Fifteen youth selected as delegates for National 4-H Congress

Fifteen delegates and five alternates have been selected to represent Nebraska at the 2022 National 4-H Congress. The delegates, who are receiving partial scholarships to attend National 4-H Congress, include:

  • Jacie Wolfinger, Dawson County
  • Matthew Bruns, Lincoln County
  • Jaelin Wolfinger, Dawson County
  • Carter Behnken, Washington County
  • Lexi Johnson, Dawson County
  • Paige Bunn, Dodge County
  • Alexia Dick, Thayer County
  • Ashley Abrahams, Dodge County
  • Kylie Hansen, Lancaster County
  • Madison Enstrom, Burt County
  • Addison Luther, Dawson County
  • Chelsea Potts, Cedar County
  • Elizabeth Blume, Red Willow County
  • Clare Bauman, Lancaster County

The alternates, who may attend National 4-H Congress at their own expense, include:

  • Madison Hirshman, Howard County
  • Adriana Hernandez, Washington County
  • Aubree Siffring, Butler County
  • Casey Wahlgren, Dawson County
  • Jaden Russell, Adams County

National 4-H Congress is the premier leadership event for 4-H members ages 15 to 19. The event brings together youth from across the country and provides educational and cross-cultural experiences. The goal is to inspire youth to take on leadership roles and make meaningful impacts within their communities. The event is held each fall in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about National 4-H Congress, please visit 4h.unl.edu/congress

4-H volunteers receive state-level awards

Twenty-two adult volunteers, one 4-H member, and a family of volunteers are being recognized with Nebraska 4-H Volunteer Awards.

The Kristy and Dave Hattan Family from Lancaster County is receiving the Multi-Generation Family of Volunteers Award.  Additional family members include:

  • Jill Hattan
  • Tyler Hattan
  • Tammy Wollen
  • Brandy Brock

This award recognizes a family with at least three generations of active 4-H volunteers.

Marlie Mundt, 4-H member in Lancaster County is receiving the Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award. This award recognizes a 4-H member, ages 14-18, who has made a meaningful impact on their local 4-H community.

Eleven individuals are receiving Emerging Adult Volunteer Awards. These awards recognize current volunteers who have served less than three years in their local 4-H community. One individual is recognized for each Nebraska Extension Engagement Zone. Recipients include:

  • Wendy Scheenan, Sheridan County 
  • Krista Thoene, Garfield County
  • Matt Weideman, Lincoln County
  • Mary Ann Whitebear, Phelps County
  • Mercedes Barg, Madison County
  • Joy Harris, Nance County
  • Cathy Hill-Klein, Platte County
  • Hunter Purcell, Dodge County
  • Sadie Hammond, Lancaster County
  • Lisa Paul, Jefferson County
  • Natasha Vavra, Cass County

Eleven individuals are receiving Outstanding Adult Volunteer Awards. These awards recognize current volunteers who have served more than four years in their local 4-H community. One individual is recognized for each Nebraska Extension Engagement Zone. Recipients include:

  • Bill Riggs, Dawes County
  • Jolene Dunbar, Loup County
  • Dean Batie, Buffalo County
  • Jo Teter, Red Willow County
  • Doug McKibbon, Madison County
  • Kathy Gorecki, Howard County
  • Brigen Kinnison, Platte County
  • Kim Jackson, Burt County
  • Kath Conroy, Lancaster County
  • Michael Scholz, Saline County
  • Kim Cawley, Cass County

The Nebraska 4-H Volunteer Awards honor individuals who are making meaningful and lasting contributions to their local 4-H communities. 

"All across the state, Nebraska 4-H volunteers do incredible work to provide opportunities for our youth," says Jill Goedeken, 4-H Professional Development and Volunteer Extension Educator. "These volunteers generously give their time, energy, and creativity to help develop the next generation of leaders, and we are thrilled to be able to recognize their contributions." 

Recipients will be celebrated during a recognition ceremony at the 2022 Nebraska State Fair.

For more information about Nebraska 4-H Volunteer Awards, please visit 4h.unl.edu/volunteer-recognition

Walbrecht earns Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award for providing a sense of belonging in the show ring

Allison Walbrecht, Lancaster County 4-H member, has been recognized with a Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award for giving youth with disabilities the opportunity to show livestock at the county fair.

“Allison’s willingness to ensure that all youth have this opportunity showcases her willingness to give back to youth, the 4-H Program, and the future of Nebraska,” said Dr. Kathleen Lodl, Nebraska State 4-H Program Administrator. “Allison truly is an amazing role model.”

Having grown up on a beef cattle operation, Allison observed a gap between agriculture and people with disabilities. She started the Unified Showing program to bridge this gap. The program provides youth with disabilities the opportunity to show a lamb at the county fair. Showmen are paired with a "buddy" who helps them practice and prepare for the showing throughout the summer. 

"Having Claire be part of something again was unbelievable. She loved everything about it!" shared Annie Bruns, parent of a Unified Showing youth member.

“Allison is making a positive difference,” said Tracy Anderson, Lancaster County 4-H Extension Educator. “She is giving young people with disabilities and their buddy a sense of belonging as they learn about and show livestock as members of her Unified Showing 4-H Club.”

Following success in Lancaster County, a new Unified Showing 4-H Club has already been established in Otoe County. Allison hopes to one day expand the program to the Nebraska State Fair.

"Unified Showing's future is very bright," said Allison. "I am excited to continue Unified Showing in the upcoming years."

The Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award celebrates the spirit of service-learning. The program recognizes youth who have made significant and lasting impacts in their community. 4-H members create, coordinate, and implement a service-learning project of lasting impact and significant size or scope.

“Nebraska 4-H Gives Back is an awesome opportunity to celebrate the spirit of service-learning, a pillar of the 4-H experience. We invite youth to submit project proposals that showcase the application of their time and talents in service to their community,” shared Dr. Jill Lingard, Nebraska 4-H Gives Back program coordinator.

For more information about the Nebraska 4-H Gives back Awards program, please visit 4h.unl.edu/ne4h-gives-back.

Nebraska 4-H'ers attend 89th National 4-H Conference

Five 4-H members from across the state represented Nebraska at the 89th National 4-H Conference, held March 19-24 in the Washington, D.C. area. Nebraska delegates included:

  • Helen Keiser, Dawson County
  • Abigail Owens, Dawson County
  • Parker Walahoski, Dawson County
  • Spencer Walahoski, Dawson County
  • Paige Wood, Nance County

Held annually, the National 4-H Conference serves to develop the next generation of leaders. The conference provides an opportunity to engage 4-H youth in personal development experiences that will increase knowledge, resources, and skills. The program aims to empower and mobilize 4-H youth to create positive social change in their communities in a meaningful and genuine way. National 4-H Conference provides the opportunity for young people to connect, learn, engage, lead, and impact their communities, their nation, and their world.

Alongside youth delegates from across the nation, Nebraska delegates attended training workshops, became acquainted with the government, and met with state leaders. Highlights from the conference included meeting the Director of USDA's National Institute of Food & Agriculture, Dr. Carrie Castillo and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. 

Delegates were accompanied by Tracy Anderson, Lancaster County 4-H Extension Educator, and Brett Kreifels, Douglas-Sarpy County 4-H Extension Educator.

National 4-H Conference is the premier civic engagement event for 4-H members between the ages of 15 and 19. Nebraska delegates are selected each year through state-level Senior Achievement Applications and a thorough interview process. Delegates also receive funding for trip expenses through the Nebraska 4-H Foundation. For more information about National 4-H Conference, please visit 4h.unl.edu/conference.

Sump earns Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award for lake clean-up project

John Sump, Lancaster County 4-H member, has been recognized with a Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award for coordinating clean-up efforts at eight local NRD lakes. 

"John not only gave of his personal time and resources but also helped others see the importance of being a good steward of the land," said Dr. Kathleen Lodl, Nebraska State 4-H Program Administrator.

During the pandemic, John noticed an increased use of local NRD lakes. He also observed a corresponding increase in trash and litter around the recreation areas. With support from representatives at the Lower Platte South NRD and Nebraska Game and Parks SE District Fisheries, John coordinated trash pickups at all eight NRD lakes in Lancaster County. He recruited help from Catfish Crazy Nebraska, Nebraska Kayak Club, Boy Scouts Troop 22, family, and friends.

"I learned how to lead a big event, which involved the organization of several volunteers and the collection of donations," said John. 

While coordinating the lake clean-ups, John discovered that most local NRD lakes did not have fishing line recycling receptacles. After securing donations from local sponsors, John made and installed sixteen fishing line recycling tubes, two at each location. Follow-up visits revealed that the recycling tubes were being used at almost every location. 

“Through his homemade recycling tubes and lake clean-up at all lakes, he is helping provide a better space for all,” said Tracy Anderson, Lancaster County 4-H Extension Educator.

The Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Award celebrates the spirit of service learning. The program recognizes youth who have made significant and lasting impacts in their community. 4-H members create, coordinate, and implement a service-learning project of lasting impact and significant size or scope.

“We invite youth to submit project proposals that showcase the application of their time and talents in service to their community,” says Dr. Jill Lingard, Nebraska 4-H Gives Back program coordinator.

For more information about the Nebraska 4-H Gives Back Awards program, please visit 4h.unl.edu/ne4h-gives-back.

+YD Intern Spotlight - Alyssa Neff

Hometown: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Major: Textile Science

Expected Graduation: 2025

Why did you decide to join the +YD intern program?

As a third generation, Pennsylvania 4-H'er I had the opportunity to do many projects such as Poultry, Rabbits, fiber arts projects, sewing, gardening, woodworking, exchange club, and many other projects. I also had the priveledge of serving as a Pennsylvania 4-H State officer as well. 4-H blessed me with ten amazing years that planted me as a leader and prepared me for my future. I wanted to give back and help out with this program in any way I can, so naturally I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to apply and be a YD intern.

What is your favorite thing about the +YD internship?

I love being able to work on projects and work with my fellow interns. Collaborating and creating even better ideas that 4-H'ers are going to love is fun to see.

What are your plans post-graduation?

My plan after graduation is to hopefully work for a company creating and testing fabrics. Even more specifically, I would love to work developing more sustainable fabrics. I could also see myself potentially starting my own fabric line as well.

What's life like outside work and school?

Outside of work and school, I am probably back in Pennsylvania working in the garden, four wheeling, helping with the animals volunteering, volunteering with my County's fair or 4-H program, hiking, weaving, or hanging with friends and family. I especially love being outside with my two sisters and hunting with my dad. My sisters and I have grown in 4-H together which has made us especially close.


The +YD (Positive Youth Development) Interns develop and deliver educational programs for youth across the state in both in-person and online settings. +YD Interns are guided by Nebraska 4-H Youth Development professionals and participate in training and professional development to ensure a quality educational experience for youth participants. Educational programs delivered by interns focus upon topics related to STEM, leadership, career development, and entrepreneurship.

+YD Intern Spotlight - William Wilton

Hometown: Gresham, Nebraska

Major: Secondary Family and Consumer Sciences Education-Minors in Leadership and Communication, International Studies, Textiles, Merchandizing, and Fashion Design (TMFD)

Expected Graduation: May 2023

Why did you decide to join the +YD intern program?

I have been an active 4-H member since my clover kid days and I have had a lot of opportunities to work with youth in different counties across the state through internships in counties. I enjoy seeing students grow and thrive through different programming and opportunities that they get through 4-H.

What is your favorite thing about the +YD internship?

My favorite thing about my +YD is getting to be involved with different experiences where I can meet and directly engage with youth, whether in virtual STEM Mentoring or at events like FIRST Lego Robotics Competitions.

What are your plans post-graduation?

My plans after graduation are to get into the classroom and teach students the life skills that they need through my FCS classroom.

What's life like outside work and school?

I'm trying to make the most of my college experience so most of my time outside of work and school, I spend hanging out around campus or exploring the city of Lincoln!


The +YD (Positive Youth Development) Interns develop and deliver educational programs for youth across the state in both in-person and online settings. +YD Interns are guided by Nebraska 4-H Youth Development professionals and participate in training and professional development to ensure a quality educational experience for youth participants. Educational programs delivered by interns focus upon topics related to STEM, leadership, career development, and entrepreneurship.

+YD Intern Spotlight - Hailey Olberding

Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska

Major: Biochemistry

Expected Graduation: May 2025

Why did you decide to join the +YD intern program?

I am very passionate about working with children and STEM, so I thought it would be a cool way to combine those two passions. I also have participated in a variety of mentorship opportunities and have enjoyed them, so this opportunity really caught my eye for that reason as well.

What is your favorite thing about the +YD internship?

I love being able to participate in a wide variety of projects around the office and getting to interact with a wide variety of people who are involved in different things. I also have loved being able to apply my creative thinking skills to develop different ideas.

What are your plans post-graduation?

I plan to go to medical school in hopes of becoming a pediatric gastroenterologist.

What's life like outside work and school?

I love doing yoga and being outside as much as possible. I also am in Gamma Phi Beta, a sorority on campus along with NHRI. I am a volunteer for LAUNCH leadership as well, which has been a large part of my life for a long time.


The +YD (Positive Youth Development) Interns develop and deliver educational programs for youth across the state in both in-person and online settings. +YD Interns are guided by Nebraska 4-H Youth Development professionals and participate in training and professional development to ensure a quality educational experience for youth participants. Educational programs delivered by interns focus upon topics related to STEM, leadership, career development, and entrepreneurship.

Governor's Ag Excellence Awards applications are due April 1

The Nebraska 4-H Foundation is accepting applications for 2022 Governor's Agriculture Excellence Awards through April 1. This program recognizes 4-H Clubs with $500 grants. This grant is intended to provide funding for projects that will have a lasting impact on communities. Projects should be intentional and impactful, growing club members as leaders and fulfilling a need in their community. 

Examples of fundable programs include mentorship programs, intergenerational programs, attending educational experiences, hosting workshops/educational events, and service-learning opportunities. Priority consideration will be given to clubs that integrate community engagement and educational components into their projects while furthering the mission of Nebraska 4-H to empower youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults.

Nebraska 4-H Month celebrations take place throughout February

Nebraska 4-H Month, held each February, is an opportunity to celebrate 4-H and all the ways young people can 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. 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 their local county fair and the Nebraska State Fair, as well as participate in other contests and events. 

This year, Nebraska 4-H is giving away a free summer camp session including a welcome package and a $50 transportation or camp store credit! Follow @nebraskastate4hcamp on Instagram for details and to enter the drawing by February 15. Youth do not need to be 4-H members to enter the drawing or attend any of our 4-H summer camps.

Nebraska 4-H Month celebrations will take place throughout the month:

  • 4-H Spirit Day - Wednesday, February 2, 2022
  • 4-H Volunteer Appreciation Day - Wednesday, February 9, 2022
    • Send handwritten thank-you notes or make and deliver 4-H-themed treats or goody bags to your club and projects leaders.
    • Shout out your club and project leaders on social media using #NE4HMonth.
    • Nominate your favorite 4-H volunteer for a Nebraska 4-H Volunteer Recognition Award.
  • 4-H Weekend of Service - February 12-13, 2022
    • Coordinate your own community service project, such as picking up trash, holding a food drive, collecting items for a local shelter, or making care packages. For more inspiration, check out these 4-H civic engagement ideas. After the project is complete, be sure to submit your community service project for a chance to see it showcased by Nebraska 4-H.  
    • Contribute to other groups' community service projects.
    • Volunteer your time with a local non-profit organization.
  • 4-H Sponsor & Donor Appreciation Day - Wednesday, February 16, 2022
    • Ask your local Extension office for the contact information for a 4-H donor and sponsor. Send them a hand-written thank-you note.
  • 4-H Professional Appreciation Day - Wednesday, February 23, 2022
    • Send hand-written thank-you notes or make and deliver 4-H-themed treats or goody bags to your local Extension office.
    • Shout out your local 4-H educators, assistants, and staff on social media using #NE4HMonth.

Many local celebrations and events will also be hosted throughout the month of February. Contact your local Extension office for more information about local celebrations.