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4-H clover Redwood County volunteer Trish Matthews plays pivotal communications role in local 4-H club

Trish Matthews began volunteering for the Redwood County 4-H program more than eight years ago, when her two boys joined the county’s shooting sports and wildlife club.

Trish Matthews, 4-H volunteer

“I was attending the practices, and naturally just started assisting kids and helping answer questions,” said University of Minnesota Extension 4-H program volunteer Trish Matthews. “There were 10 coaches and about 20 to 30 youth, so it could get really chaotic at times.”

From there, Matthews started becoming more involved as a communicator for the club.

“At the beginning, I was helping organize practices and communicate with youth about them, and naturally began taking on more responsibility as time went on,” said Matthews. “Now, I’m the communicator for the club, and I work to get all of our information to parents and prospective members.”

But she isn’t just bridging the communication gap– Matthews has also been instrumental in helping get more youth involved in Redwood County 4-H, and beyond.

“Many of our youth are involved in high school sports and other activities,” said Matthews. “So, we do our best to offer programs that accommodate their busy schedules, in hopes of getting more youth involved.”

In fact, when a need arose in the community for a trap program in the fall– she, along with other members of their shooting sports and wildlife leadership team, made it happen.

Trish Matthews at a 4-H fall trap league practice.

“We started talking with the local school, who offered a spring trap league, as well as the coaches– and from there, really began laying the groundwork to make this fall trap league a reality,” recalled Matthews. “It was a natural fit with what was already available to youth, and allowed them to get out year-round and train.”

Not only was this effort successful in getting more youth in Redwood County 4-H involved, it even attracted those from the neighboring county– Renville– to participate.

“The fall trap league really got them excited about the program again, and kept them engaged,” said Matthews. “It’s been a really neat thing to see all of these youth from both Redwood and Renville counties get so involved in our club as a result of it.”

Because of Matthew’s dedication and service to 4-H, she was honored by Minnesota 4-H as the 2024 Volunteer of the Year.

“Trish fully supported 4-H youth to start, organize and staff our newest program, fall trap league. This program brought in nearly 20 new to 4-H teenage youth, and youth teaching youth was happening at a very organic and supportive level,” said Stacy Johnson, Extension educator in Redwood County. “The Redwood County community is very lucky to have volunteers like Trish!”

Learn more about becoming a 4-H volunteer.

Author: Madeline Eaton

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