West Otter Tail County 4-H’ers learn to lead at 4-H BLU

More than 450 youth learn leadership skills at 2015 4-H Building Leadership & Understanding conferences

MOORHEAD (March 23, 2015) – In February and March, more than 450 youth from across Minnesota, 18 of them from West Otter Tail County, gathered to participate in the annual 4-H Building Leadership and Understanding (BLU) youth leadership conferences. The five regional two-day BLU leadership events were filled with exciting and fun activities that help youth learn and practice valuable leadership skills that they will be able to take back with them to their counties and communities, and use throughout their lives.

This year’s conference theme was, “The Diamond Within,” which was selected by the 4-H ambassadors because they believe one of the most important things youth can do is to learn about themselves.  Fun and engaging activities guided participants in exploring self-awareness, learning about their personalities, how this insight can help youth work with others more effectively, and healthy ways to deal with the stresses they face in their daily lives. There was also plenty of time dedicated to meeting new friends and having fun, with skits, singing, dancing and games designed and facilitated by the ambassadors to help youth participants get to know one another and have a good time.

Using a youth-teaching-youth model, the 4-H BLU leadership conferences 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.

“One of 4-H’s priorities is to provide citizenship and leadership experiences that guide youth in building relationships, developing communication techniques, and strengthening organizational skills,” said Jacquie Lonning, Extension 4-H Citizenship & Leadership state program director. “Through these experiences, youth have the opportunity to learn about themselves, and learn about others, to make a positive impact in their club, home, school, or community.

To learn more about 4-H in Otter Tail County, contact 4-H Program Coordinator Tammy Nordick, at 218-998-8760 and visit the website, www.4-H.umn.edu or 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.

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