Every year, Nebraska 4-H Month sees thousands of young people, parents, volunteers, and alumni come together to celebrate the many positive youth development opportunities offered by 4-H. While celebrations may look different this year, Nebraska 4-H is looking forward to celebrating in new ways.
4-H is dedicated to providing opportunities for belonging. Through positive relationships with caring adults and inclusive and safe environments, young people find a sense of belonging in 4-H. The theme for this year's Nebraska 4-H Month celebration, I Belong, is a promotion created to celebrate 4-H members and encourage others to explore the opportunities for belonging in 4-H.
During Nebraska 4-H Month, youth will be encouraged to complete the 4-H enrollment process. 4-H is open to all youth ages 8-18. Over 150 projects in a variety of topic areas provide youth with an opportunity to find a 4-H project that fits their interests. By enrolling, youth have the opportunity to exhibit their 4-H projects at their local county fair and the Nebraska State Fair, as well as participate in other statewide contests. In 2021, Nebraska 4-H will also implement a new statewide enrollment deadline of June 15 for youth interested in participating in their county fair or the Nebraska State Fair.
This year's Nebraska 4-H Month celebration will kick off with 4-H Professionals Appreciation Day on Friday, February 5. Youth, parents, volunteers, and alumni are encouraged to find creative ways to thanks their local 4-H Educators, Assistants, and Staff. The month-long celebration will continue on Friday, February 12 with 4-H Volunteer Appreciation Day, an opportunity to celebrate the 12,000 volunteers including 4-H Club Leaders and Project Leaders who support 4-H programs across the state. On Friday, February 19, 4-H supporters are invited to show off their 4-H pride by wearing green or the 4-H clover for 4-H Spirit Day. Finally, the celebration will wrap up with 4-H Sponsor and Donor Appreciation Day on Friday, February 26.
Nebraska 4-H Month virtual backgrounds are also available for 4-H supporters, and starting on February 1st, a Nebraska 4-H - I Belong Facebook profile frame will also be available.
Many local celebrations and events will also be hosted throughout the month of February. Contact your local Extension office for more information about local celebrations.
Registration for 2021 4-H Summer Camp is now open! Check out the selection of 4 and 5 day overnight camps being offered at the Nebraska State 4-H Camp in Halsey. The Nebraska State 4-H Camp is located within the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands which provides a beautiful place for all youth to discover, learn, and grow. Youth do not have to be a member of 4-H to attend a 4-H Summer Camp.
Chartered bus transportation is available for select camps for an additional $70 fee. Pick-up and drop-off locations for bus transportation will be available from UNL East Campus in Lincoln and Raising Nebraska in Grand Island. Please note that transportation is dependant on the number of sign-ups and may be canceled if numbers are low.
Register by January 31st to receive a 10% discount per session. Use the code EARLYBIRD21 at checkout.
Camp scholarships are also available. Scholarships cover $100 of the registration fee and must be awarded prior to registration.Summer Camp Schedule
Looking for ways to keep your children busy during winter break? We've got you covered! From the team that brought you Living Room Learning, we're proud to announce our new Winter Fun Pack! We’re sharing 5 days' worth of activities that youth can easily do with materials that can be found at home. The Winter Fun Pack comes with instructional videos, easy-to-follow lessons, and family engagement activities to help fill the time at home during winter break. All these resources are available for FREE. Youth and families do not need to be involved in 4-H to access the resources or complete the activities.Winter Fun Pack
2020 is delivering more challenges than many of us have experienced before. The holiday season is quickly approaching and potentially could be more stressful than previous years given all of the events of the past year. As individuals and families plan holiday gatherings during a global pandemic, many will be modifying holiday traditions based on ensuring the safety and well-being of families and others. Breaking from rituals can be challenging and upsetting, however, with some planning and creative thinking these changes might help your family develop new traditions.
Children and youth often anxiously await the holidays which often mean a time to gather with family, share gifts, and participate in traditions such as baking favorite holiday foods, decorating one’s home, or attending religious celebrations. Changes to holiday traditions and routines might add to youth’s feelings of anxiety, sadness, or depression. Research shows that the social, emotional, and mental health of our youth have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The mental health impacts of COVID-19 and potential changes to a typical holiday routine can compound the feelings and emotions youth are experiencing.Read More
November is National Entrepreneurship Month! Did you know youth entrepreneurship is a program priority for Nebraska 4-H? Through various programs, Nebraska 4-H connects youth to important careers and strengthens their entrepreneurship skills. Entrepreneurship programs aim to increase the number of youth returning to rural communities in business and professions and to increase the number of youth who are entrepreneurs.
In celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month, teachers and educators are also invited to utilize a toolkit of free resources, including:
- Calendar of fun, easy activities to use as bell-ringers, energizers, and simple ways to engage students in entrepreneurial thinking
- Lesson plans designed to introduce students to entrepreneurship and building an entrepreneurial mindset by developing their non-cognitive skills
- Virtual field trips to connect students to real people working as entrepreneurs
- Spark to Start activity book containing activities, games, puzzles, and more to help students learn about starting a business
A sample Spark to Start activities book is also being sent to all 4th-grade teachers in Nebraska. To access the free resources, simply complete the classroom sign-up form.Classroom Sign-Up for Access to Free Resources
Congratulations to the 27 4-H members who participated in the 2020 State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest. The contest which is typically held at the Nebraska State Fair, was held virtually this year from October 5th through the 12th. Eleven intermediates and 16 seniors competed in the virtual contest, and a total of 12 counties were represented.
- Brooke Hilgenkamp, Washington County
- Cora Payne, Seward County
- Justine Wilkinson, Scotts Bluff County
- Hannah Koziol, Richardson County
- Kaid Hogan, Lincoln County
- Seward County - Cora Payne, Masa Brown, Ava Fischer
- Washington County - Brooke Hilgenkamp, Aaron Fuchs, Ethan Hilgenkamp
- Chase Racicky, Custer County
- Allison Engelman, Jefferson County
- Jenna Ruge, Madison County
- Jacey Leech, Richardson County
- Kaitlyn Hanson, Saunders County
- Richardson County - Jacey Leech, Abby Stalder, Hannah Kozial, Peyton Schaardt
Top Five Special Award Winners
- Chase Racicky, Custer County
- Allison Engelman, Jefferson County
- Jenna Ruge, Madison County
- Jacey Leech, Richardson County
- Kaitlyn Hanson, Saunders County
Do you enjoy learning STEM and have an interest in learning about real-world medical problems? In this engaging hands-on program, youth will use the engineering design process to work through Biomedical Engineering challenges. Youth will get to participate in activities like:
- Nanotechnology in the Body,
- Laparoscopic Surgery,
- Biomedicine in Space, and
- Prosthetics and Pills.
Youth will also get to experience a Biomedical Career Day where they will listen and work with staff from UNMC. Youth won't want to miss it!
This virtual self-paced camp is offered in partnership with Imagine Science! Imagine Science is an unprecedented partnership between four leading national youth organizations to bridge the STEM gap by igniting the imagination of historically underrepresented youth. We believe in the next generation of problem solvers and innovators. By 2022 the U.S. will be short 1 million needed STEM professionals. Too few young people are pursuing STEM careers. We believe that prolonged, informal exposure to STEM increases a child's interest and builds a foundation for proficiency through high school and beyond. Nebraska 4-H is proud to partner with Imagine Science to deliver STEM programming to 4th-8th grade youth in and around Omaha, Nebraska.Self-Paced Biomedical Engineering Camp
Since 1976, when the initial group of 235 campers arrived at the Eastern Nebraska 4-H Center to enjoy a week of summer fun, our mission has been to serve the youth of Nebraska and provide opportunities for them to Discover, Learn, and Grow. Over the past 44 years, we have been successful in supporting our mission through a variety of program options, including adult and youth retreat, outdoor education, summer overnight camp, and day camp programs.
As you know, COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the world that we once knew, including having significant impacts to our camp program. In early April, we made the very difficult decision to cancel all of our in-person programs including spring outdoor education and summer camp events. As a primarily seasonal business where most of our operating revenues are collected during the summer months to support our operations year-round, this decision had a significant impact on our budget. Thankfully, as sound fiscal managers, we had a reserve revenue fund to continue to operate through this time to continue programming virtually and salaries for five full-time employees. Unfortunately, we have come to the end of this reserve fund and discussions have turned to our next steps.
As part of the process, we explored how the Nebraska 4-H camp program can better reach youth where they are with innovative programs, utilizing research-based curricula delivered with a hands-on experimental learning model by talented youth development professionals. We are pleased to announce a NEW environmental education program series that will include both virtual and place-based programs for schools, home-school families, and afterschool programs. Of course, current and future 4-H members will always be among our key clients. As part of our goal to reach more youth, and with thoughtful consideration of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, our state 4-H team, and the Nebraska 4-H Foundation, we have made the extremely difficult decision to cease all operations at the Eastern Nebraska 4-H Center in Gretna effective August 1, 2020.
While we may not have the same site presence, one thing that remains the same is our commitment to our partnership with you to help us work toward our mission to provide opportunities for youth to Discover, Learn, and Grow and we invite you to consider continuing your partnership with Nebraska 4-H in various ways.
Although we are disappointed in the closure of the Eastern Nebraska 4-H Center, we are hopeful that our renewed commitment to broader environmental education offerings for youth will bring a new era of Nebraska 4-H Camping.
Nebraska 4-H camps in partnership with Douglas-Sarpy County Extension is offering a handful of science-based school-year day camps this fall. Through these experiences, youth have the opportunity to explore the natural world at Schramm State Recreation Area. These day camps allow youth to connect with friends while enjoying their natural surroundings. The sessions are open to all youth ages 6-14. Youth do not need to be enrolled in 4-H to participate. All of the sessions will follow CDC and ACA guidelines for in-person activities, with hand sanitizer, masks, and social distancing. For more details and a complete list of sessions, visit the School Year Camps webpage.School Year Camps
The 2020 State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest will be held on Sunday, October 20th at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Animal Science Complex. Registration/Check-in will be at 7:00 AM that morning with the contest beginning at 8:00 AM. As of now, the National 4-H Livestock Judging Contest is moving forward as planned, and our state-level contest is vital for a team to qualify for the national level.
There will be changes to this year's contest:
- This will be a senior division only contest. Each team will be limited to 5 contestants and only one coach and one other chaperone if needed.
- Everyone attending the contest will wear a mask and hand sanitizing stations will be present throughout the facility.
- Livestock classes will be arranged in a more spread-out fashion and we may implement a 2-round system for the placings portion of the contest.
- Youth will maintain at least a 10-foot distance from the reasons takers during that portion of the competition.
- We will not arrange a live awards ceremony on site. Awards will be announced online. Awards will be mailed.
- We will not provide any pencils, clipboards, paper, etc. Each team must bring their own materials. We will only handout placing cards and contestant numbers in the team packets.
- We will not provide lunch. We plan to have the contest finished by 1:00-2:00 PM. If a hotel room is needed for Saturday night, the Staybridge Suites I-80 will be providing a special rate.
If hotel rooms are needed for Saturday night, the Staybridge Suites I-80 will be providing a special rate.
Registration is open now and will close at noon on Wednesday, September 16th. Registration must be completed through county Extension offices.State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest
Following their dreams in an age of pandemic, 4-H youth from 17 states gathered online for the national 4-H film festival. The 10th annual FilmFest 4-H was held on August 1-2. FilmFest 4-H is a national film festival for youth filmmakers, visual artists, actors, as well as any 4-H'ers interested in learning more about the film industry and meeting other creative people from across the country. FilmFest 4-H helps youth become producers, not just consumers, of digital media. Now in its 10th year, FilmFest 4-H celebrated its decade-long run with the film industry workshops and youth-produced films it has become known for.
Two Nebraska 4-H members were recognized for their films.
- Riley Peterson (15) of Lancaster County was awarded 2nd Place Documentary for his video titled Inspiring 4-H Archers.
- Andrew Donlan (12) of Lancaster County received 2nd Place Animation with his stop-motion film, Journey in July.
The 2020 FilmFest 4-H was open to youth ages 11-18, and participants hailed from Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas. Video categories included Animation, Documentary, Narrative, One Minute Movie, Promotional, and Voices of 4-H History.
In addition to submitting their own digital video creations, participants also engaged in educational film industry workshops over the weekend. LA-based actress Linara Washington shared strategies from her career working on tv series like NCIS and Grey's Anatomy, and in films alongside Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini. From New York, Emmy winning producer Matthew C. Mills helped youth understand film industry roles ranging from interns to executive producers, sharing career advice from his work with companies like HBO, MTV, CBS, and Food Network. Producer Chad Freidrichs taught youth how to secure archival footage for documentaries, using methods that are both professional and legal. This year also featured the first FilmFest 4-H Screenplay Challenge, with youth submitting scripts that were evaluated by LA-based writer-producer Mariana Hope (Friday Night Lights, The Kicks).2020 FilmFest 4-H Winning Films
Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Type 2 (RHDV-2) has been identified in the southern and western states in the United States. The State Veterinarian, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), Nebraska 4-H, and the Nebraska State Fair are in on-going communication to determine how this disease will impact the State 4-H Rabbit Show.
At this time, RHDV-2 has not been diagnosed in Nebraska; we will continue to watch closely for any cases and stay updated with the NDA. The NDA is also collaborating and staying in close contact with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to increase awareness and surveillance if needed should the NDA receive any reports indicating an increase in deaths in our wild rabbit populations in the state.
With the increased concern of RHDV-2, all 4-H rabbits exhibiting at the 2020 Nebraska State Fair must have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) within 15 days of the exhibition. The CVI must list the Nebraska State Fair as consignee and will need to have the official identification (ear tattoo) listed on all rabbits being exhibited during the State Fair. The health papers will be checked by a representative of the State Veterinarians' Office.
Each CVI must:
- Be issued by an accredited licensed veterinarian.
- Show name and address of own or exhibitor.
- Show that the rabbit does not have signs of RHDV-2.
The NDA has created a link for rabbit owners to review information, guidance, and links for public knowledge to increase awareness and provide guidance regarding this disease. For more information, please visit Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (NDA).
Additionally, the 2020 State Fair Rabbit Show format will follow the NDA's biosecurity recommendations.
- Exhibitors will arrive the morning of the rabbit show (Sunday, August 30) and bring their own carrier(s) to keep their rabbits housed through the morning/afternoon. Rabbits will not be housed not he fairgrounds as they have in the past.
- Exhibitors will show their rabbits and go home after the exhibition.
- Bring your own carpet square to place your rabbit on during the show.
- All rabbits should be quarantined for 30 days after returning from the show and all equipment and cages should be sanitized once you return home.
We will continue to monitor the situation and keep exhibitors apprised of any other changes that need to be made.Rabbit Hemorrhagic Design (NDA)
Congratulations to all 158 Nebraska 4-H members who participated in the virtual 2020 State 4-H Public Speaking Contest. The contest included speeches and public service announcements that were selected at county-level contests to advance to the state competition. Entries were submitted and judged virtually. Medal winners were awarded for intermediate and senior age divisions, and Champion senior participants were also recognized. Congratulations to the Senior Division Champions:
- Emma Luther of Dawson County, Senior PSA Champion
- Abbie Owens of Dawson County, Senior Speech Champion
Senior PSA medal winners:
- Emma Luther of Dawson County
- Ella Hendrickson of Lancaster County
- Emily Brodd of Dodge County
Senior Speech medal winners:
- Abbie Owens of Dawson County
- Audra Nolting of Cuming County
- Macy Moravec of Butler County
- Sydney Hutchinson of Cuming County
Intermediate PSA medal winners:
- Chelsea Potts of Cedar County
- Jaden Hunke of Dawson County
- Kathryn Picton of Washington County
- Morgan Thieman of York County
Intermediate Speech medal winners:
- Alexa Brodd of Dodge County
- Ava McFarland of Knox County
- Carson Reiman of Dawson County,
- Eden Hamel of Dodge County
- Ella Brennemann of Frontier County
- Greta Rickertsen of Dawson County
- Kara Brockman of Gosper County
- Luke Syliaasen of Saunders County
- Riley Farnstrom of Thayer County
- Tucker Robinson of Fillmore County
The Nebraska State Fair Board announced that the 2020 Nebraska State Fair will be a celebration of 4-H and FFA youth! While the State Fair will look different than it has in the past, we are excited to see the support for young people and to showcase the projects they've been working on throughout the year.
Some key highlights and updates for 4-H Exhibitors:
- The 4-H contests and 4-H livestock shows will all be held on the first weekend (August 29-30).
- 4-H static exhibits will not be re-judged at State Fair. Static exhibits will receive special recognition, and best of show awards will be selected. Static exhibits will remain on display throughout the fair.
- The Youth Dairy Show and Dairy Judging Contest will be held on the second weekend (specific dates TBD).
- The FFA livestock shows will be on the second weekend (September 5-6).
- By having the shows on separate weekends, there will be more space in the barns; hence, 4-H livestock entry limits will remain the same.
Please stay tuned to 4h.unl.edu/state-fair for more updates as details are finalized.4-H at the Nebraska State Fair
The safety of youth and their families is our highest priority. We were hopeful and preparing to offer an in-person Fonner Park State 4-H Horse Expo. With continued uncertainty about COVID-19 in Grand Island and whether or not we would get approval from the Health Department coupled with concerns from volunteers and staff and the ability to offer a high-quality experience for youth, we have decided to cancel the in-person show for 2020. Instead, a modified virtual show will be hosted allowing youth to compete from home. This will allow all 4-H'ers the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and effort they have put into their horse project. This virtual opportunity will also include 4-H Horse Stampede contests. More information can be found on the Fonner Park State 4-H Fun Horse Show.
We understand the disappointment this decision will cause, but we hope this will be a new way to introduce youth to a trend that is increasing in popularity across the country. We appreciate the work of the Horse Advisory Committee, representatives from Fonner Park, and the City of Grand Island for all their support in this difficult decision.Fonner Park State 4-H Fun Horse Show
We've made the difficult decision to cancel our 2020 face-to-face summer camp sessions, but that doesn't mean all 4-H Camps are canceled! Nebraska 4-H Camps are offering a variety of fun hands-on learning opportunities that youth can participate in from home. And, when we say "hands-on," we mean it! Our 4-H camp opportunities are designed for active learning by doing.
Choose from a variety of exciting, live, online programs that you can participate in from home! Participants will meet and interact with other youth who have similar interests, and learn from Nebraska 4-H Camp professionals, University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty, and industry professionals. We have a variety of special topic sessions available throughout June. Register now before sessions fill up!Virtual 4-H Camps
Nebraska 4-H and FFA, in consultation with the Nebraska State Fair Livestock Committee, have decided to extend the State Fair livestock nomination deadline from June 15 to July 1. Exhibitors will be required to submit their DNA envelopes to their county Extension offices and have completed their online nomination and payment through ShowStockMGR.com by 11:59 PM CST on July 1, 2020.
Dear Friends of 4-H Camp,
We are announcing the cancellation of our summer 2020 programming. This decision was not taken lightly, and we tried every possible scenario to continue our programs this summer. After receiving guidance from a variety of sources, the decision ultimately came down to this question – can we carry out our mission, and can we keep our campers safe? The answer is we don’t know and that’s not good enough for us. We are committed to doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and being a part of the solution.
The summer of 2020 had much promise and excitement around it. Our registration was on track to be the largest camps we have held in the recent past and the program we have developed was spectacular. This is a huge testament to the trust that you have placed on the Nebraska 4-H Camping Program. For this, we say “Thank You”. Thank you for putting your trust in us as we work every day “To Make the Best Better” in all that we do at 4-H Camp. We look forward to the day when we can be together again enjoying uncontrollable laughing and silliness, learning new skills at one of your activity times, creating spaces to build new friendships and connecting with one another, and crying at the closing campfire after reflecting on our awesome week together at camp!
As we reflect and move forward, we are filled with hope for the opportunities to continue our mission and connect with you this summer. We will be providing NEW Virtual 4-H Camp experiences during June and July! Check out our self-guided experiences through our 4-H Camp in a Box and a week of real-time virtual summer camp June 1-5! Registration will open soon for numerous real-time, week-long, special interest virtual camps that you can join from anywhere! More information about these experiences will be made available at http://4h.unl.edu/camp.
Information about several other FREE, real-time educational experiences, as well as many self-paced opportunities, can be found at https://4h.unl.edu/virtual-home-learning. Nebraska 4-H looks forward to learning with you this summer in new ways – right from your home!
As you can imagine, this decision has also had a great financial impact on our program. Much of our operating revenues come from the summer camp experience. In these unprecedented times, if you are able, please consider a tax-deductible gift to support the Nebraska 4-H Camps mission. Give securely on the Nebraska 4-H Foundation Website or mail to NE 4-H Foundation PO Box 4500, Lincoln, NE 68504.
Thank you again for your trust and support of the Nebraska 4-H Camps! We hope to see you soon at one of our 2020 virtual experiences and can’t wait till the day we can be together at camp again!
The last month has been a challenging time, to say the least. It feels like it was a hundred years ago that we could high five youth in an afterschool program, get a haircut, or buy toilet paper whenever we wanted. No doubt you have experienced feelings of confusion, grief, disappointment, and loss over the past month. We know that it is the same for the young people that we educate. Indeed, our world as changed.
As a leading youth development organization in the state, Nebraska 4-H Youth Development is offering a series of articles addressing the social-emotional well-being of young people. The articles are designed to help youth development professionals and parents in this challenging time. The series, Supporting Young People Through Change, will include five articles:
- Comfort in a Changing World
- Connecting in Changing Times
- Coping in Changing Times
- Creating Your Plan in Changing Times
- Contributing in a Changing World
Articles will be released weekly throughout April and early May. Visit the link below to access all the available articles, and stay tuned for new releases.Supporting Young People Through Change
Join Nebraska 4-H each Tuesday at 11:00 AM CT/10:00 AM MT as we go on-site to learn more about science, agriculture, technology, and more! Virtual Field Trips offer facility tours, educational experiences, and additional resources for teachers. Virtual Field Trips are perfect for youth in 9th-12th grades. Each session will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing. Youth do not need to be 4-H members to participate.Register now!