In February, nearly 500 youth from across Minnesota gathered to participate in the annual 4-H Building Leadership and Understanding (BLU) youth leadership workshops. Four regional BLU leadership events were held across the state, a fifth was planned, but was unable to be held due to winter weather.
This year’s conference theme was, “Map it Out with 4-H,” which taught participants about learning styles and communication skills, and challenged them to apply these skills to their daily lives. The youth engaged in small group discussions, educational workshops, and large group activities to meet other youth from throughout the region.
“We want our youth to understand how they learn so they can use that understanding to explore areas of interest and find their passion. At the BLU workshops, we give them an opportunity to apply their learning through hands-on activities that immerse youth with a leadership practice,” said Jacquie Lonning, Extension Youth Development Citizenship & Leadership state program director.
Using a youth-teaching-youth model, the 4-H BLU leadership workshops are developed and led by 4-H State Ambassadors, Minnesota 4-H youth who have been selected to serve as spokespeople for 4-H, and to educate youth and adults about the importance of youth development, leadership, citizenship, service, teamwork, and other invaluable life skills. 4-H staff, volunteers, and other youth from the area also plan components of the BLU to bring in a regional perspective to the statewide focus.
The Northwest Region BLU was held at the Castaway Club near Detroit Lakes. West Otter Tail County 4-H was well-represented by 3 4-H State Ambassadors, Lizzie Bergem, Fergus 4-H Club; Dan Ukkelberg, Eagle Lake 4-H Club, and Emily Cole, Eagle Lake 4-H Club. We also enjoyed the largest county attendance with 29 youth.
To learn more about 4-H in West Otter Tail County, contact 4-H Program Coordinator Tammy Nordick, at 218-998-8760 and visit the websites, www.4-H.umn.edu and www.co.ottertail.mn.us/extension.
About Extension 4-H: 4-H is a youth development program of the University of Minnesota Extension. Available for youth grades k-1 year after high school, 4-H’ers participate in hands-on learning experiences in STEM, citizenship & leadership, animal science, creative arts and much more. Through this unique learn-by-doing process, youth obtain essential life skills such as problem solving, decision making, coping and communicating that help them succeed in their school, college, community and career. Research shows that youth who participate in 4-H have better grades and are more emotionally engaged with school, are more than twice as likely to be civically active and contribute to their communities, and are 47% less likely to have risky or problem behaviors.