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University of Minnesota Extension

Department of Youth Development

We support youth statewide

Extension has a long history of youth development leadership. We're best known for running Minnesota 4-H for more than 100 years. The 4-H program also serves as our laboratory of learning, in which we are constantly improving. 

Our mission is to improve the lives of all Minnesota young people - no matter where they live or which youth program they choose to join.

We share what we have learned

  • Training courses for professionals and volunteers who work with youth - free or at low cost
  • Evidence-based online resources for building a high-quality youth program
  • Partnerships with tribal nations, youth programs and other organizations across the state

We are local

With staff in nearly 100 offices throughout the state, we are a resource and a local point of contact for youth work professionals, volunteers, families and young people. Minnesota families know us through the 4-H clubs, after-school programs, fairs and service projects we offer. We also support professionals and volunteers on current youth needs such as:

We are scholarly practitioners

We work with more than 66,000 youth and volunteers across the state every year. Constant program evaluation helps us to assess outcomes and improve our practice. We share what we learn to help other youth-serving organizations to improve. We also draw upon the expertise of our colleagues in the Extension Department of Family Health and Wellbeing as well as our National 4-H network.


Youth worker training and research

Kate Walker, Extension professor and specialist, youth work practice
kcwalker@umn.edu, 612-624-7988 

Minnesota 4-H volunteers and operations

Becky Harrington, director of operations and systems
willi107@umn.edu, 612-624-7974

Extension Department of Youth Development

Jennifer Skuza, associate dean and state 4-H director
skuza@umn.edu, 612-624-7798

See all contacts for the Department of Youth Development

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