Calling all 4-H members! You're invited to submit your favorite project to see it featured on the 4-H Video Wall at the 2021 Nebraska State Fair!
The 2021 4-H Project Showcase is a fun opportunity to showcase your favorite project, a project you're particularly proud of, or a project you've learned a lot from. Absolutely any 4-H project is eligible regardless of the awards it received through judging or the ability to have it judged at the county level. Be sure to submit your project by August 10 to see it featured at this year's State Fair! Though, projects may still be submitted after August 10th for a chance to be showcased by Nebraska 4-H on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Youth from across Nebraska converged in Grand Island on June 10-14th to compete in the 2021 Fonner Park State 4-H Horse Expo. The event is the pinnacle showing experience for members of the 4-H horse program, and many were excited for this year's face-to-face experience following a virtual show in 2020. The show included a multitude of classes for youth and their horses. Some classes, such as halter and showmanship, were open to all youth regardless of district-level competition. However, other classes required youth to qualify at one of five district-level shows. Districts were held in June in various locations across the state. Results from the 2021 Fonner Park State 4-H Horse Expo are now available in the 4-H Now mobile app or on the event website.
Congratulations to the 2021 Nebraska 4-H Foundation scholarship recipients! The Nebraska 4-H Foundation offers 4-H members the opportunity to apply for scholarships and awards up to $22,000 worth of scholarships each year to 4-H members from across the state.
- Fletcher Larsen, Cherry County
- Abby Scholz, Phelps County
- Allison Rippe, Red Willow County
- Madelyn Kreifels, Lancaster County
- Logan Hicks, Nemaha County
- Emily Loseke, Colfax County
- Galayna Erickson, Hitchcock County
- Jacob Wells, Howard County
- Cooper Koch, York County
- Kristen Herrick, Franklin County
- Sheridan Wilson, Arthur County
- Jessica Wilkinson, Scotts Bluff County
- Blake Bruns, Lincoln County
- Gracie Schneider, Dawson County
- Logan Cast, Seward County
- Kaleb Hasenkamp, Cuming County
- Gracie Philpot, Buffalo County
- Kacee Dvorak, Custer County
- Kaylee Davis, Grant County
- Sarah Treffer, Dawson County
- Wyatt Siwinski, Merrick County
Congratulations to the 4-H Clubs recognized with 2021 Governor's Ag Excellence Awards. Sponsored by the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, the purpose of the Nebraska 4-H Foundation's Governor's Ag Excellence Awards is to recognize 4-H Clubs for the work of the individuals in the club and the community service work of the entire club.
- 4 Star Hamilton Hero's, Hamilton County
- Always Busy Clovers, Butler County
- Badger Buddies, Washington County
- Better Ba-C's, Otoe County
- Blazing Saddles, Otoe County
- Blue Hill Better Herds, Webster County
- Dakota County 4-H Council, Dakota County
- Farnam Clovers 4-H, Frontier County
- Five Start 4-H, Lancaster County
- Fusion 4-H'ers, Lancaster County
- Happy Helpers, Frontier County
- Joe's Clover Knights, Lancaster County
- Lancaster County 4-H Teen Council, Lancaster County
- Nance County Robotics, Nance County
- NEquestrian, Lancaster County
- Pathfinders, Gage County
- Sandhills Critters, Custer County
- Sheridan County Junior Leaders, Sheridan County
- Southern Lancaster Kids, Lancaster County
- Spring Creek Boots and Buckles, Thayer County
- Sterling 4-H Club, Johnson County
- Unified Showing, Lancaster County
- Unified Showing, Otoe County
- Westside Hustlers, Saunders County
Congratulations to all 160 Nebraska 4-H members who participated in the 2021 State 4-H Public Speaking Contests. The event was held on July 30 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Youth participating in the contests presented their speeches or public service announcements that were selected at county-level contests. All state-level participants were awarded ribbons, and top winners for each contest and age division were also recognized.
Senior Division Speech Winners:
- Paige Bunn, Dodge County
- Sydney Hutchinson, Cuming County
- Breanna Bosshamer, Buffalo County
- Acacia Carlson, Lancaster County
- Rachel Brhel, Clay County
- Grace Soucie, Franklin County
- Grace Brennemann, Frontier County
- Valerie Bennie, Otoe County
Senior Division PSA Winners:
- Reece Snodgrass, Cumming County
- Campbell Snodgrass, Cumming County
- John Roscoe, Burt County
- Miya Carey, Holt County
- Chelsea Potts, Cedar County
- Ashley Bauer, Buffalo County
Intermediate Division Speech Winners:
- Melanie Wiggins, Lancaster County
- Carson Reiman, Dawson County
- Devon Rasmussen, Gage County
- Luke Sylliaseen, Saunders County
- Mollie Lambert, Cass County
- Greta Rickertsen, Dawson County
- Micah Gerlach, Furnas County
- Kara Brockman, Gosper County
Intermediate Division PSA Winners:
- Melanie Wiggins, Lancaster County
- Hope Roscoe, Burt County
- Harley Hedrick, York County
- Jaden Hunke, Dawson County
- Joshua Snodgrass, Cuming County
- Marshall Bratetic, Knox County
Nebraska 4-H has selected 12 individuals, as well as one multigenerational family, as recipients of a new statewide awards program that honors outstanding contributions of 4-H volunteers.
The Nebraska 4-H Volunteer Recognition Awards program was developed in 2021 to honor adult and youth volunteers, as well as multi-generational families, who have provided meaningful contributions to Nebraska 4-H. One Outstanding Adult Volunteer Award winner was chosen for each of the state’s 11 Nebraska Extension Engagement zones. One statewide winner was selected in each of the youth volunteer and multi-generational family categories.
“All across the state, Nebraska 4-H volunteers do incredible work to provide opportunities for our youth,” said Jill Goedeken, 4-H Youth Development 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.”
Nebraska 4-H will recognize these outstanding youth and adult volunteers during the Week of the Volunteer on April 23rd virtually and through statewide media outlets. An in-person recognition ceremony will take place at the 2021 Nebraska State Fair. Inaugural award winners are:
Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award
Brandon Mellick, Dixon County
Brandon Mellick has taken several leadership roles in Dixon County over the past years. He was actively involved in the Ag Innovator program, teaching youth audiences about agriculture topics to more than 250 youth. He served as a 4-H Ambassador in Dixon County for two years. He was a member of the Dixon County 4-H First LEGO League team and assisted with promotional events to educate and recruit new members with robotics. In addition, he was also a member of the Dixon County 4-H Teen Leaders program. He is an example of an active 4-H member in the Nebraska 4-H program.
Multi-Generational Family Volunteer Award
Ron and Barb Suing family, Lancaster County
Ron and Barb Suing have been involved in nearly every aspect of 4-H in Lancaster County since Ron was in 4-H himself in the 1950s. Over the years, various family members have worked as superintendents, judges, behind-the-scenes volunteers and mentors to hundreds of youth. First generation: Ron and Barb Suing; second generation: Marlo Yakel and Nikki Casburn; third generation: Marlo’s children, Kylee Schirmer, Taylor Yakel and Ryan Yakel; and Nikki’s children: Andrew Casburn, Daniel Casburn and Thomas Casburn.
Outstanding Adult Volunteer Awards
Zone 1: Carrie Child, Sheridan County
Carrie Child has served in almost every volunteer role possible. Over the years she has served as a board member, workshop volunteer, after-school teacher, club leader, fair event superintendent, and robotics coach. Through her continued support, the Sheridan County program has become stronger and more diverse, and she has had a positive impact on almost every aspect of Sheridan County 4-H.
Zone 2: Kathaleen Mead, Garfield County
Throughout her long career as a 4-H volunteer, Kathaleen has held many roles, beginning as an organizational leader when her own children, Paige and Kay, joined Garfield County 4-H. Eventually, she would also serve as project leader, state fair judge and financial supporter. She has been especially involved in the Garfield-Loup-Wheeler 4-H quilting program, which offers programming every week from the end of school until the start of county fair and has impacted generations of 4-H youth.
Zone 3: Sharla Willard, Lincoln County
Sharla Willard has been instrumental in many aspects of Lincoln County 4-H, including leading project areas, serving on the 4-H council and serving as a fair superintendent. When COVID-19 changed fair protocols in 2020, she helped with the check-in and placement of static exhibit items and worked to ensure that proper protocol was followed for the 4-H dog show. This past spring, she was an integral part of making the Lincoln County 4-H Council Garage Sale Fundraiser a success.
Zone 4: Kevin Oberg, Hitchcock County
Kevin Oberg has been instrumental in keeping a successful 4-H shooting sports program in Hitchcock and Hayes County for the last 17 years. He began as a 4-H shooting sports leader in the archery and today helps with all shooting sport disciplines. For the past several years, Kevin has led the Hitchcock and Hayes team of shooting sports leaders in preparing for practices and contests, caring for shooting sports equipment, gathering donations for the program, and making sure the youth have a safe and fun experience.
Zone 5: Kim Spence, Stanton County
Kim Spence is a positive force in Stanton County 4-H. She has served as 4-H council member and president; county extension board member; program leader and much more. She serves as a bridge between the Stanton County 4-H program and the fair board. She has the ability to motivate both youth and adults, and she prioritizes making time for 4-H, even as a mother of five who works full time.
Zone 6: Beth Sonderup, Nance County
Beth Sonderup is the club leader of the Trailblazers 4-H Club in Nance County, a club she started four years ago to encourage youth of all ages, especially the Clover Kids age group. The club has participated in several community service projects in its four years, including creating Valentine’s Day placemats for the food trays at Children’s Hospital; making goodie bags for patients at the Boone County Hospital; and playing bingo with residents of the Valley View Assisted Living Facility in Fullerton. She has also led many 4-H workshops focused on sewing, which is one of her passions.
Zone 7: Barb Mentink, Polk County
Barb Mentink has volunteered with the Polk County 4-H horse program for more than 30 years. During this time has served as superintendent, 4-H Council member, club leader and horse advancement level examiner. She pushes her many members to get the most out of their 4-H experience, not just through her club, but also by getting involved in district and state events. Barb is knowledgeable, provides great programing and most importantly, the kids have fun and enjoy being around her.
Zone 8: Linda Bisanz, Burt County
Linda Bisanz has been involved with the Flying Needles 4-H Club for over 26 years, in a wide variety of roles. She was the 4-H kitchen manager for many years, then became the homemade pie making coordinator. Each year for more than 20 years, her group of 4-H volunteers has made approximately 200 fruit pies to be sold in the 4-H kitchen during the fair. She is a big advocate of the 4-H speech and presentation contest and is always among the first to volunteer for clothing judging day and during the fair. She even puts on heavy coveralls to help at a winter 4-H fund-raiser concession stand. For many years she has been a source of endless help who has made a difference.
Zone 9: Rebecca Dunn, Douglas County
Rebecca Dunn has created a new 4-H club, engaged new 4-H families and worked with local 4-H staff to provide enriching, educational opportunities to club members. She has worked with the Ralston Public Schools district to have her education students lead as peer mentors in the Health Rocks 4-H Mentoring program. She also led the way forming a partnership with a Ralston elementary school where the 12 high school mentors would meet with their 30 mentees in grades 3-6. Rebecca is a stellar 4-H volunteer and has made a big impact on the families and future teachers.
Zone 10: Heather Mohling, Adams County
Heather Mohling has been a 4-H leader of the Blue Valley Blazers 4-H Club for over 20 years, and a leader in the Adams County 4-H Horse program providing instruction in horse knowledge and hands-on care of horses, along with horse showmanship and riding. She has helped prepare youth throughout the county for State Horse Quiz Bowl as well as county, district and state horse shows. Heather has been instrumental in implementing the therapeutic riding program within the Blue Valley Blazers 4-H Club including organizing and providing horses, volunteers, equipment, training, and an unlimited amount of patience teaching and working with youth that may not otherwise have the opportunity to ride and bond with horses.
Zone 11: Renee Thakur, Cass County
Renee Thakur has been a dedicated volunteer in Cass County and the surrounding area for many years. She has helped school enrichment and 4-H workshops in Cass County and has assisted with sewing workshops in Johnson and in Pawnee counties. In recent years she has helped with First Lego League competitions in Otoe County. She is enthusiastic, consistent and willing to help wherever needed.
National 4-H Congress is an award program that provides recognition to 4-H youth for their outstanding performances and achievements in 4-H. It is held annually in Atlanta, Georgia. Each year, Nebraska 4-H can send delegates to National 4-H Congress. Nebraska delegates are selected for a trip to National 4-H Congress by submitting their Senior Achievement Application for state competition. This year, 15 Nebraska 4-H delegates were chosen to receive a partial scholarship to attend the 2021 National 4-H Congress. An additional 4 alternates were selected who may attend at their own expense.
Nebraska 4-H is thrilled to announce the first-ever Project of the Year, focused upon Entrepreneurship and featuring the TEC Box Educational Kit! The Project of the Year provides the perfect 4-H Club project and is also a great way for new youth and families to get started in 4-H.
This year's Project of the Year educational kit introduces youth to the exciting world of entrepreneurship through the TEC Box curriculum! The kit includes the materials youth need to complete four hands-on activities that lay the groundwork for a county and state fair eligible exhibit: Class F531006 - Entrepreneurship Challenge. The activities help youth think for themselves, practice empathy and solve problems as they learn about entrepreneurship. Youth will invent their own product to make bicycles safer and develop a new game that can be enjoyed with family and friends.
The TEC Box Educational Kit includes a printed facilitator guide, a youth workbook, an inflatable 4-H kickball, sports cones, washi tape, felt, yarn, pipe cleaners, foam, and dice. Kits are only $25 plus shipping, but supplies are limited!
2020 is delivering more challenges than many of us have experienced before. The holiday season is quickly approaching and potentially could be more stressful than previous years given all of the events of the past year. As individuals and families plan holiday gatherings during a global pandemic, many will be modifying holiday traditions based on ensuring the safety and well-being of families and others. Breaking from rituals can be challenging and upsetting, however, with some planning and creative thinking these changes might help your family develop new traditions.
Children and youth often anxiously await the holidays which often mean a time to gather with family, share gifts, and participate in traditions such as baking favorite holiday foods, decorating one’s home, or attending religious celebrations. Changes to holiday traditions and routines might add to youth’s feelings of anxiety, sadness, or depression. Research shows that the social, emotional, and mental health of our youth have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The mental health impacts of COVID-19 and potential changes to a typical holiday routine can compound the feelings and emotions youth are experiencing.
Enrollment is now open for the 2021 program year! Enrollment is not required for many 4-H programs and events. However, club and independent members are required to officially enroll through 4-H Online each year to maintain membership. By enrolling, youth have the opportunity to participate in county fairs, the Nebraska State Fair, and additional statewide opportunities and events. Youth have the opportunity to enroll in specific projects which they plan to complete throughout the years. Club and project leaders must also enroll through 4-H Online each year.
There is no state-level fee for officially enrolling. However, some counties or clubs may implement their own annual fees. Please contact your local 4-H office for more information.
While enrollment is open year-round, youth interested in participating in their county fair or the Nebraska State Fair must complete the online enrollment process no later than June 15th.