Last year, 11,772 youth explored leadership through 4-H programs like Minnesota State Ambassadors and 4-H Dairy Project. Leadership experiences provide youth with opportunities to authentically partner with other youth, build critical skills and become change agents. “Youth constantly shape and shift 4-H for the better,” said Jacquie Lonning, 4-H civic engagement and leadership director. “4-H is designed to challenge youth to think about how they can use their voice to create positive, sustainable change and become the next generation of leaders.”
Aly Dieball, an 18 year-old from Sibley County, is building critical skills to be a change agent in her community. She’s engaged in three 4-H leadership experiences: agriculture ambassadors, state ambassadors and as vice president of the Sibley County 4-H Federation. In these roles she’s building transferable skills like strategic planning, time management, organization and interpersonal communication.
Aly began her journey as a shy Cloverbud attached to her parents hip during her earliest 4-H club meetings. With patient guidance from older youth, she eventually broke out of her shell and started trying out small leadership actions like interacting with unfamiliar people and volunteering to take the lead on a club project. Those same youth noticed her initiative and encouraged her to run for her first formal leadership role: 4-H club reporter. “I was not confident that I would win but I knew it would be great if I did,” said Aly. She did win that election and afterward accepted a similar role for her county 4-H program. “4-H leadership roles helped me discover that I enjoy working with groups, meeting new people and speaking at group events. And it’s here I started seeing a connection between my passion for public speaking and agriculture.”
Aly has spent many years expanding her knowledge and advocacy for the dairy industry through 4-H, spurred on by her family’s work on a dairy farm. “I want to help Minnesotans better understand how farmers care for dairy cows and produce safe and health products,” said Aly. She is currently working on a myth-busting project with fellow ag ambassadors. “I want to offer a new perspective to many Minnesotans who might not know much about the industry. We can help counter misconceptions.”
Aly plans to transfer her leadership capabilities into higher education. Although unsure what she’ll be studying “I will use the leadership skills in college by participating in anything I can. That is what I have been taught through 4-H and I know I will continue to live by that!” she added.
Charitable giving makes 4-H leadership opportunities available to more Minnesota youth. Thanks for your support!