Ramsey County 4-H, in partnership with the Moundsview School District Equity Team, piloted a youth participatory action research project with a group of nine young people.
The purpose of their project was to capture how the pandemic has changed the ways families and young people think about school and family-school-youth partnerships, and consider what new opportunities have been created for such partnerships.
One of the participants, Gutu, shared that his ability to navigate conversations improved as a result of the experience.
“Being able to connect with younger peers and being more of a mentor for them that kind of builds your own confidence."
- Gutu, youth participant
Campus visits were also integrated into their project experience, providing intentional opportunities for the youth participants to meet current college students and faculty, share their plans for the future and explore the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus on a deeper level.
“I only really grew into my shoes and realized how important connections were when I began getting into more community roles during the pandemic, like this one, and involved myself in my county. Without that experience, I would not be the person I am right now.”
- Ava, youth participant
Reviewed in 2023