New Year, New Opportunities

January 25, 2024

Happy New Year and 2024! I hope your new year is off to a great start, other than the cold temperatures and snow. It is one of our favorite times of year at Nebraska Extension in Wayne County, ENROLLMENT TIME! It’s time to enroll in Nebraska 4-H and the Wayne County 4-H program.

What is 4-H? 4-H is the world’s leading youth development organization, serving over six million youth annually. 4-H gives young people the opportunity to find a sense of belonging through 4-H clubs, camps, afterschool groups, or special events. While there are many ways to participate in 4-H that do not require enrollment, Nebraska 4-H Month, coming up in February, is the perfect time to join or complete the annual re-enrollment process. We ask that our families enroll on before February 1st to make sure you don’t miss any important updates and deadlines! 4-H enrollment is open to all youth ages 5-18 as of December 31 of the previous year.

There are two ways your child/ren can participate in 4-H. If your child is 5-7, there is the Clover Kids level of 4-H membership. Clover Kids can do special projects designed for their age level, as well as taking part in “club projects” of all sorts. Clover Kids may also exhibit at the county fair and will receive comments and encouragement on their exhibits and will receive a special Clover Kid ribbon for each exhibit.

The traditional 4-H program is designed for youth ages 8-18. 4-H members at this level can choose from hundreds of projects and investigate careers and interests to see if it is really something they want to do. Traditional 4-H clubs are the lifeblood of the program with 4-H members learning with their friends as parents and other caring adults guide them as 4-H Leaders in the projects and activities.

With over 150 projects in a variety of topic areas, every young person can find a 4-H project that fits their interests. By enrolling, youth have the opportunity to exhibit their 4-H projects at the Wayne County Fair and the Nebraska State Fair, as well as participate in other contests and events.

4-H is not only for youth! It takes a whole team of adults and volunteers to help make our programs successful! If you are interested in enrolling your child/ren in 4-H, or volunteering, please contact our office at 402-375-3310!

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Holiday Break Activities

By Julie Schultz, 4-H Extension Educator
December 28, 2023

Happy Holidays! With this joyous time of year one thing everyone looks forward to is a break from school and work. Except when it’s too cold to play outside and the sun sets early, what do we when we are inside more of the day? To avoid the blank stare at the TV all day, it is time to think outside of the box and get creative with your families. Here are a few ideas that are more on the educational/developmental (and FUN) side:

  1. Ice Tower Excavation – freeze little trinkets (bracelets, foam letters or numbers, dice, etc.) in water using an old juice container or in an ice cube tray.  Freezing a little at a time will ensure that not all your trinkets end up at the bottom. Give kids squeeze bottles, salt, or eye droppers with warm water in it so they can “dig” out the treasures. Using eye droppers can develop fine motor skills.
  2. Newspaper Forts – instead of the traditional blanket and chair fort, try using your old newspapers.  Roll newspapers into tight rolls so that they look like toilet paper tubes but much longer. Tape them so they stay rolled tight.  Then tape them end to end to create different shaped forts. Use light blankets or towels on top for walls or roofs. Challenge kids to name the different shapes they are creating. If you have a house full of kids, see who can build the biggest or the strongest.    
  3. Balloon Ping Pong – who doesn’t like to hit a balloon around! This time tape a paper plate to a ruler or popsicle stick to create a ping-pong racquet. Kids can work on hand-eye coordination while maybe not getting as crazy when kicking and flailing with their arms and feet.
  4. Masking Tape Speedway – using masking or painters tape, allow kids to create a racetrack around the house. Use any small car, tractor, or truck to race each other. Encourage them not to just go around the kitchen island.  Instead, go over the chair, under the bar stool, around the dog bowl, and up and across the fridge door.  All the up and down while racing will be a good workout!

These are just a few of the hundreds of activities you can find online. Try not to spend hours searching, instead select one or two and try them out. Days during the holiday break can get long, but can be a great time to be active indoors with your children. Another option is to leave these activities for your babysitter when you go out. Or babysitters, take these ideas with you.  A parent will definitely call you back if the kids talk about your fun games for days! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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Creating Family Memories

November 23, 2023 

The holidays are upon us and it is the time of the year when we reflect on what, and who, we are thankful for. Many families gather to share a meal (or two) together during the holiday season. Family time during the holidays can look very different, but one thing is certain, family traditions are important. Maybe a little Black Friday shopping is your family tradition. You look forward to sorting out all the best deals and plotting your most efficient shopping route. Or watching that annual rival football game in between turkey-induced naps. Whatever your traditions, I hope they bring up the memories of days gone by and create new ones as new family members become involved.

Happy childhood memories most commonly center on activities that are shared as a family. Simply being together and delighting in each other’s company is the key. We can’t program a happy memory or one that will last a lifetime. But we can take an ordinary event and look for positive ways to make it fun or enjoyable because it’s family time together. Family traditions can be started from the simplest of activities, resulting in memories that last for years. Here are just a few ideas of simple traditions that you could start with your family this year.

  1. Community Service – There is nothing better, on this day of giving thanks, than helping another family. Sign up to volunteer at a food pantry or shelter for part of the day. Or ask extended family members to bring things they no longer need to donate locally. Your family will bond, knowing that they helped make someone else’s day.
  2. Gratitude Chain – Cut strips of construction paper in various colors. Ask each family member to record thankful thoughts on the paper. Link the papers together to make a chain. Hang this up by the dinner table and continue adding to it each year. As the chain grows, it will be a wonderful reminder of the years past and how much we really have to be thankful for.
  3. Table of Thanks – Cover your table with colored Kraft paper and provide crayons or colored pencils. Invite family members to fill the table with Thanksgiving blessings. When everyone is done, go around and share what each person wrote. If you would like to make this activity more permanent, use a solid-colored tablecloth and fabric markers. Year after year, you can bring out this tablecloth and keep adding to it.

The list of popular family activities that help cement the bonds of togetherness can be a long one. The particular activity isn’t as important as the fact that the activity is a vehicle for strengthening family connections. Enjoy time with your family, while creating lasing memories this holiday weekend.

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Giving Thanks!

October 26, 2023 

As we find ourselves on the cusp of fall one of the many things that comes to mind is Thanksgiving and giving thanks for what we have. Thank you. Two simple words that are often underused. As we head into the holiday season, there is value in writing down a few words and sending them to someone who helped you recently.

Why write a thank you note? To give someone recognition and thank them for their support, show how much you care, and to keep the connections you made last into the future. All of these can be shared in a simple note in the proper format.

The anatomy of a good thank you note has the following:

  • A respectful and personalized greeting at the top.
  • A few lines thanking the person for what they did for you.
  • A few personal details about yourself and how their guidance helped you thrive.
  • One final thank you message and a closing salutation.
  • Sign your name (preferably not printed).

The anatomy of a thank you note is simple. Start with a respectful and personalized greeting addressing the person you intend to thank. Next write a few lines thanking them for specific ways they guided you. Add a few lines that are more personal, about you and how they helped you on your journey. End your note with one final line of thank you followed with a closing salutation and your name. It is best if you can physically sign the note and not just print your name.

Saying thank you is extremely important, but often overlooked or forgotten. This time of year usually brings a time of reflection. As you reflect back on your year, do you have anyone to thank? Send a note of appreciation. A short note goes a long way and can often lead to opportunities later in life. Saying thank you is extremely important. I encourage you to write a thank you note today to show someone how much you appreciate what they have done for you!

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FINDING FOCUS

by Julie Schultz, Extension Educator and Jennifer Epp, Extension Educator
September 28, 2023 

The school year has already begun which means the slew of afterschool activities and homework assignments have returned. As families are pulled in different directions for school, work and practices, time as a family comes at a premium. Making efforts to build the focus of your youth could decrease time spent on homework to free up more time for family activities. Creating a permanent, designated study space is one way to build your youth’s focus. Here are a few items to keep in mind when creating the study space: 

    1. Make It Work for You – Every youth is different and has different needs. Some youth prefer a quiet corner in their room while other youth may prefer to be close to a parent for help at the kitchen table. Just make sure that the traffic and noise of other family members do not become a distraction.
    2. Manage the Senses – Lighting and noise issues are very common distractions. Tired eyes have more difficulty transferring knowledge into memory. To keep sharp, make sure to provide adequate overhead lighting to limit squinting. Also, check that electronic devices like laptops and tablets are set at a comfortable level.
    3. Make It Comfortable – Temperature and seating can make a difference in a youth’s ability to concentrate. Make sure that the study space keeps the youth relaxed, but alert. It is also important that the youth has adequate space to spread out books, papers and materials to make the space efficient. While a bed may make a great space for spreading out, it may prove too relaxing. Consider a cushioned chair with generous table space. Also, it is important that the chair fits the youth. Dangling legs and hunched shoulders can create distractions as well.
    4. Keep It Organized – Another way to increase the efficiency of the space is to keep all supplies and materials readily available and easy to find. Any time spent looking for the lost blue marker is time spent away from the task and an opportunity for further distraction. Organized space provides a launching pad for organized study. Keep clutter to a minimum using cubbies, canisters and boxes. A calendar, planner or to-do list can also keep homework assignments and activities prioritized and on track for on-time completion.
    5. Limit Distractions – While the computer and television can be excellent sources of educational content, they also provide limitless distraction. If the youth believes they can focus better with a little background noise, try some recorded music and save the favorite show as a reward when the youth can spare his or her attention.
    6. Make It Your Own – If the youth is expected to spend considerable time in the study space, let him or her decorate the space with posters, pictures or artwork. These items could provide creative inspiration for the youth’s next essay or art project.

    However you set up your space, make sure it is an environment that your youth will enjoy and want to study in. 

    __________

    4-H in the Classroom

    By Julie Schultz, Wayne County and Tayler Wickham, Washington County
    August 24, 2023

    4-H provides youth with the opportunity to learn by doing; but that opportunity is not only limited to youth enrolled in a 4-H program. 4-H School Enrichment provides learning experiences to youth during the school day, with participation and cooperation from the school system. 4-H School Enrichment programs are delivered by 4-H staff, 4-H volunteers, or classroom teachers, and utilize research-based curricula that meet Nebraska Department of Education Content Standards. The goal of these school enrichment programs? To provide classroom teachers with curriculum that supplements the lessons already being learned in the classroom, to provide students with an opportunity to learn with hands-on, minds-on methods, and to encourage long-term involvement in 4-H. And because Nebraska 4-H is an entity of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, 4-H School Enrichment is typically the first class a student takes at UNL!

    So what does 4-H School Enrichment look like in a classroom? Think engagement! Think knowledge-based conversations! Think growing confidence! All aspects that 4-H brings to the life of 4-H youth members are introduced in the 4-H School Enrichment program. Offering opportunities to learn and apply life skills like leadership, citizenship, and public speaking, 4-H School Enrichment provides more than just time for a teacher to sit back and watch the students learn. The structure of a school enrichment program is based upon the partnership between a classroom teacher and the local 4-H Staff, but are typically held during the school day hours and total to a minimum of six hours of educational programming.

    What makes 4-H School Enrichment so successful? Two things: the use of research-based curricula and the 4-H Essential Elements! Every school enrichment program is filled with knowledge based on research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and other land-grant institutions. This ensures that all students participating in the programs are receiving information that is accurate and up to date. 4-H Essential Elements are another resource for creating quality school enrichment programs because they focus on the social, physical, and emotional well-being of every student, and are necessary for positive youth development.

    Nebraska Extension in Wayne County is committed to offering 4-H programs during school time hours through the 4-H School Enrichment program! Students all across Wayne County will have the opportunity to engage in new topics or find a new way to learn what they are already discussing in their classroom!

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    The Importance of Thank You!

     July 27, 2023

                Thank you. Two simple words that are often underused. As we wrap up the county fair season we are reminded of everyone who had a hand in making it such a great experience. There is value in writing down a few words and sending them to someone who helped you recently.

                Why write a thank you note? To give someone recognition and thank them for their support, show how much you care, and to keep the connections you made last into the future. All of these can be shared in a simple note in the proper format.

                The anatomy of a good thank you note has the following:

              • A respectful and personalized greeting at the top.
              • A few lines thanking the person for what they did for you.
              • A few personal details about yourself and how their guidance helped you thrive.
              • One final thank you message and a closing salutation
              • Sign your name (preferably not printed)

                 The anatomy of a thank you note is simple. Start with a respectful and personalized greeting addressing the person you intend to thank. Next write a few lines thanking them for specific ways they guided you. Add a few lines that are more personal, about you and how they helped you on your journey. End your note with one final line of thank you followed with a closing salutation and your name. It is best if you can physically sign the note and not just print your name.

                Saying thank you is extremely important, but often overlooked or forgotten.A short note goes a long way and can often lead to opportunities later in life. Saying thank you is extremely important. I encourage you to write a thank you note today to show someone how much you appreciate what they have done for you!

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    A Grand Champion Fair Experience

    By Julie Schultz
    June 29, 2023

    The Wayne County Fair, along with every county fair, provides 4-H youth across the state with an opportunity to showcase the project work that they have completed throughout the year and to receive recognition for their efforts.

    Model rockets that have been assembled from basic materials, cookies that will make your mouth water, sheep that are sheared for the big show, and many other exhibits can most likely be seen at the Wayne County Fair. Through these projects, youth develop self-confidence by experiencing success at solving problems and meeting challenges. County fairs provide a safe environment for youth to make mistakes and to receive constructive feedback, not only through competition, but also through their participation.

    4-H youth look forward to the county fair because of the fun that this time of year brings. Whether showing a market steer, modeling a garment in the Fashion Show, or exhibiting a GIS map of a local park, youth across all project areas compete and participate in the county fair activities because they are fun.

    Youth have shared that “achieving goals,” “spending time with friends,” and “teamwork” contributed toward their engagement in the annual county fair. Recognition, competition, fair premiums, and qualifying for the State Fair ranked low in comparison to these other motivating factors.

    Important educational youth development opportunities also exist within the 4-H fair experience. By completing 4-H projects and activities at the local fair and throughout the year, youth are mastering skills to make positive career and life choices. It is important for youth to discover in a non-threatening setting that certain vocations may or may not be right for them.

    Give 4-H youth at your local county fair a grand champion experience by providing constructive feedback and encouragement. Your words and actions will allow youth to discover their own personal strengths and weaknesses through their 4-H project areas, all while having fun in a positive county fair environment. We can’t wait to see you at the Wayne County Fair July 27 – 30th!

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    Sparks! What are they and where do you find them?

    By Julie Schultz
    May 25, 2023 

                Sparks! Not the dangerous kind, but the kind that ignite the fire within our youth! Peter Benson defines sparks as “hidden flames in your kids that light their proverbial fire, get them excited, tap into their true passions” (2008). These sparks are what motivate our youth to participate in their many activities, events, and ways they spend their time. Sparks are the things youth love to do and get naturally excited about doing. 

                Youth typically experience three types of sparks. They are something they are good at-talent or skill, something they care strongly about, and a quality they know is special. Youth can sometimes recognize the sparks within themselves and will describe them as things they ‘love’ to do or activities that excite them. When youth can recognize their own sparks, they may need help igniting them! As adults, we face the challenge of recognizing sparks in youth and setting them a blaze. Once you recognize sparks in youth, it is important to encourage those sparks to grow and develop. Development of sparks can bridge the gap between the activities youth are doing now to potential careers and their future. Parents and guardians are integral in the development of sparks in youth, but they are not the only important guides for youth. Any adult or role model in a youth’s life can become a “spark champion” (Benson, 2008). Spark champions are those who will support and encourage youth on their spark journey, but are not directly in contact with the youth every day.

    As 4-H volunteers and leaders, you are a spark champion in the lives of your 4-Hers. You can help identify and develop the sparks within your members. This can be done through helping them identify their sparks, encouraging members to express it, model or teach it, provide safe spaces and opportunities for 4-H members to communicate their sparks to others, and help them eliminate obstacles that might be in their way. 4-H encourages the development of new skills and allows youth to explore new areas, all of which can already be untapped sparks or become new sparks for youth to discover. As a 4-H volunteer, you are among your 4-H member’s group of spark champions that encourage and provide spaces for them to grow! You have the flame to ignite the sparks of our youth!

    Benson, P. L. (2008). Sparks: How parents can help ignite the hidden strengths of teenagers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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    Next Chapter

    April 27, 2023

    Being successful in college starts with preparation NOW! It is never too early to begin talking about college with your children. Nebraska Extension has partnered with the University of Nebraska –Lincoln Admissions to develop a statewide program for 4-H members to help families begin conversations beginning in the 8th grade.  

    Next Chapter at Nebraska is a college-readiness program that helps students prepare for and succeed in college by providing the skills students need to reach their academic goals. The program is facilitated through Nebraska 4-H.  

    The program inspires youth to choose to continue their education after high school, promote awareness of higher education options, develop college and career readiness skills, help students pair their interests with career choices and engage in 4-H opportunities. 

    Next Chapter at Nebraska is offered to students beginning in 8th grade. Throughout high school, Next Chapter scholars will engage in events, activities and curriculum where they will participate in career exploration, develop research skills and experience a variety of learning methods that will help them transition to and succeed in college.  

    If youth are involved in 4-H in their 8th grade year, they can begin participating in the Next Chapter program. These youth will be pre-admitted to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln! As students progress into their high school years through the Next Chapter program, they will participate in college preparatory activities and curriculum with the goal to be prepared for a successful transition to college. 

    The Next Chapter program is being offered in Wayne County on May 25th. Chapters 1 and 2 will be presented for students. On June 2nd, Chapters 3 and 4 will be offered for participants. All sessions will be at the Wayne County Courthouse! To learn more about the Next Chapter program and how to sign up, please contact Nebraska Extension in Wayne County at 402-375-3310!

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    4-H Volunteers Help Youth Thrive

    By: Julie Schultz and Jill Goedeken
    March 30, 2023 

    April 16 – 22nd is Volunteer Appreciation Week! Our 4-H and Extension programs cannot function without all of our great volunteers! Volunteers have been the long-time champions for the 4-H program, delivering 4-H experiences to youth across the nation for decades. Volunteers bring invaluable skills and resources to their role, dedicating hours to teaching youth new skills and helping them grow as leaders. It is certainly not difficult to visibly see a volunteer’s impact in this way. 

    However, there are many other ways in which volunteers help youth thrive that are not as easy to visibly see. Volunteers, specifically 4-H club leaders, undoubtedly are a key part of the 4-H program and the impact on youth for years to come. But, how? This happens through developmental relationships, which are close connections through which young people discover who they are, cultivate abilities to shape their own lives and learn how to engage with and contribute to the world around them.   

    Developmental relationships between youth and adults are an important aspect of the 4-H program. Research shows that the relational quality between the 4-H leader, volunteer, and member is connected to positive youth development. 4-H volunteers foster a developmental relationship with youth when they express care, challenge growth, provide support, share power, and expand possibilities.  

    Some of the ways 4-H volunteers build a developmental relationship with youth is through a variety of visible approaches. Examples include, but are not limited to, showing youth they enjoyed spending time together, making youth feel known and valued, being someone youth can trust and praising youth for their efforts and achievements. Implementing these approaches to having a developmental relationship with youth encourages youth to know their 4-H club leader cares about them and their success.  

    Healthy developmental relationships grow over time to move past a mainly adult-driven relationship to shifting the power to the youth. In addition, as the relationship between the 4-H leader and the youth continues to grow and foster a deeper connection, the impact on the youth deepens as well.  

    Thank you 4-H volunteers for creating 4-H experiences for youth to experience new skills and helping them grow as leaders, and ultimately finding their spark in life!

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    A New Direction

    February 23, 2023 

                Nebraska Extension in Wayne County has been serving the community for many years! While our services have rarely changed, our focus has from time to time. Late in 2022 Nebraska Extension rolled out a new strategic direction for all of our programs! The Big Three!

                To help guide our work over the next several years, we have implemented a new strategic direction. It leverages Extension’s expertise and strengths to align with what Nebraskans tell us they want and need. We know that circumstances can change. New challenges and opportunities will arise. But Extension’s clear strategic direction will allow us to respond accordingly, while remaining focused on helping Nebraska and its people. Our strategic direction can be boiled down to three ambitions: we’re calling these “The Big 3” and they address three critical issues for Nebraskans.

          • Strengthen Nebraska Agriculture and Food Systems.
          • Inspire Nebraskans and Their Communities.
          • Enhance the Health and Wellbeing of all Nebraskans.

    The Big Three energize Nebraska’s future by developing a skilled workforce, reducing healthcare costs, creating statewide economic vitality, retaining, and attracting young  people, and leveraging our strengths for sustained success.

                In strengthening Nebraska Agriculture and food systems Nebraska Extension is ensuring that all Nebraskans have access to safe and healthy food, abundant water, and the benefits of Nebraska’s outdoor spaces.

                By inspiring Nebraskans and their communities Nebraska Extension is connecting diverse population of well-prepared, innovative, and productive people, beginning with Nebraska youth, living in thriving, vibrant communities that are contributing to the sustained success and growth of the entire state.

                Through enhancing the health and wellbeing of all Nebraskans Nebraska Extension is helping Nebraskans be healthier in every respect—physically, mentally, and economically—leading to an even better quality of life, greater prosperity and a promising future for all.

                Our work and our programs are not changing, we are altering our focus to be more centered on what is best for Nebraska and its people!

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    New Year, New Opportunities

    January 26, 2023

    Hi! I’m new here! I’m Julie Schultz and I began my role as the new 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator in Wayne County, on September 1st, 2022. I serve both Wayne and Pierce Counties, but I am based in Wayne. I started with Nebraska Extension in 2015 as the 4-H Educator in Colfax County and I’m excited to be here in Wayne and closer to home. My husband, son, and I live in Pierce with our two dogs! We love to be outdoors together fishing (open water and ice) and hunting!

    My skills and programs are focused in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), leadership development, career and college readiness, and entrepreneurship. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know Wayne County better

    We are getting ready to celebrate Nebraska 4-H Month in February! What is 4-H? 4-H is the world’s leading youth development organization, serving over six million youth annually. 4-H gives young people the opportunity to find a sense of belonging through 4-H clubs, camps, afterschool groups, or special events. While there are many ways to participate in 4-H that do not require enrollment, Nebraska 4-H Month is the perfect time to join or complete the annual re-enrollment process. We ask that our families enroll on before February 1st to make sure you don’t miss any important updates and deadlines! 4-H enrollment is open to all youth ages 8-18. With over 150 projects in a variety of topic areas, every young person can find a 4-H project that fits their interests. By enrolling, youth have the opportunity to exhibit their 4-H projects at the Wayne County Fair and the Nebraska State Fair, as well as participate in other contests and events.

    There are two ways your child/ren can participate in 4-H. If your child is 5-7, there is the Clover Kids level of 4-H membership. Clover Kids can do special projects designed for their age level, as well as taking part in “club projects” of all sorts. Clover Kids may also exhibit at the county fair and will receive comments and encouragement on their exhibits and will receive a special Clover Kid ribbon for each exhibit.

    The traditional 4-H program is designed for youth ages 8-18 as of December 31 of the previous year. 4-H members at this level can choose from hundreds of projects and investigate careers and interests to see if it is really something they want to do. Traditional 4-H clubs are the life-blood of the program with 4-H members learning with their friends as parents and other caring adults guide them as 4-H Leaders in the projects and activities.

    4-H is not only for youth! It takes a whole team of adults and volunteers to help make our programs successful! If you are interested in enrolling your child/ren in 4-H, or volunteering, please contact our office at 402-375-3310!

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    Connecting During the Holidays

    December 29, 2022

    The holidays are often a time filled with joy as many reunite with family or friends not seen on a regular basis. Holiday gatherings are time to share special traditions such as favorite recipes, playing games, watching movies or just “catching up”. Holiday gatherings help children, youth, and adults create social connection whether meeting face to face or virtually. Intentionally building connections can make gatherings with family or friends more impactful. 

    According to an article published on Nebraska Extension’s ruralwellness.unl.edu website, “Research consistently tells us that taking care of others and maintaining meaningful relationships across generations are important for resilience and wellbeing.” (Bulling et al. 2020) Meaningful relationships contribute to a sense of belonging and help us feel connected. These connections can be strengthened by sharing family stories and engaging in traditions among multiple generations. 

    With all the activities of the holiday season, make sure to create time for meaningful connection with friends and family. Dr. Emma Seppala, the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, points out that people who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression. Studies also show connected people have higher self-esteem, greater empathy for others, are more trusting and cooperative. 

    Here are some fun and creative ways to connect to loved ones this holiday season. 

          • Playing games together gives an opportunity to bond. Board games and playing cards can be played face to face or virtually.
          • Do an art project. It is a fun way to spend time with people you care about, especially for children. Projects develop creativity, create memories, and can be gifts for others.
          • During a holiday meal, have your child host “opening” and “closing” ceremonies. These “opening” and “closing” ceremonies could include sharing a poem, pausing for a time of reflection, singing a song, performing a dance, or telling a joke.
          • Baking and cooking together is a fun activity. Not only can you make some tasty treats, but the holiday goodies can be shared with family, friends, and neighbors.
          • Practice gratitude by writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family. Create a gratitude jar where everyone writes down something they are grateful for on a slip of paper then have each person take out a slip of paper and read the gratitude message aloud.
          • Create messages of kindness. Make yard signs or paint rocks with kindness messages. 

    These are just a few suggestions to help you create holiday experiences that help your loved ones connect with one another. Making these connections for young people can contribute to their positive well-being and build resiliency. More information and resources about youth social-emotional development can be found at www. 4h.unl.edu/supporting-young-people-through-change or by contacting your Nebraska Extension office

    Adopted from: Brandy VanDeWalle, Extension Educator in Fillmore County, November, 2021

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    Making Contributions During the Holidays

    November 24, 2022

    The holiday season gives youth and adults an opportunity to stop and reflect on events of the past year, one’s beliefs and values, and what gives life meaning and purpose. As 2022 draws to a close, it is a wonderful time to reflect and act in ways that provide contributions to others.

    Research has found when we feel we have made a difference in the lives of others, it often gives our own life meaning and purpose. Even small acts of kindness can provide great life satisfaction. By serving others in a positive way, one can gain a deeper sense of perspective. When considering ways to contribute, make sure to ask a few questions. Does this opportunity align with my values, budget, and time capacity? Below are some tips to help you and the young people in your life make meaningful contributions this holiday season. 

          • Become a Volunteer – This requires giving your time, talents, and energy to a cause without receiving money. Volunteering can be an individual or family activity. It can be a great way to meet new people and strengthen existing relationships. Taking the initiative to address a need in your community can give you a sense of accomplishment. Depending on the task, volunteering can help you or a young person build self-confidence and improve one’s physical health. This holiday season, look for places to volunteer like a food pantry, school, animal shelter, or a youth program like 4-H Youth Development.
          • Raise Funds – Raising money can build momentum around a cause in your community. It is important to support something that aligns with your values. Many organizations rely on the generosity of others to assist them in their work through financial contributions. These funds go toward needed items, services, and programs. Raising funds for others can teach children, youth, and you to appreciate what you have and understand that at any age you can share your resources with others.
          • Be an Advocate – By bringing awareness to a topic you are passionate about helps other people learn more about an issue which, in turn, can lead to additional support now and in the future. For example, you might want to raise awareness about issues of hunger and poverty in your community or highlight the need for safe places for children and youth to gather.
          • Express Gratitude – Gratitude is expressing a feeling of appreciation for something or someone that has added goodness to your life. It costs nothing and the advantages can be life changing. The benefits of gratitude can bring us happiness, reduce anxiety and depression, and strengthen our immune system. It can help us to sleep better, be more resilient, and strengthen our personal relationships. Showing appreciation can have a lasting impact on others. Take time to say “thank you” to a friend, neighbor, or family member for all they have done this past year.

     Making a contribution this holiday season can lead to meaningful events throughout your life and have a lasting impact on you, your family, and your world. Remember to always ask the question, what can I do to make a contribution to others and in my community now and in the future? More information and resources about youth social-emotional development can be found at Supporting Young People or by contacting local county Nebraska Extension offices.

    Resources

     

    Author: Dawn Lindsley, EdD., Career and College Success Extension Educator, Nebraska Extension

    __________

    Thank You

    October 27, 2022

    In Nebraska one in three age-eligible youth take part in 4-H, America’s largest youth development organization. Through 4-H, youth gain experiences that help them become skilled employees, creative thinkers, and good citizens. Nebraska Extension not only brings 4-H to Nebraska; but also, a vast array of University resources and research while partnering with schools, after-school programs, and youth organizations to provide curriculum and educational content. The result is that young Nebraskans are inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The youth are also discovering their true passions, talents, and career opportunities. The next generation of Nebraskans are ready to enhance our workforce and become responsible community leaders. In October, National 4-H Week was celebrated with the theme #Opportunity4All the United States Department of Agriculture signed a proclamation for National 4-H Week.  4-H engages, enables, and empowers more than 6 million young people every day.  The 2022 National 40H week celebrated access and equity for all young people. 

    Each year observations of youth gaining skills takes place.  On November 6, 2022, we will celebrate the achievements of 4-H in Wayne County and 4-H members, clubs, and volunteer leaders who contribute to the 4-H program.  It is always rewarding to take a moment to reflect upon the learnings of the past year. As families celebrate, I find it rewarding to learn about their accomplishments.  There are friendships being built and I hear about the learning that has occurred over the year. 

    Thank you to our 4-Hers, their families who help provide opportunities for our youth, and our club leaders who help youth learn various life skills. Thank you to our event volunteers who give of their time generously to help make a 4-H event like the fair or a specific training take place.

    We appreciate our local Wayne County Agriculture Society who donate many hours to helping provide a learning space for events such as the fair.  Thank you to all of our 4-H donors and those who support the 4-H program in any way from the communities in which we live to our surrounding areas. We appreciate the continued support of our local County Commissioners and taxpayers.  We are fortunate to live in such a caring space for youth and I want to thank everyone for contributing to the Nebraska 4-H Program.    

    As the 4-H year started on October 1, Nebraska Extension had the opportunity to hold the Northeast Nebraska Career Day in which eighty-seven volunteer career presenters gave of their time and talents at the Northeast Nebraska Career Day.  This event has so many contributors and this makes it a success for the 1035 sophomore students from forty-two high schools in Northeast Nebraska.  We are also thankful to the faculty and staff at Wayne State College who welcome the event to the campus and contribute in numerous ways.  

    __________

    National 4-H Week

    September 29, 2022

     National 4-H Week is held every year during the first full week of October. This year October 2-8, 2022 is National 4-H Week. 4-H is part of each Land Grant University System across our Nation. During 4-H Week and beyond, we celebrate our amazing members and tireless volunteers. The power of the 4-H program, empowering nearly six million young people across the United States with skills to lead for a lifetime.

     The Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development program works towards the outcomes of the Nebraska 4-H strategic plan. Each year, Nebraska 4-H measures the success in reaching these outcomes. More than 1,000 youth from across the state contribute their responses to a mixed methods study. The results and participant comments shared in these reports illustrate the impact Nebraska 4-H is making in the lives of young people. Some of the impacts include:

    - 2,650 Nebraska high schoolers who took part in the Next Chapter Nebraska college-readiness program. 93 % of the Next Chapter Nebraska participants shared that 4-H has helped them make decisions about college.

    -Teams of youth develop unique business concepts around a given widget which is used as inspiration for a product or service during INVENTURE Day. Teams move through the INVENTURE Factory, completing challenges and working together to develop their business idea. 71 % of the youth who participated shared that activities completed during INVENTURE Day helped them understand the process of creating a business.

     In Nebraska, one in three age-eligible youth participate in 4-H. Through 4-H, these young people gain experiences that help them become creative thinkers, skilled employees, and good citizens. Nebraska Extension not only brings 4-H to Nebraska; it brings an array of University resources and research by partnering with schools, after-school programs and youth organizations to provide curriculum and educational content. As a result of this involvement, the next generation of Nebraskans are ready to enhance our workforce and become responsible community leaders.

     For more information on Nebraska 4-H contact your local Nebraska Extension Office.

    Source:https://extension.unl.edu/impact/2021-Impact/2021-4H-Impact.pdf

    _________________________

    Nebraska State Fair 

    The Nebraska State Fair is August 26-September 5, 2022 in Grand Island. Gates open at 10AM each day.

    Wayne County's State Fair 4-H Results

    To check out the 4-H schedule, search results by name, project area, or another county click here

    __________

    Taking Time to Listen

    May 26, 2022

    Springtime in Nebraska can be a roller coaster. 70 degrees and sunny one day to high winds and 40 degrees another day. Mother Nature appears to either be angry or simply confused. The weather extremes this year include drought, intense winds, and temperature swings. Recently, parts of the state have experienced uncontrolled fires which have left some Nebraskans with destroyed property, loss of potential income, and even loss of life. The most recent natural disaster in Nebraska reminds us of the uncertainties of daily living.

    Nebraskans pride themselves on taking care of one another when they are faced with loss and adversity. This generosity has been witnessed by people who donate money, their time, or work to bring awareness about a specific issue or event. The COVID-19 pandemic and the 2019 flood are two examples of how individuals have come together to aid and care for their neighbors, friends, and communities.

    People coming together to help each other is critical in taking the beginning steps of recovery from a disaster. Specifically, having someone to talk to is a key component of recovery from trauma. There are times when you are in the role as the listener and at other times you may be the person needing the listening ear. If you are the person in the role of a listener here are some tips to increase your effectiveness.

    Be there for others.

    This may be a physical presence, or it may be in the form of a phone call, video chat, or text message. Invite others to share with you about their day or experience. A text, of “How are you doing?” can send the message I care about you, and I am interested to know what is happening with you.

    Listen and watch.

    A good listener asks open-ended questions like, “How are you feeling?” or “Tell me more about your experience.” Good listeners allow the person to talk. Asking follow-up questions that encourage the other person to speak shows that you are interested and are attentive to what the other is saying. “Tell me more” is a comment that you can make to enable a person to continue to share.

    Sharpen your communication skills.

    Does your body language say you care or are paying attention? Maintaining appropriate eye contact and physical touch can communicate your interest in what the other person is saying. Being comfortable with silence in the conversation can also show respect to the other person. It can allow them the time and space they need to process thoughts and feelings. Resist the urge to offer quick advice or pass judgment. Often this type of communication is not helpful or productive. It can lead to negative feelings.

    Normalizing feelings and behaviors.

    A person who experiences trauma from a disaster can often feel a vast range of emotions in an hour, day, or week. There is no “right” way to feel after an intense experience. As a listener you can acknowledge the feelings of the person by saying, “It sounds like you are feeling….. or “That must have been difficult/frustrating/frightening” or “That sounds like a common reaction to…”

    Take care of yourself.

    Being a good friend, neighbor, or community member can be tiring. Listening to someone’s story or trauma can be upsetting, disturbing, and simply hard. These thoughts and feelings are common. When one is empathic it is easy to take on the feelings of others which can lead to your own feelings of being overwhelmed. Self-care is important when engaging in listening. Activities like self-reflection, mediation, exercise, or participating in a hobby are examples of self-care. Taking time for yourself will help you be able to give of yourself more fully.

    In the next couple of months more storms will be on the horizon. Engaging in listening to those impacted by the latest storms will be just one way to assist with recovery, practice kindness, and build community.

    Author: Dr. Michelle Krehbiel, Nebraska Extension, Youth Development Specialist

    * This article is based on Peer Listening written by the Sea Grant: Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium 

     __________

    Empowering Youth with skills to lead for a lifetime...

    April 28, 2022 

    In 4-H, we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us. We are America's largest youth development organization - empowering nearly six million young people across the United States and 140,000 across Nebraska with the skills to lead for a lifetime. We do this through clubs, camps, school enrichment, afterschool, special interest, and clover kid programs. 

          • Camps

    4-H camps provide recreational, educational, and career exploration opportunities for all youth ages 5-18.

          • Clubs

    4-H clubs are organized groups that meet regularly to focus on a series of educational experiences. Membership is open to all youth ages 8-18.

          • School Enrichment

    4-H school enrichment programs offer informal, hands-on educational experiences in classrooms in support of school curriculum.

          • Afterschool

    4-H afterschool programs offer safe, fun, and educational experiences for youth between 3-6 pm.

          • Special Interest

    4-H special interest programs offer unique experiences focused on a single, specific topic of interest, such as workshops, clinics, and courses.

          • Clover Kids

    4-H clover kid programs offer non-competitive experiences and opportunities for youth ages 5-7. 

    Source: https://4h.unl.edu

    _______________________

    Nebraska Extension

    March 24, 2022

    Nebraska Extension has eight key programming impact areas.  These programming areas include:

     -Agriculture Economics

    -Livestock Systems

    -Horticulture, Landscape, and Environmental Systems

    -Early Childhood

    -Food Nutrition and Health

    -4-H and Youth Development

    -Rural Prosperity Nebraska

    -Water and Cropping Systems

     Nebraskans can count on Nebraska Extension to connect with their families, children, businesses and communities by being:

     -Uniquely Local and delivering the resources of the University of Nebraska to all 93 Nebraska Counties.

    -Collaborative in partnering with you to make a positive impact on complex issues.

    -Relevant in leveraging the strengths of Nebraskans and their University to make a difference in the lives and livelihoods of people in our state.

    -Accountable in returning Nebraskans’ investment in their University directly to their counties and communities.

    -Research-Based in sharing scientifically sound insight to help Nebraskans make better informed decisions with greater confidence.

    -Inclusive in serving every person and every interaction with honor and respect.

    -Innovative in challenging ourselves to take a “what if?” and “why not?” approach to problem-solving. 

    Nebraska Extension engages with Nebraskans wherever they are, connecting them with the resources, research and innovation of the University of Nebraska.  Nebraskans turn to Extension to strengthen their families, inspire their communities, empower young people, conserve and protect natural resources, and advance their farms, ranches, and businesses.  Some of the Extension Highlights that have taken place during the 2021 programming year include: 

    -Agriculture Economics-112,000 page views at cap.unl.edu, the portal for the new Center of Agricultural Profitability which focuses on financial sustainability of Nebraska crop and livestock operations.

    -Livestock Systems-The average value to beef operations as reported by Beefwatch webinar participants was $26,000.

    -Horticulture, Landscape, and Environmental Systems-156 certified pollinator habitats were established in 22 counties, with 77 percent increasing their plant abundance and diversity.

    -Early Childhood-19,000 Nebraska children reached through 4,000 childcare providers participating in Nebraska Extension professional development programs.

    -Food Nutrition and Health-350+ Nebraskans completing a food safety course in response to the new Nebraska Cottage Food Law.

    -4-H and Youth Development-There were 2,650 Nebraska high school students who took part in the Next Chapter Nebraska college-readiness program.

    -Rural Prosperity Nebraska-73 Nebraska communities received $1.6 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for infrastructure improvements  due to support and encouragement by Extension educators’.

    -Water and Cropping Systems-The total value of Soybean Management Field Days as identified by 2021 attendees was $12.7 million. 

    Find out more information about Nebraska Extension programs at extension.unl.edu.

    _________________

    4-H Grows Here

    February 24, 2022 

    4-H empowers youth with skills to lead for a lifetime. In 4-H, we believe in the power of young people. We see that every child has valuable strengths and real influence to improve the world around us. We are America's largest youth development organization - empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S. and 140,000 across Nebraska with the skills to lead for a lifetime. We do this through clubs, camps, school enrichment, afterschool, special interest, and clover kid programs. These delivery methods are utilized to help youth gain skills.  

    Camps-4-H camps provide recreational, educational, and career exploration opportunities for all youth ages 5-18. 

    Clubs-4-H clubs are organized groups that meet regularly to focus on a series of educational experiences. Membership is open to all youth ages 8-18. 

    School Enrichment-4-H school enrichment programs offer informal, hands-on educational experiences in classrooms in support of school curriculum. 

    Afterschool-4-H afterschool programs offer safe, fun, and educational experiences for youth between 3-6 pm.

     Special Interest-4-H special interest programs offer unique experiences focused on a single, specific topic of interest, such as workshops, clinics, and courses.

     Clover Kids-4-H clover kid programs offer non-competitive experiences and opportunities for youth ages 5-7.

     For more information on 4-H in your county, contact your local Nebraska Extension Office. 

    Source: https://4h.unl.edu

    __________

    February is Nebraska 4-H Month

    January 27, 2022

    Nebraska 4-H Month, traditionally held during February each year, is an opportunity to celebrate 4-H locally, recruit new members and volunteers, and have fun in 2022!

    The 4-H Mission
    The mission of Nebraska 4-H is to empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Nebraska 4-H strives to help young people achieve their greatest potential by introducing high-quality youth development programs and experiences into the lives of Nebraska youth and families. By taking part in Nebraska 4-H, youth are preparing for a successful future. Educational experiences offered through Nebraska 4-H focus upon Science Literacy and Quality Learning Engagement in the priority areas of Career and College Success, Healthy Living, STEM, Agricultural Literacy, Leadership Development and Entrepreneurship.

    The 4-H Organizational Structure
    Nebraska 4-H is delivered primarily on a local level by county-based Extension faculty and staff. County 4-H programs are supported, in part, by county commissioners and their communities in delivering educational youth programs. Statewide, Nebraska 4-H sponsored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, a division of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, commonly referred to as IANR. Nationally, 4-H is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in the United State Department of Agriculture, or USDA. Additionally, the Nebraska 4-H Foundation works closely with Nebraska 4-H through fund generation efforts.

    The 4-H Educational Philosophy
    Nebraska 4-H prepares young people for successful futures. Educational programs place a strong emphasis on life skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, social skills, communication, responsibility, citizenship, and leadership. These skills are fostered through educational programming based on an experiential learning model. This gives youth the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning experiences built around the concept of positive youth development, which is centered on structured out-of-school time learning, leadership experiences, and adult mentoring. View the video below to learn more about positive youth development in Nebraska 4-H. 

    Learn more about how to enroll in 4-H which is for youth ages 5-18 by December 31 of 2022, by contacting your local Nebraska Extension Office. 

    __________

    Communicating During the Holidays

    December 30, 2021 

    The challenges that we have all faced since the onset of COVID-19 are still present. The holiday season is upon us and for some us, the holiday season adds to one’s stress level. As individuals and families plan holiday gatherings, many are wondering how topics about politics, health, wealth, or a favorite sports team will come up in conversation. Additionally, children and young people may experience a variety of emotions during the holidays and have a difficult time expressing themselves in words which can lead to misguided behaviors and hurt feelings. Whether it is an adult chat after a holiday meal or a conversation with children after opening presents, using good communication skills can prevent misunderstandings and avoid heartache. Below are some strategies to help youth (and adults) communicate throughout the holidays. 

          • Engage in active listening. Active listening is critical when responding to children and adults. Engage in active listening by allowing the person talking to finish, simply don’t interrupt the person talking. If you desire more information ask questions to gain understanding instead of jumping to conclusions. Simply, say, “Tell me more.” Use “I” statements instead of making comments like “you never help clean the house.” Passing judgment, interrupting, name-calling and yelling will close the door on future conversations and can contribute to a lifetime of hurt.
          • Engage in conversation with your children. Be intentional about taking the time to talk with your children. Simply, ask them about their day or what is bringing them joy, happiness, or what they are finding difficult. If not meeting friends and family in person over the holidays, schedule a virtual meeting for children to interact with grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other extended family members. These social interactions can help young people feel valued and supported.
          • Acknowledge your child’s (or others’) feelings. Simply ask them how they are feeling. As an adult check-in with them daily about what feelings they are experiencing. As your child is sharing their feelings with you, make sure you are listening and not passing judgment. Try as best as you can to keep the lines of communication open. As an adult be a good role model and take the time to express your own feelings with family members. Showing ways to communicate one’s feelings in a healthy manner provides a positive example for young people.
          • Respond with empathy. Offer words of encouragement and support. Think about how you would want others to respond if they were listening to you. Use words like “that might be hard” or “I haven’t thought about it that way.”
          • Stay calm. If conversations do get heated remember that it is important to stay calm. It is okay to take a short walk or remove yourself from the situation for a minute or two so that you can calm down and regain your composure.
          • Remember the “big picture”. The reality is that we all need to support one another to make it through life. Friendships, family ties, and community connections are what make life worth living. Getting upset about politics, religion, or long-time family issues will not be helpful, instead, it can create divisions that take a lifetime to heal. Choose your words wisely. 

    These communication strategies can be helpful in family gatherings, chatting with the teenage neighbor, or lifelong friends, or with the sales clerk at the grocery store. Take this holiday season to use words of love, joy, and peace. More information and resources about youth social-emotional development can be found at Supporting Young People or by contacting local county Nebraska Extension office.

    _________________

    Nebraska 4-H

    November 25, 2021

    A 4-H Club is an organized group of at least five youth from three different families who meet regularly with adult volunteers or 4-H staff for a long-term, progressive series of educational experiences. The purpose of a 4-H club is to provide positive youth development and foster educational opportunities to meet the needs of young people.

    Club membership is open to all youth between the ages of 8 and 18 as of December 31 of the current year. Youth ages 5 to 7 may also participate as Clover Kids. Members are required to officially enroll in 4-H. 4-H Club membership is open to all youth without regard to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, gender identity, sex, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran's status, marital status, religion, political affiliation, or socioeconomic backgrounds. All 4-H club members must be enrolled in a 4-H club each year.

    4-H Clubs conduct regular meetings at least six times a year, either virtually or face-to-face, in various locations. Members participate in service-learning projects, give presentations, serve as club officers, and complete educational projects.

    The purpose of a 4-H club is to provide positive youth development opportunities to meet the needs of young people to experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity–the Essential Elements–and to foster educational opportunities tied to the Land Grant University knowledge base.

    All Clubs must be advised by an adult club leader. Leaders may be volunteers or staff who have been screened and trained in accordance with the Nebraska 4-H Policy and Procedures Handbook. 

    For more information on how to become involved in Nebraska 4-H, contact your local Nebraska Extension Office.

    Source: https://4h.unl.edu/clubs

    __________

    THANK YOU

    October 28, 2021 

    In Nebraska one in three age-eligible youth take part in 4-H, America’s largest youth development organization. Through 4-H, youth gain experiences that help them become skilled employees, creative thinkers, and good citizens. Nebraska Extension not only brings 4-H to Nebraska; but also, a vast array of University resources and research while partnering with schools, after-school programs, and youth organizations to provide curriculum and educational content. The result is that young Nebraskans are inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The youth are also discovering their true passions, talents, and career opportunities. The next generation of Nebraskans are ready to enhance our workforce and become responsible community leaders. 

    I have the opportunity each year to observe these happenings.  Our 4-H year concluded in September, and we were able to celebrate the successes at the 2021 4-H Achievement Program. We recognized members, clubs, and volunteer leaders who contributed to the 4-H program.  It is always good to take a moment to reflect upon the learnings of the past year. As families came to celebrate, I find it rewarding to learn about their accomplishments.  You can see the friendships formed and then hear about the learning moments. It is a true privilege to have the opportunity to work with youth and volunteers in the Nebraska 4-H program, as well as supportive communities who care so much about the youth.  

    Thank you to our 4-Hers, their families who help provide opportunities for our youth, and our club leaders who help youth learn various life skills. Thank you to our event volunteers who give of their time generously to help make a 4-H event like the fair or a specific training happen.

    We appreciate our local Wayne County Agriculture Society who donate many hours to helping provide a learning space for events such as the fair.  Thank you to all of our 4-H donors and those who support the 4-H program in any way from the communities in which we live to our surrounding areas.  We are fortunate to live in such a caring space for youth and I want to thank everyone for contributing to the Nebraska 4-H Program.    

    As we close out the 4-H year, we were excited to kick of the coming year on October 19, 2021.  Our first event occurred because of the eighty-five volunteer career presenters who gave of their time and talents at the Northeast Nebraska Career Day that is coordinated by Nebraska Extension.  This event has so many contributors and this makes it a success for the 1050 sophomore students from forty high schools in Northeast Nebraska.  We are also thank to the faculty and staff at Wayne State College who welcome the event to the campus and contribute in numerous ways.  

    ______________

    National 4-H Week

    September 30, 2021 

    October 3rd-9th is National 4-H Week.  4-H is the youth development program that is part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Land Grant Institution. Across the nation each Land Grant Institution has a 4-H and Youth Development program.  This program focuses on youth ages 5-18 by December 31 of the current year. If a child is five years of age by December 31, 2021, they are eligible for the 4-H program in Nebraska, we call this program the Clover Kid Program.  If a youth is between the ages of 8 and 18 as of December 31, 2021, they can be part of the club program and many special interest programs as well.  

    In Nebraska, one in three age-eligible youth take part in 4-H, America’s largest youth development organization. Through 4-H, youth gain experiences that help them become skilled employees, creative thinkers, and good citizens. Nebraska Extension not only brings 4-H to Nebraska; but also, a vast array of University resources and research—partnering with schools, after-school programs, and youth organizations to provide curriculum and educational content. Young Nebraskans are inspired to discover their true passions, talents, and career opportunities. 

    The 4-H year starts each October and ends the following September 30.  Currently our 4-H Online Enrollment portal is being serviced and it will again open in November.  If you know of a youth who may be interested in being a part of the Nebraska 4-H program, please have them contact their local Nebraska Extension Office.  Each county will explain opportunities that are available throughout the year. This could involve special interest events such as Career Chat Live for middle school and junior high students allowing them to explore business and industry professionals in partnership with EducationQuest Foundation or a Next Chapter event that is for ninth through twelfth grade students learning about skills that they can utilize in high school and beyond.   

    More information can be found at http://4h.unl.edu

    _________________

    What are Life Skills?

    August 26, 2021

    Life skills are defined in the Targeting Life Skills Model as “Skills that help an individual to be successful in living a productive and satisfying life.”  In Nebraska 4-H we focus on the Life Skills model.

    What does the Targeting Life Skills Model mean for the 4-H volunteer? As a volunteer working with youth, you have many opportunities to assist youth in developing life skills. The Targeting Life Skills Model identifies and divides the major life skills targeted by 4-H youth development by the four H’s from the 4-H Clover that represents Head, Heart, Hands and Health. These four are further divided into categories of life skills and then into specific general skills.  As you capitalize on the youth’s interest in exploring 4-H, your challenge is to provide age-appropriate skills until they are learned and able to be used everyday. By using the Experiential Learning Model and Targeting Life Skills Model to help youth fully internalize both the exploring 4-H content and life skill practiced, they gain the ability to apply both types of skills appropriately. Targeting Life Skills Models is a guide for planning ensure 4-H members are gaining life skills and to help volunteers see the interrelatedness of activities and learning.

    Under the 4-H Clover H of Head, the focus is on managing and thinking.  Some examples include:  Keeping records, planning and organizing, service learning and problem solving.

    Under the 4-H Clover H of Heart, the focus is on relating and caring.  Some examples include: Sharing, concern for others, social skills and communication.

    Under the 4-H Clover H of Hands, the focus is on giving and working.  Some examples include: Leadership, contributions to a group effort, team work and self-motivation.

    Under the 4-H Clover H of Health, the focus is on living and working. Some examples include: self-responsibility, character, healthy lifestyle choices, and personal safety.

    Source: https://4h.unl.edu/documents/Targeting%20Life%20Skills.pdf

    ______________

    THANK YOU

    July 29, 2021

    In Nebraska one in three age-eligible youth take part in 4-H, America’s largest youth development organization. Through 4-H, youth gain experiences that help them become skilled employees, creative thinkers, and good citizens. Nebraska Extension not only brings 4-H to Nebraska; but also, a vast array of University resources and research—partnering with schools, after-school programs, and youth organizations to provide curriculum and educational content. The result is that young Nebraskans are inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. More youth are also discovering their true passions, talents, and career opportunities. The next generation of Nebraskans are ready to enhance our workforce and become responsible community leaders.

    I have the opportunity each year to observe these learning opportunities at the Wayne County Fair.  I am also well aware that much learning takes place outside of this environment too, in preparation for this event and other 4-H events. It is a true privilege to have the opportunity to work with youth and volunteers in the Nebraska 4-H program, as well as live in a supportive county and surrounding area who care so much about the youth. 

    Thank you so much to our 4-H families who help provide opportunities for our youth. Thank you to our volunteer club leaders and project leaders who also help youth learn various life skills. Thank you to our event volunteers who give of their time generously to help make a 4-H event like the fair happen, in addition to events throughout the year.

    We appreciate our local Wayne County Agriculture Society who donate many hours to helping provide a learning space for events such as the fair.  Thank you to all of our 4-H donors and those who support the 4-H program in any way from the communities in which we live to our surrounding areas. 

    We are fortunate to live in such a caring space for youth and I want to thank everyone for contributing to the Nebraska 4-H Program.

    ____________

    Life Skills

    June 24, 2021 

    Life skills are defined in the Targeting Life Skills Model as “Skills that help an individual to be successful in living a productive and satisfying life.”  In Nebraska 4-H we focus on the Life Skills model. 

    What does the Targeting Life Skills Model mean for the 4-H volunteer? As a volunteer working with youth, you have many opportunities to assist youth in developing life skills. The Targeting Life Skills Model identifies and divides the major life skills targeted by 4-H youth development by the four H’s from the 4-H Clover that represents Head, Heart, Hands and Health. These four are further divided into categories of life skills and then into specific general skills.  As you capitalize on the youth’s interest in exploring 4-H, your challenge is to provide age-appropriate skills until they are learned and able to be used every day. By using the Experiential Learning Model and Targeting Life Skills Model to help youth fully internalize both the exploring 4-H content and life skill practiced, they gain the ability to apply both types of skills appropriately. Targeting Life Skills Models is a guide for planning ensure 4-H members are gaining life skills and to help volunteers see the interrelatedness of activities and learning. 

    Under the 4-H Clover H of Head, the focus is on managing and thinking.  Some examples include:  Keeping records, planning and organizing, service learning and problem solving. 

    Under the 4-H Clover H of Heart, the focus is on relating and caring.  Some examples include: Sharing, concern for others, social skills and communication. 

    Under the 4-H Clover H of Hands, the focus is on giving and working.  Some examples include: Leadership, contributions to a group effort, team work and self-motivation. 

    Under the 4-H Clover H of Health, the focus is on living and working. Some examples include: self-responsibility, character, healthy lifestyle choices, and personal safety. 

    Source: https://4h.unl.edu/documents/Targeting%20Life%20Skills.pdf

    ___________________

    Volunteers Important to 4-H Program

    April 29, 2021 

    Volunteers play an important role in the 4-H program. National Volunteer Week was recognized by Nebraska 4-H last week. In Nebraska, 4-H volunteers play a vital role in the ongoing growth and development of 4-Hers. 

    4-H has learning experiences in which volunteers you can help youth build confidence and practical life skills. Nebraska 4-H offers a wide variety of involvement opportunities for adult volunteers from a one-time event or program to a multi-year experience. 4-H volunteers engage youth ages 5-19, using Positive Youth Development. 

    For the safety of the 4-H program, certain volunteer roles within Nebraska 4-H require additional training and all 4-H volunteers and staff are required to complete the Nebraska 4-H volunteer screening process. Volunteers learn about the role of Positive Youth Development in the 4-H experience, learn about best practices in creating a safe environment for youth, and learn how to successfully work with youth. 

    This past week, Nebraska 4-H hosted daily 4-H Volunteer Lunch & Learn sessions, including topics on How to Incorporate Positive Youth Development into Your Work; How to Keep the 4-H Experiences Fresh; How to Lead a Club that Works; and the week wrapped up with a session on Confidence in Conflict Resolution.

    We are grateful that there are nearly 12,000 volunteers of Nebraska 4-H. These volunteers play a key role in sharing knowledge about a variety of 4-H project areas. For more information on how you can become a 4-H volunteer, contact your local Nebraska Extension office or by visiting 4h.unl.edu/volunteer. Thank you to all of our 4-H volunteers!

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    Benefits of Youth-Adult Partnerships

    March 22, 2021

     In 4-H adult leaders play and important role in the program as they work alongside the youth.  Youth can be active participants in school and community activities, especially if they receive mentoring and encouragement from adults. Youth who are engaged in their communities now will benefit the future of our communities.  

     What is a youth-adult partnership?

    A youth-adult partnership is a joint effort—youth and adult working together to achieve common goals. Adults offer the knowledge they have on a topic and the youth are able to give fresh ideas, energy and enthusiasm to carry out the goal. 

     Youths gain . . .

    • Life skills such as leadership, planning, and teamwork.

    • A sense of belonging and being accountable and committed to their community.

    • Civic awareness, the capacity to care for others, and a desire to change and improve the lives of others.

    • A sense of pride and the feeling of being needed and valued.

    • New respect and acceptance from adults.

     Adults gain . . .

    • Open and honest interactions and feedback about existing programs or services relating to youth.

    • Access to new collaborators with fresh and innovative ideas, creativity, energy, and enthusiasm.

    • New perspectives on decision-making and community problem-solving, as responsibilities are shared with the partnering young people.

    • Opportunities to foster active community members for the future.

     Communities gain . . .

    • Mutual understanding and increased trust between youth and adults, leading to strong youth-adult partnerships.

    • New relationships among organizations as they work together to support youth.

    • Fresh perspectives on policy making, as youth gain a voice.

    • Citizens who are more knowledgeable and invested in youth and the community.

     

    Source: Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development, et al. 2003. Youth-Adult Partnerships: A Training Manual. Takoma Park, MD.

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    Children & Parenting: Communication

    February 25, 2021

     Effective communication is critical in every aspect of a person's life. Communication skills influence relationships in families, children, friends and at work. Good communication helps build relationships in good times, and mend relationships in difficult times. These skills include speaking as well as listening and nonverbal communication.

          • Nonverbal body language can make up as much as 55% of what we communicate, our voice and tone 38%, and the words we say merely 7% of the meaning that gets across.

    Family communication - Family members need to practice positive communications. Positive communication smooths out the bumps in the road and is

          •  respectful,
          •  open,
          •  honest,
          •  straight-forward and
          •  kind.

    Handling conflict and anger - Wherever human interactions exist, there is a potential for conflict and anger to arise. Conflict can lead to either breakdown in the relationship, the family, friendship, or work environment, or it can lead to creative solutions and improved relationships.

    Anger is a normal, human emotion that can be intense. Everyone gets angry on occasion. The trick is to manage emotions in such a way that positive actions are mobilized and not negative ones. Typically, anger is a response to one of many specific things.

     

    Source: This article has been written and reviewed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educators and Specialists. https://child.unl.edu/family-communication

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    Nebraska 4-H

     January 28, 2021

    One in three age-eligible young Nebraskans take part in 4-H, America’s largest youth development organization. Through 4-H, these young people gain experiences that help them become skilled employees, creative thinkers, and good citizens. Nebraska Extension not only brings 4-H to Nebraska; we bring a vast array of University resources and research—partnering with schools, after-school programs, and youth organizations to provide curriculum and educational content. The result? Young Nebraskans inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Underserved populations with more opportunity to create and contribute. More kids discovering their true passions, talents, and career opportunities. And the next generation of Nebraskans ready to enhance our workforce and become responsible community leaders. 

    Nebraska 4-H offers learning experiences that help prepare youth for the future.  In 2020, 4-H programming across the state was presented virtually. One program highlighted in Northeast Nebraska focused on College and Career Success.  Through in person and virtual Career & College Readiness programming in 2020, Nebraska 4-H continued to provide youth with meaningful and measurable, exploratory and skill building opportunities.  769 youth from thirty-three high schools in Northeast Nebraska participated virtually in the Northeast Nebraska Career Day this past Fall.  109 different career and educational presenters shared their knowledge with sophomores in high school. Eighty-eight percent of the participants indicated that because of 4-H, they know what they may do after high school. Another program to highlight is the Nebraska 4-H Give Back program. This is an opportunity for a Nebraska 4-H member or a team of 4-H’ers to make a meaningful contribution to their community. 

    Currently the 4-H enrollment system is up and running.  If you know of someone age 5-18 as of December 31, 2020 and they are interested in 4-H and Youth Development programs offered through Nebraska Extension, please contact your local Nebraska Extension Office.  In Wayne County, go to wayne.unl.edu to find out more information or call 402-375-3310. 

    Source: 4 -H Youth Development 2020 Impact At-A-Glance Brought to you by Nebraska Extension

                                                                                -------------------

    Positive Youth Development Framework

    December 31, 2020 

    Nebraska 4-H Youth Development program works through a Positive Youth Development Framework.  This Framework includes Science Literacy and Quality Learning Engagement. The framework is carried out by preparing youth to make decisions for today and in the future. Youth may be engaged in STEM and Agriculture literacy programs and entrepreneurship. 4-H and Youth Development also prepares youth to make decisions for the future through career and college readiness and healthy living programs.  Through STEM and the food supply confidence programs youth learn about many items related to science and feeding the world.  

    These programming areas are all delivered in various ways. Delivery methods include after school programs, special interest groups, clubs, camps, and school enrichment.  Special Interest programs include 4-H clubs, and camps.  Nebraska Extension 4-H and Youth Development programs across the country plan many educational opportunities for youth throughout the year.  This could be through a 4-H Camp.  The camp may be located at the State 4-H Camps in Halsey, or it may be located in a community park.  Camps give youth the opportunity to explore nature and learn leadership and citizenship skills. 

    4-H Clubs work to prepare projects for community events such as the fair.  Youth who are enrolled in various projects may be involved in special project days or workshops that are centered around 4-H curriculum areas.  At these educational workshops 4-Hers learn a skill.  They skill may include acrylic painting, woodworking, clothing, entomology, home environment or Tractor safety training.  All these educational opportunities allow youth to learn about themselves while exploring the various environments around them. 

    In most cases when youth attend an educational workshop, they learn the skill of communicating with other youth, as well as the specific topic area.  4-H projects are worked on throughout the entire year.  Be sure to contact your local Nebraska Extension Office for opportunities for youth in your area.  4-H Enrollment is now open, more information can be found at wayne.unl.edu.

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    Strong Family Relationships

    October 29, 2020

    Strong families know their family strengths and those areas where they could improve. They have healthy relationships and practice positive parenting skills.

    Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has focused on families who believe they are doing well. Family members from all 50 states and 27 countries have been asked, "What makes your family strong?" Read what these families have shared about 6 strengths that are similar from culture to culture.

    Families are the basic, foundational social units in all human communities around the world. It's in everyone's best interest to help create a positive environment for all families.

    6 strengths families use to create positive environments:

    1. Appreciation and affection- Appreciation and affection are about caring for each other as family members. Sharing positive emotional feelings with each other and being nice to each other are just a couple of ways families show appreciation and affection.

    2. Commitment- Members of strong families show a strong commitment to one another, investing time and energy in family activities and not letting their work or other priorities take too much time away from family interaction. Commitment is trusting, respecting, accepting - putting your family first.

    3. Positive communication- Communication is a key to a strong family. It should be open, honest and straightforward. Positive communication is about telling others how you feel, compromising or at least agreeing to disagree, as well as verbal praise and giving compliments.

    4. Enjoyable time together- Family time should be fun time. When adults think back on their childhood, it is the happy memories they cherish. Families should work to create customs and rituals that provide them with many enjoyable memories. These do not have to involve lots of money or supplies. Family activities and fun are just finding time to be together. Sharing family mealtimes is one way to spend enjoyable time together.

    5. Spiritual well-being- Spiritual well-being is the hope, faith and optimism a family shares. It is the sacred connections they have or the religion or spirituality they possess. Spiritual well-being is also the caring, support and compassion that families feel.

    6. Successful management of stress and crisis - Strong families have the ability to manage stress and crisis in their lives in positive, creative ways. They work together rather than pulling apart. Crisis and stress are opportunities to help other family members; and helping others can in turn help themselves.

    This article has been written and reviewed by UNL Extension Educators and Specialists and obtained from https://child.unl.edu/family-relationships

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    Essential Elements

    September 24, 2020

    Essential elements are critical to effective youth development programs. These elements help youth become competent, contributing citizens. Created from traditional and applied research characteristics that contribute to positive youth development, they help professionals and volunteers who work with youth view the whole young person, rather than focus on a single aspect of life or development. These elements focus on social, physical, and emotional well-being, and are necessary for positive youth development. Intentional focus on these elements allows youth to benefit from participating in hands-on, experiential activities and events, feeling nurtured in a safe environment, mastering new skills and abilities, and knowing that they are contributing to their community in a positive way. Examples include:

     1. Belonging

          • Positive relationship with a caring adult
          • An inclusive environment
          • A safe environment

    2. Mastery

          • Engagement in learning
          • Opportunity for mastery

    3. Independence

          • Opportunity to see oneself as an activity participant in the future
          • Opportunity for self-determination

    4. Generosity

          • Opportunity to value and practice service to others

    Each individual element is important. However, it is the combination of these elements that create an environment that promotes positive youth development. It is important to be aware of these elements when designing activities because they help professionals and volunteers ensure that experiences, programs, and activities intentionally offer opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning in environments where youth feel safe, can master new skills and abilities, and develop the confidence they need to contribute to their local communities in a positive way.

    Positive Youth Development Connections

    4-H promotes positive youth development by giving youth opportunities to get involved and develop to their full potential. Positive youth development is a framework that highlights the things youth need to become successful. It focuses on strengths instead of limitations and is associated with the five Cs - competence, confidence, character, connection, and caring. Researchers have suggested that a sixth C, contribution (to oneself and others) comes about when the 5 Cs are present in a young person's life.

    Source: https://4h.unl.edu/essential-elements

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    The Experiential Learning Process

    August 27, 2020

     It is important that youth are aware of the learning that takes place as they are involved in experiences. As they reflect on these experiences, they can identify what was most important and how that knowledge can be applied to other life situations. Through 4-H youth programs, adult volunteers can help youth develop these reflective skills. The Experiential Learning Model provides five steps to assist with this process.

     The adult volunteer can begin by:

          • Setting aside enough time for reflecting on the experience.
          • Asking the right questions.
          • Planning developmentally appropriate experiences that lead to reflection.
          • Listening carefully.
          • Supporting each youth’s unique learning.

     

    Step 1: Experience: The hands-on action step.

          • Youth do their project before they are shown or told how to do it.
          • As leaders, “do you sit on your hands enough?” Do not rob youth of their discoveries.
          • Youth experiment with new ideas, interests, projects, etc.

     

    Step 2: Share: Describe what was done.

    Questions to ask youth:

          • What kinds of hopes and dreams did you have for your 4-H experience this year?
          • What did you do?
          • Where did you go?
          • What was your goal for this project when you began?
          • Tell me about your most favorite things about working on your project.
          • Tell about your least favorite things about working on your project.
          • What did you learn while doing this project?
          • What did you learn about yourself?
          • How did you share your project with others?

     

    Step 3:   Process: Identify common themes and discover, what was most important, (the life skill), about project work.

    Questions to ask youth:

          • What did you learn about yourself by doing this project?
          • How did you make your decision? What steps did you take?
          • What did you learn about making decisions?
          • What were some of the common themes or thoughts you had?
          • What problems came up over and over? How did you handle them?
          • Why was this an important/useful thing to do?
          • What suggestions would you have for someone else who wanted to do a similar project?
          • What made this a good project?
          • What life skill(s) were you developing through your project?
          • Why is the life skill you practiced important?
          • What did you learn through sharing with others?

    Step 4:      Generalize: So what?

    Identify how to use what’s been learned in real life.

    These questions transition the experience or “product” itself to the skill being practiced in “real” life. They explore the nature of the life skill, reflect on how the life skill has been developed through their work and set the stage for application of the life skill in new situations.

    Questions to ask youth:

          • What key points have you learned?
          • What similar experience have you had throughout this project/activity?
          • Where have you faced similar challenges in your life?
          • How is this life skill important to you?
          • Where might this situation occur in the future?
          • What did you learn about your decision-making skills?
          • What did you learn about your own skill in communicating with others?
          • What are some ways you like to learn?
          • What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn about this life skill?

     

    Step 5:   Apply: What’s next?

    These are the questions we’ve been building towards: You can help youth show that they have gained new knowledge and practiced the life skills learned rather than solely focusing on the subject matter or product development skills.

    Questions to ask youth:

          • What did the project mean to your everyday life?
          • What have you learned about yourself? Others?
          • What principles or guidelines can you use in real-life situations?
          • What other situations like this have you experienced before?
          • How can you use these skills in different situations?
          • In what ways do people help each other learn new things?
          • What are some ways you can learn new things?
          • Why was this project important to your life?
          • What are qualities that you think are important in a leader?
          • If someone helped or mentored you in this project, what would you tell them you learned and the difference it has made in your life?

     Adapted from: Questions for Guiding Experiential Learning.Deidrick, Doering, Geiser, Kanengieter, Piehl, Stevenson. Minnesota 4-H Youth Development, University of Minnesota Extension Service.

    __________

    Coping in Changing Times

    July 30, 2020

     How can someone like me cope with something so unexpected? As I searched for this answer, I read recommendations for different groups of people: individuals living alone, families, children with special needs, empty nesters, and seniors. I found suggestions that can help all of us cope.

     Create a Routine
    Consistency and structure may be calming during times of stress. This is true whether we are creating a work and learning schedule for the whole family, or creating routines for ourselves when we are home alone. Use routine to create reasonable expectations for yourself and others.

          • Build off familiar routines from school or work. Create cues for the start and end of each day. For example, take a quick walk around the block or in the backyard before starting work.
          • Healthy routines include adequate sleep, healthy meals, exercise, and time for social interactions.
          • Plan to work or learn in bursts. Children need learning bursts of 15 to 45 minutes. Adults can focus longer, but still need regular breaks. Stretch for 5 minutes every 20 minutes if sitting or get up and walk around for 10 minutes.

     Check-In with Yourself and Others
    It is important to take time to check in with yourself and with friends and family. When connecting with others follow these tips.

          • Acknowledge feelings. For young children use a feeling chart to help them express themselves. Also, remember to acknowledge your own feelings. Avoid passing judgment on yourself and others. There is no right or wrong way to feel.
          • Treat yourself with as much gentleness as you treat others.
          • Resist the need to solve other’s problems. Ask, “How can we work together to make this experience more bearable?” Then be quiet and listen.
          • Encourage yourself and others to be mindful of the present. Avoid worrying about “what ifs.”

     Try Something New
    With so many events we can't control, it is important to focus on what we can control. Trying new activities can give a sense of accomplishment. You may discover new coping strategies that you can use for the rest of your life.

          • Don't try to do everything but do try new things. For example, start a new arts or crafts project, make a new recipe, or read a book for enjoyment.
          • Try yoga or a new exercise video with a spirit of adventure and fun.
          • Try new ways to connect with friends and family like connecting through video calls, virtual play dates, or writing letters.

     Use Your Network

          • Remember to use your social network. Friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers can help you cope. Make plans to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other special events in new ways.
          • Use your network to find opportunities for learning, traveling, or playing online.
          • Use your network for support. Would your child be more motivated to do his homework on a video chat with a friend? Would a virtual story time with grandparents at 5:00 help you get supper ready?

    During this time of unexpected and unprecedented events, remember it is okay not to be the perfect parent or family member, employee, or person. Simply, don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Healthy coping skills will help you and your family navigate this experience. More information and resources about youth social-emotional development in difficult times can be found at https://disaster.unl.edu/families or by contacting your local county Nebraska Extension office.

     Resources to Support Coping in Changing Times

     Child Mind Institute provides daily tips and a collection of resources for parents on coping during COVID-19, including resources for supporting children with special needs.

    https://childmind.org/coping-during-covid-19-resources-for-parents/

     The Center for Disease Control has resources for Daily Live and Coping in response to COVID-19 that cover both physical and mental health concerns.

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/index.html

     Child Trends has brought together a great set of resources on promoting resiliency in response to the COVID19 pandemic. 

    https://www.childtrends.org/publications/ways-to-promote-childrens-resilience-to-the-covid-19-pandemic

     Source: Saundra Frerichs. Science Education Specialist, Extension Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 4-H and Youth Development

    ____________

    Creating a Routine in Changing Times

    By Dr. Jill Lingard, Nebraska 4-H Youth Development

    June 25, 2020 

    With virtual-learning, social distancing, and a long list of cancelled beloved pastimes, life can feel pretty far from what we once knew. Change is hard. Yet, amidst a time of uncertainty and change we are searching to find a new normal. A sense of stability, routine, and familiarity are important for youth. Parents, care-providers, and youth development professionals can help youth plan their day to reestablish routine. Having a daily routine enables youth to have some control and choice in their life which is important for their well-being. 

    Consider the following as you develop daily or weekly plans:

          • Engage youth in planning a routine together. Adults and youth may have differing ideas about ways to spend time, start by having a conversation about what expectations you have. In the beginning of your planning determine what activities that are non-negotiable. Be clear about the expectations that need to be met. If possible, offer some choice for when these “must happen” activities can occur.
          • Find a healthy balance between flexibility and consistency when establishing routine.   Creating plans that are too ambitious or rigid will be difficult for youth and for caring adults in their lives to monitor.
          • Maintain self-care routines. Regularity with hygiene practices, diet, sleep, and exercise will set adults and youth up for success.
          • Stay focused on what youth value. During times of change, it might be tempting for youth to abandon goals that were important to them. Take this opportunity to talk about why persistence toward goals is important.
          • Create a balanced routine that includes time for unstructured activity and FUN! We all need a healthy amount of free time, so don’t overschedule the day.  Be aware of the amount of screen time a plan includes. For free time, consider non-screen activities like playing outside, reading a book for enjoyment, drawing, family game night, cooking, or other hands-on activities.
          • Focus on what youth can control. During periods of change there so many things that can’t be controlled. Help youth focus on what they CAN do as opposed to what they can’t. This can be an opportunity for youth to explore an interest they haven’t had time for in the past and invest in learning something new.
          • Stay connected. Successful routines should include intentional ways to keep young people connected to the important people in their lives. Staying connected to those we care about helps manage anxiety and challenges that times of change can create.
          • Practice gratitude. Change can present feelings of loss and it is important to acknowledge and address those feelings. At the same time, change can be an opportunity to talk about gratitude. Challenge youth to explore what they are thankful for and look for ways to express that gratitude. 

    Experiencing change and finding a new normal can be hard. While creating new plans won’t solve all of the challenges associated with change, planning can be a positive way to help young people respond to the uncertainty of the situation by establishing a flexible routine. 

    More information and resources about youth social-emotional development in difficult times can be found at https://disaster.unl.edu/families or by contacting your local county Nebraska Extension office.

    _________________

    Contributing in a Changing World

    By Dr. Dawn Lindsley, Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development
    May 28, 2020 

    Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” We are all a part of something larger than ourselves. We live in a global society that is interconnected, and in times of uncertainty, we can feel it everywhere. Life is challenging right now and although it may be hard to focus on others’ needs, doing so can strengthen our own well-being as well as connect with others and the world around us. 

    When faced with adversity and unexpected challenges, we, as adults, can help prepare young people to become caring, connected, and contributing citizens.  Adults can teach youth their role and ways they can contribute to the greater good.  It is important for adults to establish expectations of how youth can make valuable contributions.  When establishing expectations include youth.  Simply, youth need ownership in the process. Individuals are more likely to support what they help to create. Giving youth autonomy allows them freedom to do things their own way and teaches valuable life skills along the way.  

    Youth may wonder, “But how can I to give back when I can’t really go anywhere or do anything right now?” As adults, we can help them change their perspective. If plan “A” doesn’t work, there are still 25 other letters in the alphabet. Right now, youth and adults may not be able to contribute to others, their communities, and the greater world as we did in the past, but that gives us an opportunity to be creative and think outside the box when serving others. 

    As caring adults, we can continue to cultivate positive qualities such as empathy, compassion, and generosity in young people. Remind youth that contribution is not defined by size or greatness. Remember, big changes start with small actions. Here are a few ideas you along with a young person can do to make a positive contribution in your community, country, and world: 

          • Encourage youth to call or write someone and share appreciation for what they are doing. Jump on a video call with a friend or family member to cheer them up. Write notes of appreciation on the sidewalk. Post positive quotes or videos on social media.
          • Help youth brainstorm potential ways to speak up and take action. Support them in utilizing their networks and connecting with others to start a campaign to bring awareness to an issue or raise funds to support a cause.
          • Think of new ways youth can volunteer. Use supplies accessible at home to make something to help those in need; then take it to a drop off location or send it through the mail. Build or grow something to give away to an individual or group of people. Help someone by doing a task they may be unable to do themselves. 

    According to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, helping others has shown to have a variety of benefits. Those who volunteer their time and talents often discover they get more out of the experience than the people they are serving. Being kind and helpful can make youth feel happier, enhance their relationships with others, and gives them a sense of purpose and satisfaction. It can help relieve stress, help them relax, build confidence, and promote constructive behaviors in teens. By positively impacting the people around them, we can help youth build a better society for our communities and our world. 

    More information and resources about youth social-emotional development in difficult times can be found at http://disaster.unl.edu/families or by contacting your local county Nebraska Extension office.

    _________________

    Connecting in Changing Times

    By Jill A. Goedeken, Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development

    April 30, 2020 

    While connecting in person may not be possible right now, maintaining positive social connections for youth is important for supporting their social and emotional well-being.  These connections are critically important for all youth; those who appear to be doing okay with these uncertain times and for those who may be struggling. Certainly, everyone is experiencing the sudden disruptions in routines and being with friends. 

    During stressful times, the role of a caring adult is certainly important. Examples of caring adults include parents, extended family members, teachers, coaches, neighbors, and other mentors youth regularly interact with such as youth group leaders, 4-H club leaders, etc. 

    As caring adults, we can do the following to help young people through challenging times.

    •             Encourage socializing from a distance. During these difficult and uncertain times, social supports are important in helping minimize feelings of isolation or loneliness. Use safe methods of maintaining social interactions, such as spending time virtually talking to friends and family using video conferencing, playing games, or writing letters to each other. Finding ways to hang out virtually and connect can be very helpful in reducing stress because it allows young people to realize and knowing that they are not alone in feeling sad, disappointed, or lonely.  Technology is an excellent resource, but youth should be encouraged to think outside the box while connecting with others.

    •             Acknowledge it is common for youth to want to stay connected with their peers, both physically and socially. During this pandemic, it can be really difficult to maintain physical distance practices. Commiserate and say, “I hear you, this really can be difficult.”

    •             Support youth in maintaining a routine. Following a routine provides some predictability and control. It can also be helpful to include intentional times to connect with friends, families, and mentors. It gives something for youth to look forward to as well. Ask youth if they would like some help setting up a time to talk with their teacher, caregiver, friend, extended family member, etc. via telephone, email, text, or letter.

    •             When appropriate, encourage youth to seek inner connection. The practice of reflection is one example of how to connect to inner thoughts and feelings.  Examples of practicing reflection is keeping a journal, reading a book, learning a new hobby or skill or engaging in art. 

    •             Brainstorm with youth ways to practice acts of kindness and share their gratitude. These practices can help maintain and build a sense of a community. Examples include writing letters to others, baking or cooking food for someone, or offering to help someone in a safe way. 

    When faced with difficult and uncertain events, we can stretch ourselves to do things in creative and helpful ways. Help youth identify creative and safe ways to not get consumed with worry but instead to stay socially connected.  More information and resources about youth social emotional development in difficult times can be found at https://disaster.unl.edu/families or by contacting your local county Nebraska Extension office.

    __________

    Opportunities offered for all youth through Nebraska 4-H

    March 26, 2020

    Nebraska 4-H takes the health and safety of our community very seriously and we are monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. The office is open, but our office door is locked. Please call the office before you come in (402)375-3310. Based on the CDC and recommendations from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln the decision was made to cancel all events scheduled for March 16-29. This includes 4-H Club meetings. From March 30 - May 9, Nebraska 4-H programming will resume in a virtual format. This includes all scheduled educational programs, competitive events, and meetings hosted by Nebraska 4-H. A face-to-face club meeting will not be allowed to happen until after May 9th. We will be hosting our first virtual 4-H Public Speaking Contest on Monday, April 6th

    We thank you all for your continued patience and support as we learn more from our public health officials and educational partners, and determine the best way to continue serving young people during this time. For updates on Nebraska 4-H and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s evolving position on COVID-19, please visit covid19.unl.edu. We also encourage you to refer to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website https://www.cdc.gov and our local Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department https://nnphd.org for the most current recommendations pertaining to health and personal risk factors.

    Please also check wayne.unl.edu and our Facebook page (facebook.com/UNLExtWayneCounty) for up to date information on our local programs.

    Updates on virtual programming for Nebraska 4-H will be shared on Facebook. Be sure to check out https://4h.unl.edu and scroll to the bottom of the page to News and Events, this is where learning opportunities will be shared. 

    Here are some specific examples of virtual and at-home educational resources.  A collection of some of our favorite activity guides that are perfect for hands-on learning at home. 

          • Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon at 2:00 PM CT/1:00 PM MT, tune in for Nebraska 4-H's Living Room Learning! Suggested grades are 3rd-5th grades. Youth will participate in a hands-on virtually guided activity where they will learn about healthy living, science, technology, and more! Each session will focus on a new activity that can be done with materials found at home.
          • An opportunity for 6th-9th grade learners is on Monday and Wednesday afternoon at 2:00 PM CT/1:00 PM MT for the Boredom Buster Challenge! Each week, youth will be given a problem to solve using materials found in their home. Through these hands-on virtually guided challenges youth will learn about entrepreneurship, healthy living, science, technology, and more! Each session will be recorded and made available for on-demand viewing. Youth do not need to be 4-H members to participate.
          • There is also the Equine Webinar series that has been going for several years, this happens on the second Monday of each month and is available on-demand viewing or you can also view recordings.  The Equine Webinar Series is an opportunity for all youth, parents, and volunteers to gain knowledge of a variety of equine topics.

    These opportunities are open to all youth, you do not need to be a current 4-H member to participate. 

    __________

    2019 Statewide Impacts, 4-H Grows Here

    February 27, 2020 

    The Nebraska Extension 4-H and Youth Development program has shared their 2019 Statewide Impacts, 4-H Grows Here. 

    Empowering Youth with the Skills to Lead for a Lifetime-In Nebraska, 4-H reaches 1 in 2 age-eligible youth in 77% of counties with the support of over 12,000 volunteers. Nebraska 4-H strives to enable all youth to develop strong personal mindsets and the social skills necessary for successful futures. Nebraska 4-H reaches youth through clubs, afterschool programming, school enrichment programming, special interest programs, and camps. 

    Growing True Leaders-In 2019, Nebraska participated in the first National Call for Data. The purpose was to assess outcomes experienced by a nationwide sample of youth ages 5-19. Seven hundred youth from Nebraska contributed to the following findings that showcase a strong personal mindset and strong social skills of youth engaged in 4-H. •95% are willing to work hard on something difficult. •86% stop to think about their choices before making a decision. •87% think about how their choices affect others. •92% look for ways to involve all group members. •91% get along with others who are different from themselves. •82% are comfortable being a leader. 

    Reaching New and Underserved Youth-Nebraska 4-H works to ensure that 4-H is accessible to all Nebraska youth. Teens as Teachers is a program that employs teens to deliver programming to new and underserved youth in their communities. In 2019, 17 teen teachers in 17 counties reached more than 1,600 youth. After programming, 91% of youth and teens reported they will keep trying until they reach their goal and 88% of teen teachers felt confident in their leadership ability. 

    Preparing Youth to Make Decisions Today and for their Future-4-H prepares youth to make well-informed decisions through Career Development and Healthy Living programming. 4-H and Food, Nutrition, and Health Extension professionals served 9,300 youth in 41 counties with healthy living programs. Respondents showed significant, positive intentions, knowledge, and behavior changes in the following areas: •More aware of daily fruit, vegetable, and water consumption, daily activity, and screen time. •Eating less fast food and giving their family ideas for healthy meals and snacks more often. •Follow and make changes to a recipe, use knives safely, and keep cooking areas clean for food safety.

    Connecting the Dots, an interactive career exploration simulation program, engaged over 3,500-9thand 10thgrade students in learning about careers of interest as well as how to “connect the dots” from 9th grade, through post-secondary, to the workplace. As a result of the Connecting the Dots program: •90% say this program has helped them explore future career options. •88% of participants have a better idea of what they might do after high school.

    Next Chapter, a college readiness program and a University of Nebraska–Lincoln pre-admittance program, is offered to 8th grade students enrolled in 4-H. Throughout high school, pre-admitted students engage in events, activities, and curriculum during which they will learn how to successfully transition from high school to college. In two years, Next Chapter at Nebraska has served over 2,000 youth statewide. If you know of a youth age 5-18 by December 31, 2019, be sure to check out 4-H opportunities for them at 4h.unl.edu or contact your local Nebraska Extension Office.  

    Source:  https://4h.unl.edu/documents/NE4H-Impact-2019.pdf_

    ___________

    February is Nebraska 4-H Month

    January 30, 2020 

    February is Nebraska 4-H Month and in Wayne County, February 1, 2020 is the initial sign-up for 4-H Club members (8-18) years of age as of December 31, 2019 and 4-H Clover Kid members (5-7) years of age by December 31, 2019 A 4-H Club is an organized group of at least five youth from three different families who meet regularly with adult volunteers or 4-H staff for a long-term, progressive series of educational experiences. The purpose of a 4-H club is to provide positive youth development and foster educational opportunities to meet the needs of young people.  In Wayne County we have ten traditional clubs.  These clubs are encouraged to recite the 4-H Pledge at meetings, meet at least six times per year, and choose/elect youth officers, and have youth serve in leadership roles.

    Other things that are encouraged of the 4-H club is to have one club project that is related to 4-H curriculum in which they do together. 4-H clubs have an adult role model involvement, and are facilitated by organizational and project leaders who have successfully completed the volunteer screening. 

    4-H clubs are also encouraged to have members who perform a presentation or public speaking opportunity at the club level or above. The also complete one community service project and have members who participate in county, district or state events.  It is also important for clubs to celebrate member and club achievements.

    Some 4-Hers are designated as independent members. This is designed for planned learning that occurs independently of a formal group setting. This may be an individual, paired, or family learning effort. For many youths, their exposure to 4-H experiences and learning materials comes through activities conducted either within their family or an independent membership. Independent membership is for youth ages (8-18) as of December 31, 2019.

    The 4-H Clover Kid program is designed specifically for youth ages (4-7). The program offers a variety of educational and recreational experiences in non-competitive environments. These opportunities are ideal for developing confidence, creativity, and competence during this stage of youth development.  The 4-H Clover Kid program in Wayne County begins meeting on the first Saturday of the month, beginning in November and December and continuing February through May.  They meet at the courthouse and registration is required so that appropriate supplies are on hand. They then have a day camp in June at the park. The focus of each of their Clover Kid meetings is to learn about a specific project or theme and then participate in a variety of activities relating to the topic/project. They are encouraged to explore project areas and can compete in some county 4-H events as they become familiar with the program. An example of an event  that they could  participate in, is the 4-H Public Speaking Contest.  The Wayne County Teen Supremes serve as the facilitators of the 4-H Clover Kids, this also allows the teens to strengthen their own leadership skills and explore potential career options. 

    If you know of someone who is interested in joining 4-H, please contact your local Extension Office, in Wayne County call 402-375-3310 or email http://wayne.unl.edu.

    __________

    Strong Family Relationships

    December 26, 2019

    Strong families know their family strengths and those areas where they could improve. They have healthy relationships and practice positive parenting skills.

    Research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has focused on families who believe they are doing well. Family members from all 50 states and 27 countries have been asked, "What makes your family strong?" Read what these families have shared about 6 strengths that are similar from culture to culture.

    Families are the basic, foundational social units in all human communities around the world. It's in everyone's best interest to help create a positive environment for all families.

    6 strengths families use to create positive environments:

    1. Appreciation and affection- Appreciation and affection are about caring for each other as family members. Sharing positive emotional feelings with each other and being nice to each other are just a couple of ways families show appreciation and affection.

    2. Commitment- Members of strong families show a strong commitment to one another, investing time and energy in family activities and not letting their work or other priorities take too much time away from family interaction. Commitment is trusting, respecting, accepting - putting your family first.

    3. Positive communication- Communication is a key to a strong family. It should be open, honest and straightforward. Positive communication is about telling others how you feel, compromising or at least agreeing to disagree, as well as verbal praise and giving compliments.

    4. Enjoyable time together- Family time should be fun time. When adults think back on their childhood, it is the happy memories they cherish. Families should work to create customs and rituals that provide them with many enjoyable memories. These do not have to involve lots of money or supplies. Family activities and fun are just finding time to be together. Sharing family mealtimes is one way to spend enjoyable time together.

    5. Spiritual well-being- Spiritual well-being is the hope, faith and optimism a family shares. It is the sacred connections they have or the religion or spirituality they possess. Spiritual well-being is also the caring, support and compassion that families feel.

    6. Successful management of stress and crisis - Strong families have the ability to manage stress and crisis in their lives in positive, creative ways. They work together rather than pulling apart. Crisis and stress are opportunities to help other family members; and helping others can in turn help themselves.

    This article has been written and reviewed by UNL Extension Educators and Specialists and obtained from https://child.unl.edu/family-relationships

    __________

    Children & Parenting: Communication

    November 28, 2019

    Effective communication is critical in every aspect of a person's life. Communication skills influence relationships in families, children, friends, and at work. Good communication helps build relationships in good times, and mend relationships in difficult times. These skills include speaking as well as listening and nonverbal communication.

          • Nonverbal body language can make up as much as 55% of what we communicate, our voice and tone 38%, and the words we say merely 7% of the meaning that gets across.

    Family communication - Family members need to practice positive communications. Positive communication smooths out the bumps in the road and is

          •   respectful,
          •   open,
          •   honest,
          •   straight-forward and
          •   kind

    Handling conflict and anger - Wherever human interactions exist, there is a potential for conflict and anger to arise. Conflict can lead to either breakdown in the relationship, the family, friendship, or work environment, or it can lead to creative solutions and improved relationships.Anger is a normal, human emotion that can be intense. Everyone gets angry on occasion. The trick is to manage emotions in such a way that positive actions are mobilized and not negative ones. Typically anger is a response to one of many specific things.Source: This article has been written and reviewed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Educators and Specialists.

    https://child.unl.edu/family-communication

    __________

    Be Active this Fall: 5 Family-Friendly Ways

    October 31, 2019 

    1.Make a Maze in the Leaves. Buy a child size plastic rake so your children can help you create a maze. Then when they are done playing in the maze they can help rake the leaves into piles. Let your children enjoy jumping in the piles of leaves. Surprise them and jump in with them. Children of all ages enjoy when their parents join in the fun, even if it’s met with groaning or eye rolling. Show your children that it’s okay to be playful at any age. 

    2. Go for a Family Bike Riding Adventure. This may be on a community trail or if your community doesn’t have bike trails search for safe biking routes in your neighborhood r surrounding neighborhoods. While on your bike ride be sure to take time for rest breaks and enjoy the changes of fall going on around you. 3. Ready, Set, Go Scavenger Hunt. A scavenger hunt could be done in your yard, neighborhood or park. Create a list or look for one on-line. Here are some items that could be included on your fall scavenger hunt:

          • Spider Web
          • Dandelion
          • Red Leaf
          • Twig
          • Rock
          • Flower
          • Something Rough
          • Something Round
          • Something Smooth
          • Acorn

    A scavenger hunt that is ready to be printed off: http://bit.ly/youthscavhunt 4. Pumpkin Patch or Orchard Outing. Picking a pumpkin patch or orchard near you can be a fun place to visit in the fall. You may be surprised how many different places you will find near and far to visit. 5. Great Recipes for Fall. It may not technically be a physical activity but food preparation together with family requires a certain amount of energy. Children of all ages can play a role in preparing a recipe. Check out some nutritious fall recipes and bake together as a family.

    For more information, contact the author–Carrie Schneider-Miller (cschneidermiller2@unl.edu), MS, RD.
    This publication has been peer-reviewed.

    __________

    The Experiential Learning Model

    September 26, 2019 

    Nebraska 4-H utilizes experiential learning when a youth is involved in an activity and they look back at it to determine what was useful or important. The five-step Experiential Learning Model guides the process turning activities into fun learning experiences. 4-H uses this hands-on learning approach to teach new topics and life skills. It is important that youth are aware of the learning that takes place as they are involved in learning experiences. As they reflect on these experiences, they can identify what was most important and how that knowledge can be applied to other life situations. Through 4-H youth programs, adult volunteers can help youth develop these reflective skills. The Experiential Learning Model provides five steps to assist with this process.

    Adult volunteers can begin by:

    •Setting aside enough time for reflecting on the experience.

    •Planning developmentally appropriate experiences that lead to reflection.

    •Listening carefully.

    •Supporting each youth’s unique learning. Step 1: Experience: The hands-on action step where youth do their project.

    •Youth experiment with new ideas, interests, and projects. Step 2: Share: Describe what was done.

    •What kinds of hopes and dreams did you have for your 4-H experience this year?

    •What was your goal for this project when you began?

    •Tell me about your most favorite things about working on your project.

    •Tell about your least favorite things about working on your project.

    •What did you learn while doing this project? Step 3: Process: Identify common themes and discover, what was most important, (the life skill), about project work.

    •What did you learn about yourself by doing this project?

    •How did you make your decision? What steps did you take?

    •What was the most challenging part of your project? Why? How did you solve it?

    •What did you learn from this project that you didn’t know before?

    •Why was this an important/useful thing to do? Step 4: Generalize: So what?

    Identify how to use what’s been learned in real life. These questions transition the experience or “product” itself to the skill being practiced in “real” life. Youth are able to explore the nature of the life skill, reflect on how the life skill has been developed through their work and set the stage for application of the life skill in new situations.

    •What key points have you learned?

    •What similar experience have you had throughout this project/activity?

    •Where have you faced similar challenges in your life?

    •What did you learn about your decision-making skills? Step 5:

    Apply: What’s next?

    Adults can help youth show that they have gained new knowledge and practiced the life skills learned rather than solely focusing on the subject matter or product development skills.

    •What did the project mean to your everyday life?

    •What have you learned about yourself and others?

    •What principles or guidelines can you use in real-life situations?

    •In what ways do people help each other learn new things?

    •How will you act differently in the future as a result of this experience? 

    Adapted from: Questions for Guiding Experiential Learning. Deidrick, Doering, Geiser, Kanengieter, Piehl, Stevenson. Minnesota 4-H Youth Development, University of Minnesota Extension Service.4-H National Headquarters Fact Sheet Experiential Learning, April 2011.

    ________

    Nebraska State Fair

    August 29, 2019 

    The 150th Nebraska State Fair began August 23 and will run through September 2, 2019. The Nebraska State Fair is held in Grand Island at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds. The Nebraska State Fair is the premier opportunity for 4-H members to showcase what they have learned and worked on throughout the year. This year there are 2,500 exhibitors and 10,000 exhibits representing all 93 Nebraska counties.  

    4-H refers to a static exhibit as an exhibit that does not need to have the 4-H member present to exhibit. These exhibits were entered and judged on Wednesday, August 21.  This includes project areas such as Food and Nutrition, Human Development, Veterinary Science, Clothing, Science Engineering and Technology as well as many other project areas.  Static exhibits were selected during county fair season.  An exhibit must have received a purple ribbon at the county fair to even be considered for state fair. In many of project areas, there are quotas based on classes in the project, or enrollment in each county program.  Some areas do not have a quota. 

    Throughout the state fair, 4-Hers will also be present for events.  These events include the Insect and Tree ID Contests, the Presentation Contest, Dairy Judging, Horticulture and Weed/Crops/Forbs ID Contest. These events require pre-registration by the 4-H member.  There is also a 4-H Fashion Show, Culinary Challenge and various Livestock shows throughout the fair.  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is celebrating its 150th year.  There will be a N150 celebration as part of this milestone. 4-H members will showcase their creativity and University pride at a stepping-stone exhibit. Stepping stones were exhibited at county fairs this summer, and one stone from each county will be displayed in the landscape of Raising Nebraska. Raising Nebraska will also host the N150 traveling exhibit. The exhibit features key moments in the university’s history and a computer kiosk that allows viewers to read pages from the commemorative book “Dear Old Nebraska U.” An N150 pep rally at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 1 will feature the Cornhusker Marching Band, Spirit Squad and mascots, the rally will also celebrate the university’s longstanding connection to the people of Nebraska by honoring those who live on the land originally granted to help establish the institution. 

    Information about the Nebraska State Fair can also be found at 4h.unl.edu as well as statefair.org.

    __________

    THE IMPORTANT THINGS…

    July 25, 2019 

    If you know a 4-H family, then you are probably aware of the fact that they are involved in the events associated with the Wayne County Fair or another area fair.  If you visit with them about a project that they currently have at the fair, you may hear a little about what things went well or what things they would like to change.  They may have been worried about how the weather is affecting their wood-working project or their food projects.  They may have an animal that stayed home, as they just were not cooperating as they would like.  There may be a project that sits at home on the dining room table, as they just ran out of time to get it completed.  The fair is portrayed as the “main event” when actually there are numerous educational events and accomplishments that happen throughout the year. 

    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Nebraska 4-H works hand and hand with hundreds of volunteers to make this happen.  4-Hers may participate in a local workshop learning a new skill or take part in a 4-H day camp by being a camper or teen counselor.  They may practice their communication skills by giving a 4-H speech on something that they have learned in 4-H, or giving a club presentation sharing a skill that they have acquired by working with a 4-H leader, parent, or adult volunteer.  Some 4-Hers may focus on events other than the fair.  It could be completing record books that will help them apply for college scholarships or give them various opportunities to participate in leadership opportunities. They may also use what they have learned to advance beyond the county level.  They may have already participated in a State or National event this summer in which they represented themselves, Wayne County, or even their entire state.  These are opportunities that youth can be involved in when participating in 4-H.  

    I am proud of each 4-H member who participates in the program, whether it be at the county fair or another educational event. I realize there may be disappointments along the way, things do not go as planned, but it is that process that allows youth to learn and grow into young people who care and contribute to their communities. We have talented youth in our community who are investing in themselves and others by learning by doing.  We also have caring adults who assist in this educational process, and it is because of that combination in an involved community that we can display our learnings at the county fair.  It is a combination of support by volunteers, businesses, the county, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  I am thankful to everyone who contributes in any positive way to the 4-H and Youth Development program, thank you for your support. 

    See you all at the fair! 

     __________ 

    The Experiential Learning Process

    June 27, 2019 It is important that youth are aware of the learning that takes place as they are involved in experiences. As they reflect on these experiences, they can identify what was most important and how that knowledge can be applied to other life situations. Through 4-H youth programs, adult volunteers can help youth develop these reflective skills. The Experiential Learning Model provides five steps to assist with this process. The adult volunteer can begin by:

    •             Setting aside enough time for reflecting on the experience.

    •             Asking the right questions.

    •             Planning developmentally appropriate experiences that lead to reflection.

    •             Listening carefully.

    •             Supporting each youth’s unique learning. Step 1: Experience: The hands-on action step.

    •             Youth do their project before they are shown or told how to do it.

    •             As leaders, “do you sit on your hands enough?” Do not rob youth of their discoveries.

    •             Youth experiment with new ideas, interests, projects, etc. Step 2: Share: Describe what was done.

    Questions to ask youth:

    •             What kinds of hopes and dreams did you have for your 4-H experience this year?

    •             What did you do?

    •             Where did you go?

    •             What was your goal for this project when you began?

    •             Tell me about your most favorite things about working on your project.

    •             Tell about your least favorite things about working on your project.

    •             What did you learn while doing this project?

    •             What did you learn about yourself?

    •             How did you share your project with others? Step 3:   Process: Identify common themes and discover, what was most important, (the life skill), about project work.

    Questions to ask youth:

    •             What did you learn about yourself by doing this project?

    •             How did you make your decision? What steps did you take?

    •             What did you learn about making decisions?

    •             What were some of the common themes or thoughts you had?

    •             What problems came up over and over? How did you handle them?

    •             Why was this an important/useful thing to do?

    •             What suggestions would you have for someone else who wanted to do a similar project?

    •             What made this a good project?

    •             What life skill(s) were you developing through your project?

    •             Why is the life skill you practiced important?

    •             What did you learn through sharing with others? Step 4:      Generalize: So what?

    Identify how to use what’s been learned in real life.

    These questions transition the experience or “product” itself to the skill being practiced in “real” life. They explore the nature of the life skill, reflect on how the life skill has been developed through their work and set the stage for application of the life skill in new situations.

    Questions to ask youth:

    •             What key points have you learned?

    •             What similar experience have you had throughout this project/activity?

    •             Where have you faced similar challenges in your life?

    •             How is this life skill important to you?

    •             Where might this situation occur in the future?

    •             What did you learn about your decision-making skills?

    •             What did you learn about your own skill in communicating with others?

    •             What are some ways you like to learn?

    •             What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn about this life skill? Step 5:   Apply: What’s next?

    These are the questions we’ve been building towards: You can help youth show that they have gained new knowledge and practiced the life skills learned rather than solely focusing on the subject matter or product development skills.

    Questions to ask youth:

    •             What did the project mean to your everyday life?

    •             What have you learned about yourself? Others?

    •             What principles or guidelines can you use in real-life situations?

    •             What other situations like this have you experienced before?

    •             How can you use these skills in different situations?

    •             In what ways do people help each other learn new things?

    •             What are some ways you can learn new things?

    •             Why was this project important to your life?

    •             What are qualities that you think are important in a leader?

    •             If someone helped or mentored you in this project, what would you tell them you learned and the difference it has made in your life? 

    Adapted from: Questions for Guiding Experiential Learning.Deidrick, Doering, Geiser, Kanengieter, Piehl, Stevenson. Minnesota 4-H Youth Development, University of Minnesota Extension Service.

    __________

    Work and Family:  Today’s Juggling Act

    May 30, 2019 Working families are under stress as they try to balance demands of job, children and spouse.  Strategies are needed to prevent stress overload and burnout. As individuals attempt to juggle two jobs and a family, they often try to become “superpersons,” wanting it all, having it all, and doing it all.  Balancing work and family is both a female and male issue.  Families need to adopt some strategies to help them manage their juggling act so they don’t “drop too many balls.” Strategy 1. Adapt to change.  Adaption to any demand for change is a necessary task, whether it be new employment or a new family member. Responsibilities of household chores need to be shared by everyone.Strategy 2. Adjust your expectations.  Adjusting expectations about your family life and household tasks is a must.  Determine the things that are really necessary, and those that are optional in work and family life. Strategy 3.  Be a good employee.  Job demands for time and energy are great.  For most individuals, job fulfillment and satisfaction are important in managing stress. Strategy 4.  Get your family’s support. Women are more likely to be satisfied if their spouses are supportive of their work outside the home.  Extended family support is also helpful. Strategy 5. Take time for yourself.  Taking time for ourselves can be a critical source of renewal.  Me time is very necessary and legitimate and can provide bottom-line benefits for everyone. Strategy 6.  Take time for your spouse.  Studies show the demands of work can seriously undermine the marital bond.  People are too tired and worn out to be good partners.  Take time for your partner. Strategy 7. Take time for your children.  Children need guidance, love, nurturing and discipline.  It is important for parents to attend school and other activities, listen to and talk with their children, work together and play together and  teach the values and ideals they deem important, because if they don’t children will adopt someone else’s.Strategy 8.  Use high quality child care.  Researchers have found that the parents experience less guilt and stress at work if high quality child care is used. Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, NebGuide, Work and Family: Today’s Juggling ActWritten by Nancy Frecks, Extension Educator, and Reviewed by UNL Extension Educators and Specialists. __________

    Helping Young Children Recover After a Natural Disaster

    April 25, 2019 Adapted from with Permission from Dr. Kristie Brandt and Dr. Bruce Perry, Helping Young Children Recover after the Northern California Wild Fires published October 17, 2017 After the flood disasters that recently happened in Nebraska many children and their parents may be experiencing varying levels of distress related to events associated with this natural disaster. The way in which this time of acute stress is handled can be very predictive of the long-term impact of the natural disasters on each of us, especially children. The most important thing you can do right now is to help your child feel safe and protected. This is the first step in the mental health or emotional recovery process.Many people may tell you that your child has been traumatized or that s/he have experienced a traumatic event. “Trauma” is what the person experiences inside and is not the event itself, so one child may be experiencing traumatic stress while another child may not. Because the experience is within each person, adults should carefully watch for behavioral changes that can provide clues into what the child is experiencing.In this acute or early phase after an event like the floods, children may display a wide range of symptoms, from showing no behavioral changes at all to behavior changes such as becoming tearful, aggressive, or not wanting their parent (teacher or other caregiver) out of their sight. Care should be taken not to assume that the child showing almost no behavioral change is not experiencing any distress from this natural disaster. Many children will internalize their distress, showing few outward signs, while other children will externalize and their distress becomes easier to see. Watch for the following signs of post-flood distress in children that represent distinct changes from their usual way of behaving:

    Sleeping too much or too little (including difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking up)

          • Eating too much or too little

          • Physically more active or less active

          • Being more talkative or less talkative, or being unusually quiet or remote

          • Being afraid to go to sleep or afraid of the dark (again, a distinct change from usual)

          • Becoming more angry, tearful, or aggressive than usual

          • Changes in elimination (bowel or bladder) including bedwetting or diarrhea

          • Somatic complaints like a stomach ache, headache, nausea, body aches, etc.

          • Fear or big responses to loud or sudden noises, sirens, household sounds, etc.

          • Difficulty separating from parents or other important people in the child’s life

          • Rituals of patterned behavior like rocking, thumb sucking, or humming, that is new

          • Other sudden, new changes in a child’s baseline behavior

    Such signs and symptoms are often indications of: 1) the distress children and adults may feel about the unpredictable nature of an event like this; 2) recovering from the enormity of the event itself; or, 3) the fear of recurrence. Check with your child’s health care provider if anything presents that is extreme or worries you.Watch for what your child is telling you they need. Your nearby presence or the nearby presence of another trusted caregiver or teacher is probably the single most important factor in helping a child recover in a healthy way from a disturbing event. Your child will “re-regulate” or recover best from any stressful event with the loving support and mindful efforts of those they trust and are closely connected to (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, close friends, caregivers, and educators).For more information on children and trauma in general, visit the Child Trauma Academy’s informational website at: http://childtrauma.org.

    View the entire article at flood.unl.edu, along with many other resources for the family.  __________

    Flood Response

    March 28, 2019Nebraska is a True Leader. The state has more miles of river than any other state in the nation and is home to the largest aquifer. Due to recent rain, snow, and natural snowmelt occurring on top of frozen ground, our state has recently experienced historic flooding in numerous counties. The need for assistance is growing.4-H, America's largest youth development organization, empowers young people to be true leaders who can endure through challenges, who know how to work well with others, and who will stick to a job until it gets done.Nebraska 4-H calls all True Leaders to use their confidence, independence, resilience, and compassion, to assist in the flooding recovery efforts that are currently taking place across the state.We want to share resources to help you, your family, and community members, as they recover from the flood, assist with the recovery efforts, raise funds for disaster relief, or inspire kids to do more during the time of need. Recovering from the Flood the Flood's Impact on YouFind flood recovery information from https://flood.unl.edu.  Nebraska Extension: Flood Resources. New resources will continuously be added, including the topics of

    Individual and Families

    The Flood's Impact on Young PeopleFlooding can cause stress. Keeping young people informed about situations like flooding is important to help calm emotions and to ease the transition process. Numerous resources are found at https://flood.unl.edu/famililes. Nebraska Extension: Flood Resources - Children & Family Resources. Some tips for working and communicating with youth include.

    Be a calm and reassuring presence. Remind youth that over time thing will get better. 

          • Acknowledge feelings and allow youth to talk about their feeling and concerns. Let youth know that it is okay to be sad, scared or confused.

          • Build Resiliency. Help youth think about positive coping skills. It might be going for a walk, writing in a journal, engaging in an art project, or thinking about things that they are thankful for.

          • Create an environment where youth can interact with their peers. Peer support can provide emotional support for youth.

          • Simply, listen. If ever youth need adults to listen, it is now. Remember you don’t have to have all the answers. Silence is okay. Youth just need to know you care.

    Source: https://4h.unl.edu/flood ________

    February is Nebraska 4-H Month 

    February 28, 2019In Nebraska, 4-H reaches 1 in 3 age eligible youth from 93 counties with the support of over 12000 volunteers.  Nebraska 4-H strives to enable all youth to develop strong personal mindsets and the social skills necessary for successful futures.  4-H reaches youth through club, camp, afterschool, school enrichment and special interest groups.The 4-H Pledge is:  I pledge My head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My hands to larger service, My health to better living for my club, by community, my country, and my world.The mission of Nebraska 4-H is to empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnerships with caring adults.  Nebraska 4-H works to introduce high-quality youth development experiences into the lives of Nebraska youth and families.  Engagement in 4-H results in youth who are making positive decisions related to their health and future goals.   By taking part in the Nebraska 4-H, youth are preparing for a successful future by focusing on 4-H Science, Agricultural Literacy, Career Development and College Readiness, Citizenship and Leadership, and Healthy Living.  4-Hers in Northeast Nebraska have shared their thoughts of 4-H in their 4-H Stories, here are some of their thoughts. According to the 2018 Nebraska 4-H Impact Report,  Nebraska 4-H prepares young people to make well-informed decisions through Career Development and Healthy Living programs.The 4-H Healthy Habit grant, sponsored by National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation, mobilized youth to take action around healthy choices.  Over 75 partnerships were developed across 28 counties in Nebraska.  More than 2,700 K-12th grade youth received at least six hours of healthy living education.  Extension professional mentored 54 teen volunteers who then spent over 800 hours helping plan, prepare, and deliver programs in their communities. Connecting the Dots, an interactive career exploration simulation program tripled the number of youth reached, engaging over 4,700 9th and 10th grade students in opportunities to learn about careers of interest as well as how to “connect the dots” from 9th grade through post-secondary, to the workplace.-97% think it is important that they do their job well.-84% learned how to act professionally.-80% say 4-H has helped them identify things they are good at and explore their future career options.Some 4-Hers reported the following about their involvement in 4-H:  “4-H continues to help me grow as a person every year. It may even help me decide what I should do in the future.”“4-H continues to help me become a better leader and citizen just through the different projects I have participated in as a group.”“Throughout our multiple community service projects I have learned the importance of helping others in need and being a good citizen.” “4-H has helped me to make new friends, learn more about certain aspects of the world, and has continually taught me about responsibility and respect.”Learn more about Nebraska 4-H at https://4h.unl.edu__________

    Volunteer Opportunities with Nebraska 4-H

    January 31, 2019Nebraska 4-H is one of the largest youth development organizations in the United States.  There are nearly 7 million youth between the ages of 5-18 national and in Nebraska there are 145,000 youth enrolled.  This is 1 in 3 age eligible Nebraska youth who participate in 4-H. There are more than 1,200 volunteers, working directly and indirectly with youth in Nebraska. The Nebraska 4-H Mission Statement is: 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.If you like working with youth and enjoy giving back to your community, Nebraska 4-H might be a great volunteer fit. Nebraska 4-H invites you to make the difference in the life of a young person. 4-H is known for hands-on learning experiences and helping youth build confidence and practical life skills. Nebraska 4-H offers a wide variety of involvement opportunities for adult volunteers, including helping with a one-time event or program, helping with a summer-long program, sharing a skill with a 4-H member, helping with an afterschool program, assisting with or leading a 4-H club, teaching a workshop, helping at the local county fair, coordinating a community service project, mentoring a new 4-H family, or serving on 4-H council. You can with your local Nebraska Extension office for volunteer opportunities near you.All individuals volunteering with Nebraska 4-H must complete the Youth Protection 4-H Volunteer Screening process before volunteering or working with 4-H in any capacity. 4-H volunteers are also screened on a regular basis. Any volunteer chaperoning 4-H members during a 4-H overnight event or activity must also complete the We Protect Staff, Volunteers & Youth Nebraska Chaperone Training. There are also additional training materials available to help volunteers be successful in their roles at https://4h.unl.edu.There are some volunteer roles within Nebraska 4-H that require additional screening or training, including 4-H Shooting Sports Instructors/Leaders, FIRST Robotics volunteers, and 4-H Horsemanship Advancement Level Examiners.  If you are currently or have been a 4-H volunteer, THANK YOU!  If you are interested in exploring ways to volunteer for the Nebraska 4-H program please contact your local Nebraska Extension Office. __________

    Nebraska 4-H Reaches 1 in 3 Youth

    December 27, 2018In Nebraska, 4-H reaches 1 in 3 age-eligible youth in all 93 counties with the support of over 12,000 volunteers. These youth, ages 5-18, by December 31, 2018, participate in 4-H through a variety of delivery modes, including clubs, camps, afterschool programs, school enrichment, and special interest programs. Nebraska 4-H strives to enable all youth to develop strong personal mindsets and social skills necessary for successful futures.  Youth engaged in Nebraska 4-H reported that 70% like learning new things, 65% set goals for themselves, 45% like helping others achieve their goal, and 65% are comfortable speaking in front of a group. Nebraska 4-H also prepares youth to make well-informed decisions through career development and healthy living programs.  Statewide 1,200 youth participated in the Food Smart Families program. Eighty-seven percent agreed that they learned what makes up a balanced diet and 92% reported that they learned how to make healthier food. Connecting the Dots was delivered across Nebraska. Thirty-three percent of participants reported that the program helped them learn about colleges that will be a good fit for them.  Sixty percent reported that they learned how to act professionally. 4-H youth are engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and agricultural literacy efforts that will enable them to lead these industries in the future. Youth and educators were engaged in single and multi-session programs across Nebraska which explored a wide variety of STEM content.  Following participating in a program 66% of youth participants are interested in pursuing a future career in the STEM field.Nebraska 4-H empowers youth’s unique leadership skills and entrepreneurial spirits to ensure they make a lasting and positive contribution to their communities. This includes such things as the Wayne County Teen Supremes planning and teaching at our Clover Kid events throughout the year. Check out more information about the Nebraska 4-H program at 4h.unl.edu. __________

    The 4-H Pledge

    November 29, 2018I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty , my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world. Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four H’s of the 4-H program that youth need to be engaged while in the 4-H program. Using their heads, they learn to manage many different things in their 4-H projects and life. Through their heart they learn to relate to others and be kind to those around them. With their hands, 4-Hers are able to work on various projects and assist others. By living healthy they are practicing being capable of caring for their self and others.How can being involved in 4-H foster a youth’s success? In 2002, the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development longitudinal study began and was then repeated annually for eight years. There were more than 7,000 adolescents from across 44 states in the United States that were part of the study. The Tufts Research Team examined how structured-out-of-school time learning, leadership experiences, and adult mentoring that young people receive through 4-H plays a role in helping them achieve success.4-Hers practice responsibility by being involved in a variety of different 4-H projects offered through the program. The program priority areas of Career and College Readiness, Community Development, Entrepreneurship, Food Supply Confidence, Healthy Living, Leadership Development, and STEM. If a youth chooses to participate in a healthy living projects, they may learn the skill of meal planning for themselves and their family. They may even keep a food budget for their family.4-Hers practice responsibility by caring for animals daily in various animal science projects. 4-Hers make sure their animals have a safe place to be, have appropriate food and water, and that their animals are cared for and can be handled. This responsibility takes time and dedication by the 4-Her and their family and does not just happen one week out of the year at the county fair. 4-Hers in livestock projects take Youth for the Quality Control of Animals (YQCA) to help prepare for daily care and management.The Tufts Research Longitudinal Study showed that compared to their peers, youth involved in 4-H programs excelled in several areas. 4-Hers are:

    -Nearly 4 times more likely (Grades 7-12) to make contribution to their communities.

    -About 2 times more likely (Grades 8-12) to be civically active.

    -Nearly 2 times more likely (Grades 10-12) to participate in science programs during out-of-school time

    -Nearly 2 times more likely (Grade 7) to make healthier choices. For information on how you can be involved in 4-H go to 4h.unl.edu. Source: Richard M. Lerner, Jacqueline V. Lerner, and Colleagues, The Positive Development of Youth; Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University.  _____________

    4-H Clover Kids

    October 25, 2018The Clover Kids program can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for youth. The 4-H program which is part of  Nebraska Extension is helping young people grow and develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually as they “learn by doing”. Nebraska Clover Kids are developing skills of positive youth development so they become competent, caring and contributing citizens, intent on “Making the Best Better.”Clover Kids is the portion of the Nebraska 4-H program that is for youth ages 5 to 7 years of age by December 31, 2018. Children participate in hands-on activities designed to build lots of different life skills.  The most important life skills for the 5- to 7-year-old age group are: respecting self, communicating, solving problems, thinking critically, and choosing healthy lifestyles.When do Clover Kids meet? Clover Kids in Wayne County will be having a meeting on Saturday, November 3, 2018 from 9:00 AM- 10:15 AM in the basement at the Wayne County Courthouse. To sign up for this event, contact the Nebraska Extension Office at 402-375-3310 or Wayne-county@unl.edu. In Clover Kids, youth will practice communication skills, strengthen motor skills through hands on activities, explore science, and make friends and learn to work with peers.Clover Kids often times transition into the 4-H club program when they turn 8 by December 31, 2018. These 4-H members then choose from a variety of 4-H projects that include the programming areas of; Career and College Readiness, Community Development, Entrepreneurship, Food Supply Confidence, Healthy Living,  Leadership Development and STEM. In addition to Clover Kids and clubs, youth may also participate in 4-H through Camps, Schools Enrichment, and Afterschool delivery methods.__________

    Youth can Benefit from 4-H

    September 27, 2018 What is 4-H?4-H is a community of young people, ages 5-19, across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills.  4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.  4-H is education for life that uses a learning-by-doing approach. Lifetime Benefit-Strong roots, promising futureFor over 100 years, youth and adults have been working together-learning, doing, growing, and serving.  4-H prepares young people for higher education and potential careers.  4-H does this by emphasizing life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, serving others as well as managing change.Connection with the University of Nebraska-LincolnIn Nebraska, 4-H is provided through Nebraska Extension, in cooperation with county governing boards, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), and the United States Department of Agriculture.  4-H project resources are developed by University of Nebraska staff using the latest research.Customizable Expereince-4-H offers over 150 different projectsTraditional clubs, camps, school enrichment, and programs/events are all ways youth across Nebraska can be involved with the 4-H program.  Woven throughout each 4-H project area are opportunities for 4-Hers to learn about science, agriculture literacy, career development and college readiness, citizenship and leadership, as well as healthy living.4-H is for the family4-H is more than an activity for youth; it can be a shared experience for the whole family! Parents, siblings, and relatives can have fun, discover, care, and grow along with their 4-H youth.  Adult volunteers can lead clubs, lend their expertise to particular project areas, and serve on teams with other volunteers.  By making 4-H a family affair, thousands of families enjoy quality time together.4-H gives backNebraska youth are becoming leaders who create change right in their own backyard! Nebraska 4-H encourages youth to give back to the communities that have helped them succeed and grow.  Through various community service efforts around the state, 4-H clubs have donated time and hours on community projects. ________________

    Nebraska State Fair

    August 30, 2018The county fair season is compete and the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island opened on Friday, August 24th.  The fair will run through September 3, 2018.  There are many exhibits on display in the 4-H/FFA Building which includes anything from in aerospace to woodworking. During the first weekend of the State Fair, individuals had opportunities to compete in the 4-H dog show as well as the youth dairy show, presentation contest, insect ID, tree ID, horticulture, weed crops, grass, and forbes ID contests. During the second weekend of the fair individuals will compete in the areas of swine, sheep, beef, goats, rabbits, poultry, premier exhibitor, fashion show, and film fest.  Events will wrap up on Monday, September 3rd.The Nebraska State Fair is the premier opportunity for 4-H members to showcase what they have learned and worked on throughout the year. At the State Fair, we celebrate the successes of thousands of youth who have learned and grown through 4-H. The state fair is a prime opportunity for 4-H members to cultivate skills they have learned in 4-H projects, put their life skills and good character to work, discover new areas of interest, and meet new people. The Nebraska State Fair is held each year at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds in Grand Island, Nebraska. This year's event runs from August 24 - September 3, 2018. Visit the Nebraska 4-H State Fair Fairbook at 4h.unl.edu for information about 4-H static and animal exhibits, as well as 4-H in-person contests and competitions happening at the State Fair.Experience 4-H at the Nebraska State Fair from wherever you might be by downloading the 4-H at the Nebraska State Fair App for your iPad/iPhone or Android mobile device. App users will be able to see a schedule of 4-H events, the results of all static exhibits and contests, 4-H news from the State Fair, and a fair map. If visiting the 4-H Exhibit Hall at the Nebraska State Fair, be sure to check out the 4-H Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win some new 4-H gear!Nebraska 4-H is only one part of the Nebraska State Fair. For more information about other activities, events, and contests happening, please visit the Nebraska State Fair website at state fair.org.____________

    The Experiential Learning Process 

    June 28 Experiential learning takes place when a youth is involved in an activity, and they look back at it critically, determines what was useful or important to remember, and use this information to perform another activity. The five-step experiential learning model guides the process turning activities into fun learning experiences.  4-H uses this hands-on learning approach to teach new topics and life skills. The five-step experiential learning model guides the process. It is important that youth are aware of the learning that takes place as they are involved in experiences. As they reflect on these experiences, they can identify what was most important and how that knowledge can be applied to other life situations. Through 4-H youth programs, adult volunteers can help youth develop these reflective skills. The Experiential Learning Model provides five steps to assist with this process. Adult volunteers can begin by:

    •Setting aside enough time for reflecting on the experience.

    •Asking the right questions.

    •Planning developmentally appropriate experiences that lead to reflection.

    •Listening carefully.

    •Supporting each youth’s unique learning. Step 1: Experience: The hands-on action step where youth do their project.

    •Youth experiment with new ideas, interests, and projects. Step 2: Share: Describe what was done.

    •What kinds of hopes and dreams did you have for your 4-H experience this year?

    •What did you do?

    •What was your goal for this project when you began?

    •Tell me about your most favorite things about working on your project.

    •Tell about your least favorite things about working on your project.

    •What did you learn while doing this project?

    •What did you learn about yourself?

    •How did you share your project with others? Step 3: Process: Identify common themes and discover, what was most important, (the life skill), about project work.

    •What did you learn about yourself by doing this project?

    •How did you make your decision? What steps did you take?

    •What did you learn about making decisions?

    •What were some of the common themes or thoughts you had?

    •What was the most challenging part of your project? Why? How did you solve it?

    •What did you learn from this project that you didn’t know before?

    •Why was this an important/useful thing to do?

    •What suggestions would you have for someone else who wanted to do a similar project? Step 4: Generalize: So what?

    Identify how to use what’s been learned in real life. These questions transition the experience or “product” itself to the skill being practiced in “real” life. They explore the nature of the life skill, reflect on how the life skill has been developed through their work and set the stage for application of the life skill in new situations.•What key points have you learned?

    •What similar experience have you had throughout this project/activity?

    •Where have you faced similar challenges in your life?

    •How is this life skill important to you?

    •What did you learn about your decision-making skills? Step 5: Apply: What’s next?

    These are the questions we’ve been building towards: We can help youth show that they have gained new knowledge and practiced the life skills learned rather than solely focusing on the subject matter or product development skills.•What did the project mean to your everyday life?

    •What have you learned about yourself? Others?

    •What principles or guidelines can you use in real-life situations?

    •What other situations like this have you experienced before?

    •How can you use these skills in different situations?

    •In what ways do people help each other learn new things?

    •How will you act differently in the future as a result of this experience? Adapted from: Questions for Guiding Experiential Learning. Deidrick, Doering, Geiser, Kanengieter, Piehl, Stevenson. Minnesota 4-H Youth Development, University of Minnesota Extension Service.4-H National Headquarters Fact Sheet Experiential Learning, April 2011__________

    Life on the Farm

     May 24, 2018The mission of Nebraska 4-H is to empower youth to reach their full potential by working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Nebraska 4-H strives to help Nebraska youth achieve their greatest potential by introducing them to high-quality youth development programs and experiences. By taking part in Nebraska 4-H, youth are preparing for a successful future by engaging in educational experiences offered through the following priorities: Career and College Readiness; Community Development; Entrepreneurship; Food Supply Confidence; Healthy Living; Leadership Development; and STEM.Programming done by Nebraska 4-H also relates to these priority areas. On Tuesday, May 15 156 fourth grade students participated in the “Life on the Farm” event coordinated by Nebraska Extension. There were eight different sessions that included Agriculture Technology, Beef, Dairy, Corn and Soybeans, Sheep, Swine, Poultry, and Soils. These sessions were taught by current 4-Hers, agriculture industry leaders, and Extension staff. Each of the groups had the opportunity to rotate through all eight sessions learning about the importance of agriculture and industry in our state. By participating, students could relate to the priority areas of food supply confidence, career and college readiness, and STEM.Information from the Nebraska Agriculture Fact Card released in February 2018 as a cooperative effort of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, USDA, NASS, Nebraska Field Office and Nebraska Bankers Association shared that Nebraska ranks 1st in exports of beef and veal in 2017, also in commercial red meat production, commercial cattle slaughter, and great northern bean production. Nebraska’s ten leading commodities (in order of value) for 2016 cash receipts are cattle, and calves, corn, soybeans, hogs, dairy products, wheat, hay, chicken eggs, dry edible beans, and sorghum. One in four jobs in Nebraska is related to agriculture. _______________

    4-H: Helping Nebraska Students Write their Next Chapter

    April 26, 2018Nebraska 8th grader 4-Hers recently had the opportunity to participate in Next Chapter Celebration on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.  This is an exciting program that connects students to the University of Nebraska! Those that enroll in this program as 8th graders will received a letter from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln congratulating them on their preadmission.  This means that students, who qualify academically will be admitted to the University after high school.  Next Chapter also grants students access to resources. Highlights include:

          • Insight from 4-H alumni regarding campus life

          • Discussions with UNL professors about opportunities at UNL

          • Access to admissions and financial aid personnel

          • Step-By-Step lessons to prepare students for college throughout their high school career

          • Real world connections between content and 4-H projects

     All 8th graders enrolled in 4-H can participate in the Next Chapter program. This program is also available to Freshmen and Sophomores in the 2017/2018 school year.  Students must complete each chapter as the progress through high school.  This will include five lessons per academic year.  On Thursday, May 31, 4-Hers who just completed their 8th, 9th and 10th grade are invited to participate in the Next Chapter event in Wayne. The University of Nebraska is excited to help students and their families make this exciting time of change easier by providing this unprecedented access to high school students.  If students or parents have any questions regarding this program, feel free to contact your local Nebraska Extension office or Phil Onwiler, State 4-H Office or Lindsay Kretchman, with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. ______________________________________

    4-H Summer Camps and Trips

    March 22, 2018                                                                       Have you thought about a camping experience for your child this summer? The 4-H Camping experience can happen at two different 4-H camping locations in Nebraska. There are camps for youth ages 5-18 years of age by December 31, 2017. The goal of Nebraska 4-H Camp is to allow youth a place to discover, learn, and grow.  Youth do not have to be a member of 4-H to attend a Nebraska 4-H Camp.  At Nebraska 4-H Camps and Centers, they believe strongly in promoting the mission of Nebraska 4-H, which encourages all young people to reach their full potential, by working and learning in partnership with caring adults.The Nebraska 4-H Camps are located in the beauty of the Nebraska National Forest (Halsey) and Schramm State Park (Gretna).  The Nebraska 4-H Camping staff is able to do what they do best:  provide a life-changing summer experience for all youth!  4-H is education for life and focuses on helping young people explore the science in everyday life, grow leadership and citizenship skills, explore future career opportunities, and make healthier decisions. The Nebraska 4-H Camps are American Camp Association (ACA) accredited, meaning that they care enough to undergo a thorough review of over 300 standards related to operations, staffing, and emergency management.  Nebraska Camp staff recruit an experienced and caring staff that receive training in First—aid and CPR training, water safety, camping skills, and positive youth development training.  No matter which 4-H Camp your child goes to, camp is a great place to meet new friends, try something for the first time, and build cherished memories. To register online go to 4h.unl.edu/camp. If you are interested in picking up a registration to mail in, stop by your local Nebraska Extension office to pick up a form.  There are numerous camps offered with various focuses throughout the summer, you will find one that is right for your child. From now until April 15, 2018, you will receive an Early Bird Camp Fee, which is outlined on the website or brochure from your Nebraska Extension Office. _____________________________________

    Involvement in 4-H can Help Foster Success in Youth

    February 20, 2018 The 4-H Pledge

    I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty , my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.  Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four H’s of the 4-H program that youth need to be engaged while in the 4-H program.  Using their heads, they learn to manage many different things in their 4-H projects and life. Through their heart, they learn to relate to others and be caring to those around them and their projects.  With their hands, 4-Hers are able to work on various projects and assist others. By living healthy they are practicing being capable of caring for self and others. How can being involved in 4-H foster youth’s success?  In 2002, the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development longitudinal study began and was then repeated annually for eight years.  There were more than 7,000 adolescents from across 42 states in the United States that were part of the study.  The Tufts research team examined how structured-out-of-school time learning, leadership experiences, and adult mentoring that young people receive through 4-H plays a role in helping them achieve success.4-Hers practice responsibility by being involved in a variety of different 4-H projects offered through the program.  The project areas are Animal Science, Communication and Expressive Arts, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Education and Earth Sciences, Family and Consumer Sciences, Healthy Lifestyle Education, Leadership and Citizenship, Plant Science, and Plant Science and Technology.  If a youth chooses to participate in a Healthy Lifestyle Education project, they may learn the skill of meal planning for themselves and their family.  This skill could lead to them actually planning out healthy meals for themselves and their family members and may even include keeping a food budget for their family. 4-Hers practice responsibility by caring for animals daily in various animal science projects. 4-Hers make sure their animals have a safe place to be, have appropriate food and water, and that their animals are cared for and can be handled.  This takes much time and dedication by the 4-Her and their family and does not just happen one week out of the year at the county fair.  4-Hers in livestock projects take Youth for the Quality Control of Animals (YQCA) to help prepare them for daily care and management. The Tufts research longitudinal study showed that compared to their peers, youth involved in 4-H programs excelled in several areas.4-Hers are:

    -Nearly 4 times more likely to make contribution to their communities.

    -About 2 times more likely to be civically active.

    -Nearly 2 times more likely to participate in science programs during out-of-school time

    -2 times more likely (Grade 10) and nearly 3 times more likely (Grade 12) to take part in science program compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities.

    -Nearly 2 times more likely to make healthier choices. For information on how you can be involved in 4-H go to 4h.unl.edu. 

          • Source: The Positive Development of Youth; Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University.

    _________________________________________

    Positive Youth Development

    January 25, 2018Positive youth development is a growing area of research that has a purposeful approach to the development of youth by engaging youth in their communities, schools and families. By engaging youth in their communities, schools, families and other areas of their lives youth are being given the resources to grow into healthy, strong individuals that have today’s skills for tomorrows jobs. Getting youth ready to be successful is part the Nebraska 4-H program.Nebraska 4-H engages youth through 4-H programs and activities by building positive youth relationships between youth and adults and providing needed support for youth to develop their strengths. Through development of positive partnerships and strengths 4-H youth are developing the Five C’s of positive youth development. The C’s of positive youth development are: confidence, competence, connection, caring, and character. Development of these five skills is an integral part of the foundation for helping youth become successful ready adults.The ability to face the pressures of life events comes from participation in positive youth development programs like 4-H. Youth who participate in 4-H are two times more likely to participate in science programs and make healthier choices and are four times more likely to impact their communities (2014, 4-H Annual Report). These abilities come from involvement in 4-H projects such as animal science, communication, photography, food and nutrition, leadership, and many more. 4-H projects immerse youth into hands on learning environments where youth learn life skills and mindsets which enhance their readiness for the future. Life skills such as leadership, courage, self-discipline, goal setting, service learning, decision making and more transition in soft skills needed to overcome the pressures of college, work, and life events. Getting youth ready and prepared to be successful in the future is a challenging task. Using positive youth development programs and resources, like 4-H programs, can make it easier.________________________________________

    Essential Elements of 4-H and Youth Development

    December 28, 2017The eight Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development are basic principles under which the 4-H Youth Development Program operates. Incorporating these elements enables the 4-H Program to focus on positive outcomes desired for youth; provide programs for all young people; view youth as central actors in their own development; and consider the development of the whole young person. Four of those elements include the Heart (Belonging), Head (Independence), Hands (Generosity) and Health (Mastery); these form the foundation which supports the positive development of youth.The Heart, creates a Sense of belonging, not only to the youth but to the county and community the youth are a part of as well. Youth need to know they are cared about by others and feel a sense of connection to others in the group. Creating a physically and emotionally safe environment for youth to be actively involved is an important part of 4-H!The Head creates Independence, which builds this element and incorporates more than just completing tasks on your own. Incorporated into 4-H programming, independence focuses on the youth’s need to know that they are able to influence events and people through their choices and actions.The Hands create Generosity, shown to the youth through the many community service projects 4-H promotes and encourages. During their development, youth need to feel and understand their lives have meaning and a purpose in everything they do.The Health creates Mastery, mastery of skills, project related or not, which is important in developing the self-confidence of youth. Youth need to feel and believe they are capable of experiencing success by solving problems and meeting expectations and challenges.Participating in 4-H gives youth a platform to participate and develop all eight areas of the Essential Elements through the development of their Head, Heart, Health, and Hands in every activity they do._________________________________________

    Nebraska 4-H Youth Development Programs

    November 29, 2017Nebraska 4-H Youth Development programs are delivered through four primary modes, including camps, clubs, school enrichment, and afterschool. Through these delivery modes, Nebraska 4-H offers various educational experiences in all corners of the state built around seven content areas. These areas include college and career readiness, community development, entrepreneurship, food supply confidence, healthy living, leadership development, and STEM.   School enrichment programs offer non-formal, hands-on educational experiences in classrooms in support of school curriculum. The purpose of a 4-H school enrichment program is to encourage long-term involvement in 4-H, enhance the relationship between 4-H and school systems (public and private), provide informal education to complement formal education, enhance the subject matter being studied, and foster and promote enthusiasm and support for participation in other 4-H programs.  Youth do not need to be an enrolled 4-H member to participate in the 4-H school enrichment program.4-H school enrichment programs are conducted during school hours in partnership with classroom instructors. The educational experience are delivered either by a 4-H staff, trained volunteer, or teacher. Programs include educational experiences that engage youth in hands-on learning opportunities that support the school curriculum.A high quality school enrichment program:

          • Includes a sequential and varied learning experience supporting the school curriculum, an evaluation is completed by teachers and/or youth participants.

          • Allows youth are to articulate that the experience is a 4-H sponsored project.

    Uses experiential learning (learning by doing) as a primary teaching approach.

          • Shows evidence of fostering the Essential Elements of 4-H Youth Development.

          • Includes planned opportunities to learn and apply life skills such as leadership, citizenship, community service and public speaking.

          • Provides experiences to develop in-depth knowledge about one or more of the seven Nebraska 4-H content priorities.

          • Offers programs, curricula, and procedures that are based in research and are developmentally appropriate for the age of the youth.

          • Provides youth and volunteers access to resources of land-grant universities and to county, state, and national 4-H opportunities.

          • Fosters youth-adult partnerships that encourage active involvement and participation by youth and adults.

          • Provides safe and healthy physical and emotional environments.

    For more information on the programs offered in your area, contact your local county extension office.________________________________________

    Next Chapter at Nebraska

    October 25, 2017Next Chapter at Nebraska is a college-readiness program that helps students prepare for and succeed in college by providing the skills students need to reach their academic goals.  The program is facilitated through Nebraska 4-H. The Next Chapter Program:

    *Inspires youth to continue their education after high school

    *Promotes awareness of higher education options

    *Develops college and career readiness skills

    *Engage in 4-H opportunities

    *Helps students pair their interest with career choices

    *Encourages students to explore careers

    *Develops important life skills, including: social skills, stress management, self-discipline, self-motivation, and responsibilityNext Chapter at Nebraska is offered to students beginning in 8th grade.  Throughout high school, Next Chapter scholars will engage in events, activities and curriculum where they will participate in career exploration, develop research skills, and experience a variety of learning methods that will help them transition to and succeed in collage.Scholars who participate in next chapter at Nebraska will:

    *Be invited to a celebratory event at NEBRASKA with their families in the spring of their 8th grade year

    *Be pre-admitted to NEBRAKSA upon enrollment in the program starting in 8th grade

    *Participate in college preparatory activities and curriculum throughout high school

    *Be prepared for a successful transition to high school

    *Be enrolled in 4-H. For more information you can contact your local Nebraska Extension Office._________________________________________

    AKSARBEN Stock Show

    September 28, 2017For over 100 years, 4-H clubs have been developing youth leaders in agriculture. One in three Heartland youth participate in 4-H, and the AKSARBEN Foundation has served as a key supporter for 4-H for 90 consecutive years since hosting the first annual 4-H livestock show in 1928. Today, AKSARBEN Foundation hosts one of the largest 4-H Stock Show in the nation, drawing over 1,000 4-H exhibitors. The National Livestock Judging and Quiz Bowl competitions draw an additional 700 participants from across the nation. The event culminates with the Purple Ribbon Auction where more than $250,000 is raised annually to fund 4-H Scholarships and awards, which further open the doors of opportunity to the next generation of leaders. The AKSARBEN Stock Show is a regional show open to 4-H members from Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.Because each state operates with different requirements and deadlines for 4-H projects, the AKSARBEN Stock Show abides by the same rules for an exhibitor’s project as those set up by each individual State 4-H Office. The AKSARBEN Foundation staff has an excellent working relationship with the County Extension offices in the eligible participating states. The AKSARBEN Stock Show’s mission is "producing an annual community celebration of the region’s heritage which educates and benefits families."In 2017-2018, the AKSARBEN Stock Show’s vision is to:

    Conduct a World-class 4-H livestock exposition.

          • Educate youth on Production Agriculture and Agriculture STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

          • Expose High School and College students to Careers in Agriculture.

          • Raise $250,000+ annually to fund AKSARBEN Purple Ribbon Scholarships and Ag Leader Scholarships, awarding up to one hundred Ag Scholarships each year.

    From Great to Grand:
    AKSARBEN has a new partnership with the Grand Island Livestock Complex Authority and relocation of the AKSARBEN Stock Show to Grand Island (Fonner Park/Nebraska State Fairgrounds).Grand Impact for Students and Sponsors

          • Better facilities at Nebraska State Fairgrounds lead to more Agricultural education, events and engagement.

          • Greater efficiencies result in more of your sponsorship dollars benefiting youth through scholarships, education and job exploration.

          • Brand Presence & Market Outreach: Increased brand awareness and impact in communities across our state.

          • Demonstrated interest by the Knights of AKSARBEN to favorably impact Greater Nebraska. Growing the bonds between Grand Island/Tri-Cities/Central Nebraska leadership and AKSARBEN leadership is priceless.

    This year's AKSARBEN Stock Show will be held at the Nebraska State Fair Grounds, Fonner Park in Grand Island, Nebraska. The 2017 AKSARBEN Horse Show was held September 23 and 24th. The market goats, market broilers, swine, sheep, dairy, and beef portion of AKSARBEN will be September 28-October 1, 2017. _________________________________________

    Nebraska State Fair

    August 30, 2017There's no place like the Nebraska State Fair! It's the premier showcase of 4-H'ers to share what they've learned and worked on in 4-H throughout the year. At the Fair, we celebrate the successes of thousands of youth who have learned and grown through 4-H. The State Fair is also a prime opportunity for 4-Her's to cultivate skills they've learned in 4-H projects, put their life skills and good character to work, discover areas they'd like to learn more about, and meet other kids and adults. The Nebraska State Fair is August 25 - September 4, 2017 at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds in Grand Island, Nebraska. Visit the Nebraska State Fairbook for 4-H at http://4h.unl.edu/fairbook for information about 4-H static and animal exhibits, as well as 4-H in-person contests and competitions happening at the State Fair. The Fairbook contains rules, classes, eligibility, and judging information for all 4-H events happening at this year's Nebraska State Fair.  If you are interested in a schedule about the Nebraska State Fair go to http://www.statefair.org.For a 4-Her to be eligible to participate, an exhibitor must be a 4-H member enrolled in the project they are exhibiting in the county, which he/she represents.  Youth must be enrolled by June 15 of the current year.  In classes where presence of the 4-Her is required for judging purposes, such as animal exhibits, judging contest, presentations, and fashion show, a 4-H member must be 10 before January 1 of the current year, or become 11 years of age during the current year.  The last year of eligibility is the calendar year the member becomes 19.For classes where presence of the 4-Her is not required (Static Exhibit), a 4-H member must be 8 before January 1, of the current year, or become 9 years of age during the current year.  This could include such projects as Conservation and Wildlife, Clothing, and Human Development. Exhibits which require the youth to be present occur throughout the State Fair. During the fair you will see a University of Nebraska presence at places like:The 4-H Exhibit Hall where you can view more than 10,000 4-H exhibits from 2,500 exhibitors across the state, representing all 93 Nebraska counties.Raising Nebraska is an interactive experience like no other.  From science and innovation, to community and culture, and even the global economy.  Nebraska’s agriculture experience touches everyone. UNL Food Processing Center display which is located in the 4-H-FFA Building.  Nebraska food companies provided samples to remind their customers about the products and also introduce their products to potential customers.There will also be live taping of the popular lawn-and-garden TV series “Backyard Famer” during the fair.  The taping will occur on August 30, in the Raising Nebraska Building.  A special question-and-answer session with the panelists is 2:30-3:30 PM, followed by the live taping at 4 PM.  The episode will air at 7 PM on August 31 on NET._______________________________________

    The Experiential Learning Process

    June 29, 2017Experiential learning takes place when a youth is involved in an activity, looks back at it critically, determines what was useful or important to remember, and uses this information to perform another activity. The five-step experiential learning model guides the process turning activities into fun learning experiences.  4-H uses this hands-on learning approach to teach new topics and life skills. The five-step experiential learning model guides the process turning activities into fun learning experiences. It is important that youth are aware of the learning that takes place as they are involved in experiences. As they reflect on these experiences, they can identify what was most important and how that knowledge can be applied to other life situations. Through 4-H youth programs, adult volunteers can help youth develop these reflective skills. The Experiential Learning Model provides five steps to assist with this process. Adult volunteer can begin by:•Setting aside enough time for reflecting on the experience.•Asking the right questions.•Planning developmentally appropriate experiences that lead to reflection.•Listening carefully.•Supporting each youth’s unique learning. Step 1: Experience: The hands-on action step.Youth do their project.•Youth experiment with new ideas, interests, projects, etc. Step 2: Share: Describe what was done.•What kinds of hopes and dreams did you have for your 4-H experience this year?•What did you do?•What was your goal for this project when you began?•Tell me about your most favorite things about working on your project.•Tell about your least favorite things about working on your project.•What did you learn while doing this project? •What did you learn about yourself?•How did you share your project with others? Step 3: Process: Identify common themes and discover, what was most important, (the life skill), about project work.•What did you learn about yourself by doing this project?•How did you make your decision? What steps did you take?•What did you learn about making decisions?•What were some of the common themes or thoughts you had?•What was the most challenging part of your project? Why? How didyou solve it?•What did you learn from this project that you didn’t know before?•Why was this an important/useful thing to do?•What suggestions would you have for someone else who wanted to do a similar project? Step 4: Generalize: So what?Identify how to use what’s been learned in real life. These questions transition the experience or “product” itself to the skill being practiced in “real” life. They explore the nature of the life skill, reflect on how the life skill has been developed through their work and set the stage for application of the life skill in new situations.•What key points have you learned?•What similar experience have you had throughout this project/activity?•Where have you faced similar challenges in your life?•How is this life skill important to you?•What did you learn about your decision-making skills? Step 5: Apply: What’s next?These are the questions we’ve been building towards: You can helpyouth show that they have gained new knowledge and practiced the life skills learned rather than solely focusing on the subject matter or product development skills. •What did the project mean to your everyday life?•What have you learned about yourself? Others?•What principles or guidelines can you use in real-life situations?•What other situations like this have you experienced before?•How can you use these skills in different situations?•In what ways do people help each other learn new things?•How will you act differently in the future as a result of this experience?Adapted from: Questions for Guiding Experiential Learning.Deidrick, Doering, Geiser, Kanengieter, Piehl, Stevenson. Minnesota 4-H Youth Development, University of Minnesota Extension Service. 4-H National Headquarters Fact Sheet Experiential Learning, April 2011________________________________________

    2017 4-H Educational Events

     May 24, 20174-H empowers youth to reach their full potential while working and learning in partnership with caring adults. In Nebraska, 1-in-3 age-eligible youth participates in 4-H, which is present in all 93 counties. These youth, ages 5-18, participate through camps, clubs, school enrichment, and afterschool programs. All 4-H programs are consistent in placing strong emphasis on life skills, such as problem solving, responsibility, citizenship, and leadership.  With the 2016/2017 school year coming to a close, many families have planned or are planning summer learning experiences.  Nebraska Extension across the state is offering numerous summer educational events. These activities involve a variety of different project areas including: Animal Science, Communication and Expressive Arts, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Education and Earth Sciences, Family and Consumer Sciences, Healthy Lifestyle Education, Leadership and Citizenship, Plant Science, and Science, Engineering, and Technology. In Wayne County, Nebraska Extension offers summer educational events beginning in May.  Be sure to check out, wayne.unl.edu for a full listing of 4-H educational events.  Many of these workshops offer opportunities to complete projects in which youth can exhibit at the fair. The Favorite Foods Contest and the Presentation Contest are a few of the educational events offered.  For the Favorite Foods Contest, youth may learn to menu plan and set a budget for the meal they are presenting.  Youth in the Presentation Contest strengthen communication skills by sharing knowledge on a certain topic or by making a video in which they can share a 4-H message. In addition to educational events offered by  Nebraska Extension Offices, within your local county there are also individual 4-H clubs that regularly offer educational experiences where youth work together to complete a similar project.  Some of these projects may be community service projects which help out a certain community or cause.4-H Camps are also part of the 4-H Educational experience. There are local 4-H camps hosted at Ponca State Park, while some other 4-H camps are hosted at the Nebraska State 4-H Camp in Halsey, Nebraska and Gretna, Nebraska. 4-H Camps are day or overnight camps that offer recreation, education, and even career exploration opportunities for youth. _______________________________________

    4-H: Helping Nebraska Students Write Their Next Chapter

    April 24, 2017Nebraska 8th graders will have the opportunity to participate in Next Chapter, an exciting program that connects students to the University of Nebraska! Those that enroll in this program as 8th graders will receive a letter from the University congratulating them on their preadmission to UNL. This means that students, who qualify academically will be admitted to the University after high school. Next Chapter also grants students access to resources like never before. Highlights include:

          • Insight from 4-H alumni regarding campus life

          • Discussions with UNL professors about opportunities at UNL

          • Access to admissions and financial aid personnel

          • Step-by-step lessons to prepare students for college throughout their high school career

          • Real-world connections between content and 4-H projects

    All 8th graders enrolled in 4-H last year will be admitted to the Next Chapter program. New 8th grade students that enroll in a 4-H program will have the option to join Next Chapter at no additional charge. Students will need to re-enroll annually, and successfully complete the current year’s program to advance to the next level. To do this, the student must be present for at least five lessons (out of a possible eight) per academic year, and complete the annual 4-H project designated by their club. This programming will begin during the student’s 9th grade year.We will continue to provide information throughout this 8th grade year, but there are a few dates to look forward to now:

          • Enrollment open through February 15, 2017 (to participate in statewide celebration)

          • April 2017: Local 4-H district celebration for all new Next Chapter students and families

          • April 25, 2017: Statewide celebration for all Next Chapter students and their families in Lincoln

          • Nebraska 8th graders who enroll in 4-H by June 15, 2017 are eligible to be a part of Next Chapter

    The University of Nebraska is excited to help students and their families make this exciting time of change easier by providing this unprecedented access to high school students. If you have any questions regarding this program, feel free to contact your local Nebraska Extension office or Phil Onwiler or Lindsay Kretchman, with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Printer friendly copy pdf/363 KB___________________________________________

    4-H PUBLIC SPEAKING CONTEST

    March 24,  2017One contest that 4-Hers are preparing for is the Public Speaking Contest.  This contest helps youth develop skills for communicating about current issues to real audiences.  Youth who chose to participate learn how to organize and prepare a speech and develop speech delivery skills. They learn how to present themselves to others, and develop self-confidence. These skills also prepare them for other opportunities that they will have in speaking in front of others.  

    The 4-H Public Speaking Contest in Wayne County will be held on Monday, April 3, 2017 at the Wayne County Courthouse in Wayne at 7:00 PM.  4-Hers need to register for the contest on or before 5:00 PM on Friday, March 31.  They can simply do this calling 402-375-3310 or emailing wayne-county@unl.edu  with your name, whether doing a speech, PSA or both, the title of the speech, and age division.The top three contestants in each of the junior, intermediate and senior divisions of each category (Speech & PSA) are eligible to represent Wayne County at the Regional Public Speaking Contest on May 25, 2017 at the Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center in Norfolk.

    The Guide to Making Great Speeches and How to Prepare a 4-H Radio Public Service Announcement manuals are available at http://4h.unl.edu/public-speaking/regional and at the Extension Office.Details about the Speech Contest include:Age Divisions (all ages as of December 31, 2016)

          • Clover Kids - 4-Hers 5-7 years. Non-competitive

          • Novice - 4-Hers 10 years and younger who have never competed in a speech contest before. May read a poem or story, or talk to the audience about any topic they choose...4-H or otherwise.

          • Junior - 4-Hers 8-10 years.

          • Intermediate - 4-Hers 11-13 years.

          • Senior - for 4-Hers 14 years and older.

    Speech Category Guidelines: All speeches must be original and include 4-H as the major component of the speech.

          • Many speakers in the Public Speaking Contest have given speeches in other contests. This is fine; however, previous speeches may not be used verbatim for the 4-H contest. It is okay to use the same ideas from a speech previously delivered in competition, but it must be 4-H related. Enough changes should be made to make that speech new to the speaker and the audience. 4-H public speakers may not use an old speech written by a sibling, other 4-H member, or anyone else.

          • Acknowledge the source of information used in the speech. For example, an article from a magazine may be used for reference, but should not be quoted directly unless you tell the audience your source.

          • Use of visual aids and props are not allowed.

          • Dress appropriately. Do not wear costumes or special effect clothing.

          • No team speeches are allowed.

     Public Service Announcement (PSA) Category Guidelines:

          • Novice PSA’s can be 30 or 60 seconds in length. All other age divisions must be 60 seconds.

          • All radio PSA’s will use the state theme as the basis for their PSA. This year’s theme is “4-H Grown” and should be incorporated into the PSA.

          • All radio PSA’s must promote 4-H and be general enough to be used anywhere in Nebraska at anytime of the year.

          • All 4-H PSA’s must include the following tag line within the last ten seconds of the PSA: “Learn more about the Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development Program at 4h.unl.edu.” The tag line is included in the time limit.

    There are some tips about giving your speech, they include: 

          • When introduced, walk briskly to the podium.

          • Pause, smile, and look at everyone before starting.

          • Stand tall, don’t lean on the podium.

          • Be confident.

          • Speak loud and clear.

          • Speak normally, don’t rush.

          • Don’t read your speech off your cards.

          • Look at your audience like you are talking to each of them.

          • Have good eye contact.

    Printer friendly copy pdf/187 KB_____________________________________

    4-H Grows Here

    February 17, 2017Nebraska 4-H currently reaches one in three youth through 4-H programming. Considering the amazing benefits youth experience through participation in 4-H programming, Nebraska 4-H anticipates reaching one in two youth by the year 2020. In order to achieve this goal, leadership of Nebraska 4-H asked counties to establish growth goals for their local 4-H programs beginning in 2014. These growth goals were meant to encourage and challenge 4-H programs to think of creative and innovative ways to engage more youth in 4-H programming. While reaching one in two youth may initially seem overly ambitious, fifty four counties currently reach one in two youth through their 4-H programs. This is due, in large part, to the great work of our 4-H alumni and volunteers.Recently, the National 4-H Council announced their own growth goal of reaching ten million youth through 4-H programming by 2025. They asked all states to begin setting growth goals to help them achieve this. It is great to see Nebraska 4-H setting the standard for growth and leading the way as we work to give as many youth as possible the opportunity to make their best, better.How can you be a part of Nebraska 4-H reaching one in two youth by 2020?  Contact your local Nebraska Extension office and find out how to become a new member by joining a 4-H club or participate in a school enrichment program in the classroom. Are you on social media? As you share great accomplishments of the 4-H program and use the hashtag #4Hgrowshere and #NE4H. Even if you are not currently involved in 4-H programming and are a 4-H alum, share great 4-H memories or experiences that helped you make the best better. Growing the reach of Nebraska 4-H begins with volunteers and alumni sharing their stories and shining the spotlight on the life changing moments experienced in 4-H. Help Nebraska 4-H continue to lead the way to reaching one in two youth in counties of our great state and ten million youth nationally.printer friendly file    (pdf file/38.54 KB)________________________________________

    February is Nebraska 4-H Month

    January 26, 2017The Mission of Nebraska 4-H is to empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.  Nebraska 4-H strives to help young people achieve their greatest potential by introducing high-quality youth development experiences into the lives of Nebraska youth and families. Engagement in 4-H results in youth who are making positive decisions related to their health and their future goals. Further, they are advocates and leaders determined to leave a lasting impact on Nebraska communities. In Nebraska, 1 in 3 age-eligible youth across all 93 counties are enrolled in 4-H, for a total enrollment reaching approximately 140,000 youth.  There are nearly 50,000 youth participate in school enrichment experiences and over 33,000 Nebraska youth were members of a 4-H Club. There are 11, 000 youth and adults participate in 4-H camping programs and 12,000 volunteers share their time and resources with Nebraska 4-H. By taking part in Nebraska 4-H, youth are preparing for a successful future by focusing on  Science, Agricultural Literacy, Career Development and College Readiness, Community Engagement, and Healthy Living. Nebraska 4-H club membership is open to youth who are 5 years of age as of December 31, 2016 and who had not yet turned 19 as of December 31, 2016.  To join one of the nine 4-H Clubs in Wayne County contact the Nebraska Extension Office in Wayne County at 402-375-3310 or visit wayne.unl.edu.Some of the things that youth in 4-H have the opportunity to do are develop friendships and work with their family on various projects and activities.  These youth also have access to project materials developed by Nebraska Extension that is based on the latest research. 4-Hers attend monthly 4-H meetings and have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops.printer friendly file (pdf/ 83 KB)___________________________________

    4-H and Positive Youth Development

    December 29, 2016Positive youth development is a purposeful, pro-social approach to youth development that focuses on engaging youth in their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups and families by recognizing and utilizing youths’ strengths. It supports positive outcomes for young people by offering opportunities, encouraging positive relationships with peers and adults and providing the supports needed to build on their strengths. Youth who are engaged in positive youth development programs like 4-H will develop confidence, competence, compassion/caring, connection, and character, also known as the 5 C’s of positive youth development.4-H leaders and volunteers play an important role in helping our youth develop the 5 C’s. Here are some ways to encourage positive youth development:Encourage youth input-When youth feel they are being heard and taken seriously they are more likely to engage in programs and reap the benefits of that program. Adults can encourage youth to have a voice by listening, responding positively, and frequently using ideas brought to the club by members. Provide guidelines and structure-Structure and guidelines allow youth the freedom to complete tasks in their own way while still allowing for adult guidance. By monitoring youth activities and providing help when needed and asking purposeful questions to encourage youth to think about practical issues and to think critically about the projects they are working on. Empower youth-To empower youth provide an inviting environment where youth are encouraged to take on new leadership roles, express their ideas, and feel support through success and failures. Give youth a chance to share their skills and recognize and praise their work. These environments will inspire youth to reach their full potential.Be intentional-To promote and support positive youth development and the 4-H mission, 4-H leaders and volunteers must be intentional in their work with youth. Encourage a mutually caring and respectful relationship with youth, be sure to have your club meetings and activities well planned and organized, and understand your role in supporting the 4-H mission – empowering youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.____________________________________________

    Engaging Youth in Community Development

    November 18, 2016In any community, different organizations and government agencies are working to create positive change for its residents.  In a perfect world, all stakeholders have a place at the table, and inclusion is the highest priority.  Unfortunately, often the youth that live and study in the community are overlooked. There are few organizations that focus on giving youth a voice within their community, but the Nebraska 4-H program is working to provide youth with opportunities to engage in their community, make positive changes, and build a community where they want to live.   Youth engagement not only leads to a better community, but also benefits the youth involved.  Youth participants are able to learn about their community and how to create a better place for themselves and others to live.  They understand why it is important to be a part of a community, how they can be involved, and what it takes to hold a leadership role.Although there are many ways to engage youth in the creation of a better community, there are no right or wrong ways to accomplish youth-centered community development.  4-H Councils across Nebraska provide great opportunities for youth to engage in their community and be involved with decision making.  But is it enough to just invite youth to serve on these boards and committees?  How can we actually make sure that they are engaging in an authentic community development experience?  One way to accomplish this is to look at youth as “partners” who decide how they want to be engaged rather than “participants” who are invited to take part in the process.  The following, is a simple process that lays a framework for establishing youth as stakeholders and engaging them in opportunities for community change.1)      Organize a group:  Developing community cannot be done individually, although, an idea can start out that way.  Identify who should be involved; Nebraska 4-H uses Adult/Youth partnerships for positive youth development – which could include policy makers, economic developers, business owners, or other community members.2)      Create purpose:  It is important for youth to be a big part of the group’s vision and goals.  Getting youth to participate in activities and decisions that adults ultimately control is not true engagement.  True youth engagement allows youth to have actual authority and responsibility, as well as opportunities to develop the skills needed to make good decisions.3)      Develop and implement an action plan:  As the decision makers of the group, youth provide logical next steps with adult guidance.  Youth are responsible for time management and held accountable throughout the process.4)      Review and evaluate:  Youth actively measure and report progress and are involved in determining if and when results are achieved.5)      Celebrate success:  Acknowledge youth for their accomplishments.  Ask them to identify and thank any individual or organization that lead to their success.It is important to engage youth in their community decision making because it creates a sense of ownership, and accomplishment.  It leaves youth saying, “I did that,” and “We made a difference!”  Ultimately, it is important to encourage the young people to return to their community, to live, work, and raise a family in the future.This article comes from a series of resources developed by Nebraska Extension, 4-H Youth Development Professionals.  Learn more about 4-H at 4h.unl.edu, follow us on Facebook at (UNLExtWayneCounty) For more information, contact the author – Jacie Milius (jacie.milius@unl.edu), Extension Educator in Nuckolls, Thayer and Clay Counties. _____________________________________________

    Celebrating National 4-H Week October 2-8, 2016

    September 23, 2016October 2-8, 2016 is National 4-H Week, in Wayne County, 262 Clover Kids and traditional 4-H club members and over 100 volunteers are involved in 4‑H. There are also nearly 800 youth who participate in special interest programs, school enrichments and educational events throughout the year.  In Nebraska, 1 in 3 age-eligible youth across all 93 counties is enrolled in 4-H, for a total enrollment reaching approximately 140,000 youth.   4-H camps either overnight or day offer recreational, educational, and even career exploration opportunities. 4-H camps provide youth with the chance to meet new people, have fun, and experience something new! 4-H clubs are an organized group that meets regularly to focus on a series of educational experiences. Clubs can meet in a variety of locations and typically meet in the evenings and on the weekends. School enrichment programs offer non-formal, hands-on educational experiences in classrooms in support of school curriculum. These programs are coordinated in collaboration with public and private schools.4-H is for  youth, ages 5-18 by December 31, 2016.  4-H is part of Nebraska Extension, a component of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Nebraska 4-H prepares young people for successful futures. Educational programs place strong emphasis on life skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, social skills, communication, responsibility, citizenship, and leadership.Through 4-H, youth serve as role models in their community and have the chance to learn and meet people from across their county, state, and country. For over 100 years, youth and adults have been serving, working, and learning together through 4-H.The fundamental 4-H ideal of practical, “learn by doing” experiences encourage youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. 4-H programs are offered through school-based, after-school and camp settings and within community clubs. You can join the 4-H community today. To learn how to become a 4-H member or volunteer leader in Wayne County, contact the Nebraska Extension Office at 402-375-3310 or email wayne-county@unl.edu. 4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of National 4-H Headquarters (USDA). The 4-H programs are implemented by the 106 Land Grant Universities and the Cooperative Extension System through their 3,100 local Extension offices across the country. Learn more about the 4‑H adventure at 4h.unl.edu._____________________________________________

    4-H and Positive Youth Development

    June 30, 2016 Positive youth development is a purposeful, pro-social approach to youth development that focuses on engaging youth in their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups and families by recognizing and utilizing youths’ strengths. It supports positive outcomes for young people by offering opportunities, encouraging positive relationships with peers and adults and providing the supports needed to build on their strengths. Youth who are engaged in positive youth development programs like 4-H will develop confidence, competence, compassion/caring, connection, and character, also known as the 5 C’s of positive youth development.As a 4-H leader and volunteer you play an important role in helping our youth develop the 5 C’s. Here are some ways you can encourage positive youth development: Encourage youth input When youth feel they are being heard and taken seriously they are more likely to engage in programs and reap the benefits of that program. As a 4-H leader you can encourage youth to have a voice by listening, responding positively, and frequently using ideas brought to you by your club members. Provide guidelines and structure Structure and guidelines allow youth the freedom to complete tasks in their own way while still allowing for adult guidance. As you monitor activities and provide help when needed ask purposeful questions to encourage youth to think about practical issues and to think critically about the projects they are working on. Empower youth To empower youth provide an inviting environment where youth are encouraged to take on new leadership roles, express their ideas, and feel support through success and failures. Give youth a chance to share their skills and recognize and praise their work. These environments will inspire youth to reach their full potential. Be intentional To promote and support positive youth development and the 4-H mission, you must be intentional in your work with youth. Encourage a mutually caring and respectful relationship with youth, be sure to have your club meetings and activities well planned and organized, and understand your role in supporting the 4-H mission – empowering youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.SOURCE: Nebraska Extension Spotlight Newsletter, February 2016

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    Inspiring Gratitude in Our Youth

    May 26, 2016“Hey, thanks!”  What’s the big deal about having an attitude of gratitude?  What’s the importance of saying thanks?  Studies cite a growing interest in the area of gratitude in the younger generation.  An attitude of gratitude serves as a key factor for success in life.Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen AND taking time to express thanks. Two key factors are “being aware of” and “taking time”.Your 4-H member won a trophy, scholarship or other recognition.  What’s the next, very important, step? Expressing appreciation and saying thanks.  Write a note, visit with your donor, shake their hand and say THANK YOU.  It can go a long ways with a donor in their continued support when they receive appreciation or thanks from recipients.  With winning comes the privilege of saying thanks!As youth are awarded trophies, scholarships, and various honors, hopefully they will recognize the im-portance of saying thanks.  Parents become the first line of support, reminding youth to say thanks, write a note, send a text or email, or better yet, meet the donor in person.  Club leaders are encouraged to create an environment of gratitude through 4-H club meetings and activities.  Research indicates that gratitude is associated with happiness and personal well-being and helps people form, maintain, and strengthen supportive relationships; gratitude helps people feel connected to a caring community, such as 4-H.Knowing the benefits, how can we foster gratitude in children?  Our families, schools, 4-H and others must all do our part.  While there’s no quick fix, the more we remain committed to it, the more rewards we will reap.  By bringing out the best in our kids, we bring out the best in our families and communities.  Anything worthwhile takes time and effort.  It’s up to all of us to make it happen. Adults mod-el and teach gratitude.  Kids help other kids learn the importance of gratitude and their responsibility to say thanks.  Gratitude is a virtue that anyone can cultivate.There are many opportunities for kids to recognize and thank those who have done something special for them, and it’s a habit that if they start young, they will carry throughout life.  Enhancing gratitude can be rel-atively simple and easy to integrate into 4-H families and clubs.When it comes to future generations, gratitude is the single best investment we can make.  Gratitude mat-ters and it matters most in kids.Zig Ziglar summed it up well, “Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life changing.”SOURCE:  Spotlight on 4-H, May 2016. 
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    Involvement in 4-H can Help Foster Success in Youth

    April 28, 2016

               The 4-H Pledge-I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty , my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.  Head, Heart, Hands, and Health are the four H’s of the 4-H program that youth need to be engaged in the 4-H program.  Using their heads they learn to manage many different things in their 4-H projects and life. Through their heart, they learn to relate to others and be caring to those around them and their projects.  With their hands, 4-Hers are able to work on various projects. By living healthy they are practicing being capable of caring for self and others.                 How can being involved in 4-H foster youth’s success?  In 2002 the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development longitudinal study began and was then repeated annually for eight years.  There were more than 7,000 adolescents from across 42 states in the United States that were part of the study.  The Tufts research team examined how structured-out-of-school time learning, leadership experiences, and adult mentoring that young people receive through 4-H plays a role in helping them achieve success.                4-Hers practice responsibility by being involved in a variety of different 4-H projects offered through the program.  The project areas are Animal Science, Communication and Expressive Arts, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Education and Earth Sciences, Family and Consumer Sciences, Healthy Lifestyle Education, Leadership and Citizenship, Plant Science, and Science, Engineering and Technology.  If a youth chooses to participate in a Healthy Lifestyle Education project, they may learn the skill of meal planning for themselves and their family.  This skill could lead to them actually planning out healthy meals for themselves and their family members and may even include keeping a food budget for their family.                 4-Hers practice responsibility by caring for animals daily in various animal science projects. 4-Hers make sure their animals have a safe place to be, have appropriate food and water, and that their animals are cared for and can be handled.  This takes much time and dedication by the 4-Her and their family and does not just happen one week out of the year at the county fair.  4-Hers in livestock projects take 4-H Livestock Quality Assurance to help prepare them for daily care and management.  They also work closely with their family members and even their local veterinarian.The Tufts research longitudinal study showed that compared to their peers, youth involved in 4-H programs excelled in several areas. 4-Hers are:-Nearly 4x more likely to make contribution to their communities.-About 2x more likely to be civically active.-Nearly 2x more likely to participate in science programs during out-of-school time-2x more likely (Grade 10) and nearly 3x more likely (Grade 12) to take part in science program compared to girls in other out-of-school time activities.-Nearly 2x more likely to make healthier choices. For information on how you can be involved in 4-H go to 4h.unl.edu. 

          • Source: The Positive Development of Youth; Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University.  

          • Source: Amy Topp, Extension Educator in Wayne County

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    Thinking about Summer Camp?

    March 31, 2016 Nebraska 4-H offers many summer camping programs at two 4-H camping locations.  The camps provide all youth a place to discover, learn, and grow. Campers do not have to be a member of 4-H to attend.  At Nebraska 4-H Camps and Centers they work to promote the mission of Nebraska 4-H, which encourages all young people to reach their full potential, by working and learning in partnership with caring adults.  4-H is education for life and focuses on helping young people explore the science in their everyday lives, grow leadership and citizenship skills, explore future career opportunities, and make healthier decisions.                The Nebraska 4-H Camps are American Camp Association (ACA) accredited – meaning that they care enough to undergo a thorough review of over 300 standards related to operations, staffing, and emergency management.  They recruit an experienced and caring staff that receives training in first-aid/CPR, water safety, camping skills, and positive youth development.  It is the mission of Nebraska 4-H Camps and Centers to provide unique educational opportunities that empower people of all ages to be active in the pursuit of self-improvement in a safe, inclusive, and fun environment. Campers’ safety, security, health and growth are the primary concerns.  No matter which 4-H camp your child attends, camp is a great place to meet new friends, try something for the first time, and build cherished memories to last a lifetime!  The Nebraska State 4-H Camp is amidst the beauty of the Nebraska National Forest Halsey, Nebraska and the Eastern Nebraska 4-H Center at Gretna located at Schramm State Park.            Each site offers a variety of camping experiences for youth ages 5-15 as of December 31, 2015.  If 4-Hers are interested in serving as a camp counselor, they must be at least 15 by June 1, 2016.  Deadline to apply and meet requirements for Camp Counselor is May 1, 2016. To register online go to http://4h.unl.edu/camp and follow the website instructions, you can also pick up registration forms at any Nebraska Extension Office.  To get in on the early camper registration discount of 10 percent, you must be registered and paid on or before April 15, 2016, after April 15, 2016 the standard fee applies.   Be sure to check out the many camps available through Nebraska 4-H!  Youth do not need to be a member of Nebraska 4-H to attend camp. There are also Big Red Academic Camps that are held the week of June 5-10 on UNL Campus.  These camps focus on Discovering things such as careers in Computing, Culinary Arts, Engineering, Filmmaking, Outdoor Nebraska, Unicameral Youth Legislature, Veterinary Science, Weather and Climate Science These camps are open for youth in grades 10-12 in the ’15-16 School year.  Students stay on campus and the age range is high school youth.  For more information go to bigredcamps.unl.edu.

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    Experiential Learning Guide
    February 25, 2016 

    4-H youth programs promote life skills development through use of a five-step sequential Experiential Learning Guide.

    Experiential Learning takes places when youth are involved in a project or activity.  They look back at the experience critically, determine what was useful or important to remember, and then use this information in real life situations (John Dewey). The experiential learning process encourages thinking, working harder, and ultimately learning more thoroughly than just showing and telling.  The five step processes are as follows:

          1. Experience the activity; perform do it.  Youth do before being told or shown how.

          2. Share the results, reactions, observations publicly. Youth describe results of their experiences and their reactions.  The youth relate their experience to the targeted life skill.

          3. Process by discussing, looking at the experience; analyze, and reflect. 

          4. Generalize to connect the experience to real-world examples. Youth connect the life skill discussion to the larger world.  Youth use the new life skill experience in other parts of their lives.

          5. Apply what was learned to similar or different situations and practice. 

    Information shared is from the Experiential Learning Guide developed by John Dewey and adopted by National 4-H Council.

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    Positive Youth Development

    January 28, 2016

    I was recently reading an on-line article at youth.gov.  This article explained positive youth and the importance of connecting youth to positive experiences and programs.  Positive youth programs should include the following principles:-Positive youth development is an intentional process. It is about being proactive to promote protective factors in young people.-Positive youth development complements efforts to prevent risky behaviors and attitudes in youth, and complements efforts that work to address negative behaviors.-Youth assets are both acknowledged and employed through positive youth development. All youth have the capacity for positive growth and development.-Positive youth development enables youth to thrive and flourish in their teen years, and prepares them for a healthy, happy and safe adulthood.-Positive youth development involves youth as active agents. Adults may set the structure, but youth are not just the recipients of services. Youth are valued and are encouraged to bring their assets to the table. Adults and youth work in partnership.-Youth leadership development is a part of positive youth development, but youth aren't required to lead. Youth can attend, actively participate, contribute, or lead through positive youth development activities.-Positive youth development involves civic involvement and civic engagement—youth contribute through service to their communities.-Positive youth development involves and engages every element of the community—schools, homes, community members, and others. Young people are valued through this process. Positive youth development is an investment that the community makes in young people. Youth and adults work together to frame the solutions.Resources:Discover Positive Youth Development - This brief from The Administration for Children & Families (ACF) Family and Youth Services Bureau provides the basics of positive youth development and links to a variety of positive youth development resources.The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth - The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth (NCFY) is a free information service for communities, organizations, and individuals interested in developing new and effective strategies for supporting young people and their families. NCFY was established by the Family and Youth Services Bureau (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) to link those interested in youth issues with the resources they need to better serve young people, families, and communities. Their searchable publications database contains a wealth of information about positive youth development.- See more at: http://youth.gov/youth-topics/positive-youth-development/key-principles-positive-youth-development#sthash.6cYkMBLR.dpufA positive youth development program that is available in all counties across Nebraska is 4-H.  Currently Clover Kids the part of the 4-H program that is designed for youth ages 5-to 7 (age as of December 31, 2015). Children participate in hands-on activities designed to build lots of different life skills.  Some important life skills for the 5- to 7-year-old age group are: Respecting Self, Communicating, Solving Problems, Thinking Critically and Choosing Healthy Lifestyles. The traditional 4-H club membership is also open to youth ages 8-18 (age as of December 31, 2015). For information on how to join a 4-H club, contact the staff at your local Nebraska Extension Office. 4-H offers project materials, developed by University of Nebraska staff based on the latest research. The purpose of a 4-H club is to provide positive youth development opportunities to meet the needs of young people to experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity and to foster educational opportunities tied to the Land Grant University knowledge base.  Wayne County is currently in their re-enrollment/enrollment period until February 1, 2016.  Information about enrolling in 4-H can be found at http://wayne.unl.edu under 2016 4-H Enrollment Information or by calling 402-375-3310. 

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    What is a Youth-Adult Partnership?

    December 18, 2015A youth-adult partnership is a joint effort—youth and adult working together to achieve common goals. Adults offer the knowledge they have on a topic and the youth are able to give fresh ideas, energy and enthusiasm to carry out the goal. Youth can be active participants in school and community activities, especially if they receive mentoring and encouragement from adults. Youths are a resource that often times go untapped in a community.  Youth who become engaged in their communities now will benefit the future of our communities.  Youth gain . . .
    • life skills such as leadership, planning, and teamwork

    • a sense of belonging and being accountable and committed to their community

    • civic awareness, the capacity to care for others, and a desire to change and improve the lives of others

    • a sense of pride and the feeling of being needed and valued

    • new respect and acceptance from adults Adults gain . . .
    • first-hand information about the needs, concerns, and issues that pertain to youth

    • the satisfaction of seeing youths willingly accept the services and messages of the relationship

    • open and honest interactions and feedback about existing programs or services relating to youth

    • access to new collaborators with fresh and innovative ideas, creativity, energy, and enthusiasm

    • new perspectives on decision-making and community problem-solving, as responsibilities are shared with the partnering young person

    • opportunities to foster active community members for the future.Communities gain . . .
    • resources and creativity to solve critical problems and provide needed community services

    • mutual understanding and increased trust between youth and adults, leading to strong youth-adult partnerships

    • new alliances among organizations as they work together to support youth

    • fresh perspectives on policy making, as youths gain a voice in governance and philanthropy

    • citizens who are more knowledgeable and invested in youth and the community. Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development, et al. 2003. Youth-Adult Partnerships: A Training Manual. Takoma Park, MD.Chong, J. (2006) Benefits of Youth-Adult Partnerships. (Electronic version) Children and Family, Aug. 2006. Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Andrew G. Hashimoto, Director/Dean, Cooperative Extension Service/CTAHR, University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822._________________________________________________

    Nebraska 4-H Is Inspiring Young Nebraskans to Reach Their Full Potential

    November 19, 2015The mission of Nebraska 4-H is to empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnerships with caring adults.Nebraska 4-H strives to help young people achieve their greatest potential by introducing high-quality youth development experiences into the lives of Nebraska youth and families. Engagement in 4-H results in youth who are making positive decisions related to their health and their future goals. Further, they are advocates and leaders determined to leave a lasting impact on Nebraska communities.  By taking part in Nebraska 4-H, youth are preparing for a successful future by focusing on 4-H Science, Agricultural Literacy, Career Development and College Readiness, Community Engagement, and Healthy Living.Inspiring Young Scientists
    Nebraska 4-H is developing Science interests, skills and abilities in the areas of agriculture, energy, environmental stewardship and technology. Signature program efforts included Outdoor Skills in partnership with Nebraska Game and Parks, GEAR-Tech 21 Robotics, Animals Inside and Out, Embryology, Corral your Future, Animal Science Day Camps, and Companion Animal programs. Programs were delivered to more than 3,700 young people. An additional 3,400 youth were reached through participation in the Nebraska State Fair Largest Classroom.Inspiring College and Career Readiness
    Nebraska 4-H is helping youth focus on their future success and preparing youth to make informed decisions about their college and career path. Signature program efforts included Connecting the Dots, Big Red Summer Academic Camps, Building Your Futures, Leap into Careers and other college readiness programming delivered to more than 3,500 young people.Inspiring Agricultural Literacy.
    Nebraska 4-H ensures that youth have knowledge and an appreciation of Nebraska’s largest industry. Signature program efforts included the Ag-Citing Science school enrichment program delivered to nearly 700 youth and 15 Agricultural Literacy Festivals which reach more than 5,500 young people.

    Inspiring Community Engagement
    Nebraska 4-H is fostering youth’s commitment and contribution to their communities. Signature program efforts included 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, We the People and Focus on Citizenship which reached approximately 250 young people.

    Inspiring Healthier Living
    Nebraska 4-H helps youth understand the impact of personal decisions. Signature program efforts included 4-H Heathy U, the Healthy Living Skill-a-thon and a new 4-H Foods Contest at the Nebraska State Fair. These programs reached approximately 250 young people. Additionally, hands-on activities in the areas of nutrition, physical activity, hand washing, food preservation, food preparation and decision making were delivered to 11,500 youth.

    Inspiring the Next Generation
    Nebraska 4-H is committed to preparing youth to pursue a post-secondary education. Annually, former 4 4-Hers who participated through their high-school career are surveyed regarding their post-secondary plans after their first semester in college. Ninety-six percent of 4-Hers are pursuing post–secondary education. Thirty-two percent are attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Ninety-three percent have identified a major and 64% have reported their selection was influenced by their 4-H project participation. 
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    Halloween Health and Safety

    October 26, 2015Halloween is such a fun time for both children and families!  To have the opportunity to dress up, ‘trick or treat’, and get scrumptious treats is great fun!   Halloween and the activities that usually surround Halloween also present opportunities to keep in mind safety and health tips.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Family Health reminds us to keep these things in mind while enjoying the festivities –
                -When trick or treating in the neighborhood, go with a group that includes friends and family. 
                -Be sure costume is made of flame-retardant materials. 
                -Your costume should fit well and not block your vision or cause you to stumble or fall.
                -Use reflective tape or some other material that reflects lights from passing vehicles.  This helps drivers to see you.
                -Take a flashlight along when you trick or treat.  This will help you see where you are going!
                -At street crossings, look both ways for oncoming vehicles and cross when it is safe to do so.
                -Visit only well-lit houses and those that you know who lives there. 
                -Inspect your treats before eating them.  Check for non-edible objects and materials.  Only accept and eat factory-wrapped treats, not homemade items. More tips can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/.

    Have a fun and safe Halloween this year!
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    CASNR Helps Prospective Students Experience the Power of Red

    September 22, 2015LINCOLN, Neb. — High school and transfer students can learn about the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the Experience the Power of Red Visit Day on October 3.The visit day, held on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus, gives students the chance to hear about the college’s 30 academic programs and two pre-professional programs, said Laura Frey, UNL college relations director. They can also meet current UNL faculty, staff and students. “They get to explore career opportunities and just become familiar with UNL in general,” she said.The visit day will begin at 9 a.m. with refreshments and a browsing session, when students can get a brief introduction to each department in the college. Following a welcome at 10 a.m., students and parents will attend academic sessions that offer more in-depth information about each academic program. The event finishes with lunch and a scholarship drawing at 12:45 p.m.. Optional tours of both UNL campuses start at 2 p.m.Academic interest areas featured at the visit day include agribusiness/agricultural economics; agricultural education/agricultural and environmental sciences communication/hospitality, restaurant and tourism management; agronomy; animal science; applied science; biochemistry; food science and technology; food technology for companion animals; forensic science; grazing livestock systems; horticulture; insect science; mechanized systems management/agricultural engineering/biological systems engineering; microbiology; natural resources, including applied climate science, environmental restoration science, environmental studies, fisheries and wildlife, grassland ecology and management, natural resources and environmental economics and water science; PGA golf management; plant biology; turfgrass and landscape management; veterinary science; and the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program.For more information or to register, visit http://casnr.unl.edu/visitday.  Registrations are due online on September 26.  You may also contact your local Nebraska Extension Office for questions. ______________________________________________

    Youth Adult Partnerships

    June 25, 2015Youth can be active participants in school and community activities, especially if they receive mentoring and encouragement from adults. Youths are a resource that often times go untapped in a community.  Youth who become engaged in their communities now will benefit the future of our communities.  What is a youth-adult partnership?

    A youth-adult partnership is a joint effort–youth and adult working together to achieve common goals. Adults offer the knowledge they have on a topic and the youth are able to give fresh ideas, energy and enthusiasm to carry out the goal. In this process youth gain . . .

    –¢ life skills such as leadership, planning, and teamwork

    –¢ a sense of belonging and being accountable and committed to their community

    –¢ civic awareness, the capacity to care for others, and a desire to change and improve the lives of others

    –¢ a sense of pride and the feeling of being needed and valued

    –¢ new respect and acceptance from adults.In this process adults gain . . .

    –¢ first-hand information about the needs, concerns, and issues that pertain to youths

    –¢ the satisfaction of seeing youths willingly accept the services and messages of the relationship

    –¢ open and honest interactions and feedback about existing programs or services relating to youth

    –¢ access to new collaborators with fresh and innovative ideas, creativity, energy, and enthusiasm

    –¢ new perspectives on decision-making and community problem-solving, as responsibilities are shared with the partnering young person

    –¢ opportunities to foster active community members for the future.In this process communities gain . . .

    –¢ resources and creativity to solve critical problems and provide needed community services

    –¢ mutual understanding and increased trust between youths and adults, leading to strong youth-adult partnerships

    –¢ new alliances among organizations as they work together to support youths

    –¢ fresh perspectives on policy making, as youths gain a voice in governance and philanthropy

    –¢ citizens who are more knowledgeable and invested in youths and the community.Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development, et al. 2003. Youth-Adult Partnerships: A Training Manual. Takoma Park, MD.Chong, J. (2006) Benefits of Youth-Adult Partnerships. (Electronic version) Children and Family, Aug. 2006. Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. University of Hawaii.

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    Easy Ways to Build Assets for an with Your Child

    May 2015

    Family Support is the #1 External Asset of the 4- Developmental Assets of the Search Institute.  Love and support, is sounds easy.  We know we give it.  Every does.  Right?  But giving your child consistent love and support can be tricky.  How often does your child feel supported when you come home from an exhausting day and he or she wants to talk, but you want a break?

    Young people know our body language.  They listen to what we say and don't say.  They notice when our words and our actions do not match.  Supporting and loving our children refers to the many ways we affirm, love and accept them, both verbally and nonverbally.  When we hug them or say "I love you," the expression is obvious.  We also know that paying attention to them, listening to them, and taking an interest in why they are doing are less obvious ways to give support, but they are just as important. 

    The next time you are exhausted, say so.  If you are mad, be honest.  If your do not tell your child what you are feeling, he or she will read one message from your body and hear the opposite. Children usually interpret inconsistent messages as meaning they have done something wrong.  It is helpful to be consistent and be loving.  It is important to develop an openness so that your child always knows that you are available and you will love her or him no matter what. 

    Source:  40 Developmental Assets or Search Institute. www.search-institute.org


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    What is 4-H?

    April 30, 2015
    4-H is a community of young people, ages 5-19, across America who are learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills.  4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults.  4-H is education for life that uses a learning-by-doing approach.

    Lifetime Benefit-Strong roots, promising future
    For over 100 years, youth and adults have been working together-learning, doing, growing, and serving.  4-H prepares young people for higher education and potential careers.  4-H does this by emphasizing life skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, serving others as well as managing change.

    Connection with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    In Nebraska, 4-H is provided through Nebraska Extension, in cooperation with county governing boards, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), and the United States Department of Agriculture.  4-H project resources are developed by University of Nebraska staff using the latest research.

    Customizable Expereince-4-H offers over 150 different projects
    Traditional clubs, camps, school enrichment, and programs/events are all ways youth across Nebraska can be involved with the 4-H program.  Woven throughout each 4-H project area are opportunities for 4-Hers to learn about science, agriculture literacy, career development and college readiness, citizenship and leadership, as well as healthy living.

    4-H is for the family
    4-H is more than an activity for youth; it can be a shared experience for the whole family! Parents, siblings, and relatives can have fun, discover, care, and grow along with their 4-H youth.  Adult volunteers can lead clubs, lend their expertise to particular project areas, and serve on teams with other volunteers.  By making 4-H a family affair, thousands of families enjoy quality time together.

    4-H gives back
    Nebraska youth are becoming leaders who create change right in their own backyard! Nebraska 4-H encourages youth to give back to the communities that have helped them succeed and grow.  Through various community service efforts around the state, 4-H clubs have donated time and hours on community projects.

    For more information on 4-H visit 4h.unl.edu


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    News from Wayne County

    March 26, 2015

    The 2015 Summer Camping Season is approaching quickly! The Nebraska Extension Camping program is thrilled to invite all youth to enjoy summer camp with the Nebraska 4-H Camps and Centers at any of the sites – Gretna, Halsey, and Destination camps.  Camper registration fees paid on or before April 15, 2015, will receive a 10% early bird discount. After April 15, the standard fee will be charged.
    The summer programs offered at our 4-H camping locations provide all youth a place to discover, learn, and grow. Your child does not have to be a member of 4-H to attend. The mission of Nebraska 4-H is promoted at the Nebraska 4-H Camps and Centers.  This mission encourages all young people to reach their full potential, by working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Amidst the beauty of the Nebraska National Forest and prairie, camp staff are able to do what we do best: provide a life-changing summer camp experience for all youth! 4-H is education for life and focuses on helping young people explore the science in their everyday lives, grow leadership and citizenship skills, explore future career opportunities, and make healthier decisions.

    Kids Day Camps introduce youth 5-to 8- years-old to just how much fun 4-H Camp can be! Your camper will begin to learn communication skills, teamwork, and begin building relationships. Exposure to key lifetime skills such as confidence, cooperation, and decision making are features of attending camp. Campers will be encouraged to take healthy risks in a supportive environment by trying new activities and learning new skills that encourage independence. Utilizing outdoor activities and challenges helps stimulate campers' curiosity about science in the environment. Chaperones are encouraged but not required to attend.

    Explorer Camps are for youth ages 8-11. These sessions allow younger campers the chance to explore many 4-H Camp activities and traditions. 4-H Camp increases self-esteem, fosters a love for the outdoors, and aids in the development of social skills needed in the real world through a variety of activities and experiences. Camp creates an atmosphere conducive to expanding interest, appreciation, and knowledge of the natural environment and natural sciences. Campers will have an opportunity to learn about living, working, and playing together, as well as gaining respect for nature. At camp, the foundation to become a leader is established as campers have the opportunity to discover, learn, and grow! Camper will have an opportunity to try out the zip line and work as a team on the T.R.U.S.T. Course. Building lasting relationships, fostering friendships, and positive adult interactions are key elements of camp as each camper leaves with a lifetime of memories.

    Discovery Camps for youth ages 11-15 are designed for your middle school-age campers and are loaded with more advanced adventures! Each session features camp favorites like the waterslide,  campfires, and creek stomping, and provides opportunities for campers to create lasting friendships. Campers will learn to work as part of a team while working through the elements on the T.R.U.S.T.  Course. At camp confidence, responsibility, and healthy conflict resolution provide campers authentic leadership opportunities. Campers discover practical relationships between science and nature, which can be applied to their real world. Activities and trips provide a fun and safe experience for all – one that leaves campers with lasting feelings of accomplishment, pride, and a lifetime of memories!


     The Day That Could Start Your Story!

    September 25, 2014

    What's your story for your future and career?  University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) invite you to their Open House on Saturday, October 18.  This is the day that could "start your story" in CASNR. 

    Are you dreaming of a career in journalism?  Is your goal to go on to professional school such as law, medical, dentistry, physical therapy, or pharmacy?  Do you want to become a crime scene investigator?  Are you creative or like to design – why not turn your talent to landscape design?  Is a career in engineering in your future?  UNL's College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) has programs in all of these areas along with the traditional Animal Science, Agricultural Economics, Mechanized Systems Management, and Agronomy.

    Experience the Power of Red Open House will be held in the East Campus Union in Lincoln from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  This is a great opportunity for student's eighth grade through seniors and their families.  Why should you go?  You'll meet faculty, staff and current CASNR students to get the scoop on what life at UNL is really like.  Explore campus in person and get the true sense of the UNL CASNR experience. 

    The Open House will give youth the opportunity to explore all 30 programs CASNR has to offer you with professional preparations for your career goals.  Why not enroll in a program in CASNR where 48% of the students earn scholarships each year and the Dean guarantees that you will have a job within six months after graduation?  Youth can learn more about CASNR and its programs by planning to attend the Open House with their parents and friends on October 18th.  The pre-register deadline is October 9th.  There is no charge for this event that includes continental breakfast and lunch.   Registration and carpool details are available from the Extension Office or youth may register at: casnr.unl.edu/openhouse.


    News from Wayne County
    August 29, 2014

    Activities to help me grow!

    August 29, 2014

    Author: Rebecca Swartz, Nebraska Extension Specialist

    I want to help my child learn and be ready for school, but sometimes I feel like the day is so busy I can't fit in one more thing! Do you have ideas for activities we can do together that won't take extra time?

    Every day errands and chores are a great time to involve your child and help them learn and grow. Parents and caregivers often think they need to use computer software, videos, or workbooks for "learning" but actually, young children learn from every day experiences and learn best when they are involved in hands on activities. Plus, they love to help and be part of what you are doing. Here are some ideas to help you get started with suggestions for different ages of children.

    1. Talk about what you are doing. It may feel funny at first, especially with a small infant or toddler who cannot talk back to you or ask questions. Try to pretend you are on a cooking or "do it yourself" show while your infant or toddler is watching you or playing by your side. You can describe the actions you are doing while cooking or working in the garden. Describe what you see around you as you are driving in the car or at the grocery store. Your child is learning new words and concepts just by hearing you talk.

    2. Read signs and words around you. Children learn that printed words carry a message from the signs and words that are in their world. Try pointing out the signs of familiar stores, traffic signs, and signs with information. You might be surprised at how quickly your child learns to point out  "S-T-O-P Stop!" Through these experiences, children learn that letters come together to form words and these words carry a message...key things for readers to know!

    3. Laundry time is math time? Even toddlers can sort out all of the socks from a basket of laundry. Preschoolers may be able to match the socks into pairs. Young children can fold simple things like pillow cases, washcloths, and towels. Try giving your child their own little basket and asking
    them to sort or fold a certain type of laundry. They are learning early math skills of classification, shapes, fractions, (learning to fold in halves and quarters) and building their sense of competence as they help you.

    4. Dusting, picking up, and direction following? Try giving your child a damp rag and asking them to dust certain surfaces. Make it a game by giving interesting directions... "Can you dust three things that are green? Can you pick up all of the purple blocks and put them in the basket?" Then encourage your child to look for furniture or the toys that you have described. Being able to follow directions and use clues are both important early learning skills. Children may be motivated when you make a job a game.

    5. Let's watch things grow together!  Your child will enjoy working by your side in the garden. They may enjoy planting seedlings or flowers with you. They can learn important science skills about their natural world when working by your side. A small child sized rake can be fun to use in the fall. Children can help bag leaves, pickup sticks, and dig up weeds in the garden if you show them how to identify plants that are weeds. Work and play side by side with your child and they will be learning every day!


    RECENT EVENTS 

    June 26, 2014

    I would like to let individuals in Wayne County and the surrounding counties affected by the recent weather that we are thinking of you all and are so sorry for any loss that was sustained.  Who would have thought that what we saw in our area last October could reoccur so quickly?  In reading up on a tornado, watching weather reports and listening to weather conditions, it seems that we are becoming more verse in what a tornado actually is and have seen firsthand the devastation. I read that the most violent tornadoes tend to be in the spring, but they can occur any time of the year, and in less than a year we have seen this.  We also know that tornadoes have an impact on children and families.

    A tornado threatens the usual assumptions of safety. The winds and flying debris can disrupt telephone lines and other utilities, breaking down communication. As seen a powerful storm can blow off the roofs, break windows, blow open doors, split trees in two, and destroy entire homes, homesteads, and places of work.

    According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, tornadoes are unusual storms, as their path is often erratic. In the same neighborhood, some houses may be leveled completely while others sustain little damage. While scattered destruction can be easier on the community than that of a flood or a hurricane–in that not all community resources may be used up–the inconsistent pattern of damage can cause feelings of guilt in those spared or unfairness in those recovering. Children may develop unusual ideas or myths about why a tornado did or did not hit their home.

    Children may see anxiety and fear in parents and caregivers who are usually confident. They may lose their homes and cherished pets, memorabilia, and toys. They may see collapsed or damaged buildings–including their schools or familiar community landmarks. They may encounter rubble, debris, or other wreckage, and experience the horror of seeing severely injured people and animals, as well as loss of  life.

    As with other natural disasters, there may be a spectrum of psychological casualties. Individuals with preexisting emotional and behavioral problems may get worse if their support systems fail, they run out of medications, and/or their routine destabilizes. Others may develop chronic emotional and behavioral problems following exposure to pervasive stresses, such as the loss of community infrastructure, home or employment, or family or friends. In addition, emotional and physical exhaustion may affect individuals or families' ability to recover.

    Children and adults frequently experience traumatic reminders, during which they suddenly relive and reexperience the emotions, fears, thoughts, and perceptions, they experienced at the time of the tornado. Typical traumatic reminders include tornado watches and warnings, thunderstorms, dark clouds, high winds, and hail.

    Common emotional reactions of children and family members exposed to a tornado include:
    –¢ Feelings of insecurity, unfairness, anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, despair, and worries about the future
    –¢ Fear that another tornado will occur
    –¢ Believing myths or folklore as to the cause of the tornado
    –¢ Disruptive behaviors, irritability, temper tantrums, agitation, or hyperactivity
    –¢ Clinging/dependent behaviors or avoidant and phobic symptoms
    –¢ Physical symptoms, such as stomachaches, headaches, loss of appetite, nightmares, or sleep problems
    –¢ Increased concerns regarding the safety of family members, friends, and loved ones
    –¢ School-based problems, with decreased motivation and school performance
    Adolescents may differ from younger children in how they respond to a tornado or other natural disaster. Some believe they will not live long and may exhibit:
    –¢ Socially withdrawn, angry, or irritable
    –¢ Risky behavior
    –¢ Conflict with authority

    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension has compiled a webpage of resources that may help individuals and families. This information can be found out   http://extension.unl.edu/disaster-recovery.  So even though I wish that none of the recent weather events would have taken place, I want individuals to know that they can contact their local Nebraska Extension Office for resources that may assist in helping families through difficult times and helping with questions about healthy living and food safety, crops, livestock, and community vitality.  In Nebraska Extension Office in Wayne County can be reached at (402) 375-3310. 

    Information shared in this article come from the National Child Tramatic Stress Network at http://www.nctsn.org/trauma-types/natural-disasters/tornadoes


    Easy Ways to Build Assets for and with Your Child

    May 23, 2014

    Family Support is the #1 External Asset of the 40 Developmental Assets of the Search Institute. Love and support, it sounds easy.  We know we give it.  Everyone does. Right?  But giving your child consistent love and support can be tricky.  How often does your child feel supported when you come home from an exhausting day and he or she wants to talk-but you want a break?
    When your child messes up, do you provide support? 

    Young people know our body language.  They listen to what we say and don't say.  They notice when our words and our actions do not match.  Supporting and loving our children refer to the many ways we affirm, love, and accept them, both verbally and nonverbally.  When we hug them or say "I love you,"  the expression is obvious.  Paying attention to them, listening to them, and taking an interest in what they're doing are less obvious ways of giving support, but they're just as important. 

                The next time you are exhausted, say so.  If you are mad, be honest.  If you do not tell your child what you are feeling, he or she will read one message form your body and hear the opposite.  And children usually interpret inconsistent messages as meaning they have done something wrong.

                Be consistent.  Be loving.  Develop an openness so that your child always knows that you are available and you will love  her or him, not matter what. 

    Source: 40 Developmental Assets of Search Institute.  www.search-institute.org

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    News from Wayne County

    April 24, 2014

    Have you thought about a camping experience for your child this summer? The 4-H Camping experience can happen at two different 4-H camping locations in Nebraska.  The goal of Nebraska 4-H Camp is to allow youth a place to discover, learn, and grow.  Youth do not have to be a member of 4-H to attend a Nebraska 4-H Camp.  At Nebraska 4-H Camps and Centers, they believe strongly in promoting the mission of Nebraska 4-H, which encourages all young people to reach their full potential, by working and learning in partnership with caring adults.

    The Nebraska 4-H Camps are located in the beauty of the Nebraska National Forest (Halsey) and Schramm State Park (Grenta).  The Nebraska 4-H Camping staff is able to do what they do best:  provide a life-changing summer experience for all youth!  4-H is education for life and focuses on helping young people explore thee science in the everyday lives, grow leadership and citizenship skills, explore future career opportunities, and make healthier decisions. 

    The Nebraska 4-H Camps are American Camp Association (ACA) accredited, meaning that they care enough to undergo a thorough review of over 300 standards related to operations, staffing, and emergency management.  Nebraska Camp staff recruit an experienced and caring staff that receive training in First–aid and CPR training, water safety, camping skills, and positive youth development training.  No matter which 4-H Camp your child goes to, camp is a great place to meet new friends, try something for the first time, and build cherished memories. 

    To register online:  go to 4h.unl.edu/camp. If you are interested in picking up a registration to mail in, you can stop by any local extension office to pick one up.  There are numerous camps offered with various focuses throughout the summer, you will find one that is write for your child.

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    Inspiring Young Nebraskans to Reach Their Full Potential

    March 26, 2014

    The mission of Nebraska 4-H is to empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnerships with caring adults.  Nebraska 4-H works to introduce high-quality youth development experiences into the lives of Nebraska youth and families.  Engagement in 4-H results in youth who are making positive decisions related to their health and future goals according to the 2013 Nebraska 4-H Impact Report.   
          

    By taking part in the Nebraska 4-H Revolution, youth are preparing for a successful future by focusing on 4-H Science, Agricultural Literacy, Career Development and College Readiness, Citizenship and Leadership, and Healthy Living.  4-Hers in Northeast Nebraska have shared their thoughts of 4-H in their 4-H Stories, here are some of their thoughts.

    "I think 4-H is important because it gives you many opportunities and opens even more doors." Kiara

    "4-H has been such a wonderful and beneficial experience for me.  It has made me more confident about myself and about the things that I do.  There is not one skill that I have learned in 4-H that I will not use many times in the future."  Sylvia

    "4-H has taught me to step up to the plate and take more of a leading role in my club and community.  Working with a team made me better at taking other people's thoughts into consideration." Luke

    "4-H continues to help me grow as a person every year. It may even help me decide what I should do in the future." Hannah

    "4-H has helped me to be a better citizen by giving me the opportunity to do things that I never would have if I was not a member.  I have learned that it makes me feel good to help other people."  Megan

    "4-H continues to help me become a better leader and citizen just through the different projects I have participated in as a group." Josie

    "Throughout our multiple community service projects I have learned the importance of helping others in need and being a good citizen." Brennen

    "My club kept me very involved and I like to spend time with other 4-Hers in our county."  Anna

    "I would like to say that 4-H continues to help me develop personally as well as help me to become a better citizen and leader.  It has given me the opportunity to learn about many different things."  Shanda

    "4-H has helped me learn that if I want to be successful, I need to get things done as soon as possible instead of waiting until the last minute and making a mad dash to get everything done.  This lesson will help me in school, especially when I get to college."  Devin

    "4-H has helped me to make new friends, learn more about certain aspects of the world, and has continually taught me about responsibility and respect" Grace

    February is Nebraska 4-H month and Nebraska is proud of the 140,000 youth that are enrolled in 4-H.  They are also thankful for the nearly 15,000 volunteers who share their time and resources.  Nebraska 4-H is part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, which in 2014 marks the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 which officially created the national Cooperative Extension System. Nebraska 4-H is the youth component of  Nebraska Extension. You can learn more about Nebraska 4-H at http://4h.unl.edu.

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    4-H Clover Kids

    January 28, 2014

    Clover Kids is a 4-H program for children ages 5 to 7- years old. Children participate in hand-on activities designed to build different life skills.

    Clover Kid Guidelines in Nebraska include:
    1. Nebraska youth ages 5 – 7 years (by January 1 of the current year) may enroll in the Clover Kids Program. In other words, children turning 6, 7 or 8 during the calendar year are eligible for Clover Kids.
    2. It is not the intent of the Nebraska Clover Kids program to duplicate the 8 -to 19-year
    -old 4-H program, nor to create a "mini 4-H" concept. The Clover Kids program is designed with specific philosophies and educational objectives focused on youth ages 5 – 7.
    3. Youth enrolled in this program will be counted separately as Clover Kids members. They will receive a completion certificate for each year of participation in the program.
    4.  Nebraska 4 - H recommends the use of appropriate and recommended
    Clover Kids activities. The activities utilize age - appropriate, cooperative - based methods. They provide opportunities for learning through activities, emphasizing success for every child. Competition is inappropriate for this age level.

    Clover Kid Philosophy
    The purpose of the Nebraska 4 - H program is to promote the positive   development of youth to become competent, caring, contributing citizens.
    The Clover Kids program:
    –¢ is activity- based, creating a broad-based, fun approach to learning.
    –¢ emphasizes immediate positive feedback to the child involved in the activity.
    –¢ values cooperative, non-competitive learning as an effective educational strategy.
    –¢ is flexible, open and accessible to all youth through a variety of delivery methods.
    –¢ views youth in the context of family and community.
    –¢ values ongoing relationships between participants, caring adults and older youth.
    –¢ is based on research in the area of youth development, educational theory and relevant subject matter.

    The most important like skills for the 5- to 7-year-old age group are:
    –¢ Respecting Self
    –¢ Communicating
    –¢ Solving Problems
    –¢ Thinking Critically
    –¢ Choosing Healthy Lifestyles

    The first meeting for Clover Kids in Wayne County is February 1, 9:00-10:15 a.m. at the Wayne County Courthouse. Youth ages 5-7 by January 1, 2014 are eligible. They will learn about 4-H and participate in activities exploring color and begin to construct a color wheel they can take home and add items to. This will be an exhibit that they can bring to the fair in July. Cost is $4.00 which includes a $2 insurance fee to enroll in 4-H and $2 for the activity. 
    A Clover Kid 4-H Enrollment form will need to be filled out and signed by a parent/guardian. Enrollment forms are available online at wayne.unl.edu and at the Extension Office. They will also be available at the meeting. Please contact the Extension Office by 5 p.m., Tuesday, January 28 to register so we have enough supplies.

    The next meeting will be on March 8 and they will be making No Sew Pillows.  The Wayne County 4-H Teen Supremes will be assisting with the 4-H Clover Kid Program. If you are interested in 4-H Clover Kids, please contact the Nebraska Extension office at 402-375-3310.