Nineteen Nebraska 4-H members traveled to the 100th National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, GA, held November 26 to 30. This year’s conference theme — “A Century of Empowering Youth” — focused on leadership, citizenship, global awareness, and inclusion.
National 4-H Congress is the premier leadership event for 4-H members between the ages of 15 and 19 years of age. Nebraska delegates are selected for the trip to National 4-H Congress by submitting an Achievement Application for state competition.
Nebraska 4-H members joined youth from 37 other states which brought together over 800 4-Hers from across the country. Youth participated in service-learning projects, international education, and a variety of workshops to expand their skills while being inspired to make an impact on their club, community, and country.
“It was amazing to learn what an impact 4-H can have on the clubs, communities, surrounding countries, and the world. Leadership may be declining statistically, but seeing over 800 other leaders in Atlanta really gives me hope that we can change those numbers,” Aleyna Cuttlers of Lancaster County said. “Being able to experience the National 4-H Congress is a moment in my life I will treasure for a very long time, whether it was the friends I made from all over the states or the leaderships skills I was able to gain from this truly amazing experience.”
The group, made up of high school students and a few college freshmen, attended numerous educational workshops, cultural events, and completed service-learning projects while in Atlanta. Attendees heard nationally known speakers, including Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau, and Dr. Carrie Castille, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture among others. Each speaker challenged the 4-Hers to continue to be leaders and to be a catalyst for change within their communities.
“I had an amazing time at congress making new friends and I learned a lot! I plan to take things that I learned back to my county to inspire and empower youth to become the best leaders and people that they can be,” Paige Wood from Nance County said. “I plan to do so through teaching fun workshops and speaking at 4-H club meetings.”
Hunter Wiese of Dodge County shared about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and how the National 4-H Congress empowered him to be more confident while building new skills.
“I learned to get out of my comfort zone because the faster you do that the more you get to know people. This has been the best experience I have ever had.”
Highlights of the five-day trip included a tour of Atlanta, visits to the Atlanta History Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. Visitor Center, Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta Zoo, World of Coke, the College Football Hall of Fame, and other attractions.
Youth were accompanied by Nebraska 4-H Extension Educator, Dawn Lindsley, along with Julie Kreikemeier, Colfax County 4-H Extension Educator; Lindsay Shearer, Nebraska 4-H Foundation; and Martin Wiese, a 4-H volunteer from Dodge County.
For more information National 4-H Congress, please visit 4h.unl.edu/congress.
Nebraska 4-H members across the state were recognized as Members of Excellence for their participation in a new livestock program launched in 2021. The Nebraska 4-H Livestock Achievement Program was designed to promote all educational aspects of 4-H livestock projects including selection, production, leadership, and exhibition by recognizing youth striving to improve in their livestock project knowledge and leadership.
The program recognizes Members of Excellence across all 4-H livestock project areas, including beef, sheep, meat goat, swine, dairy cattle, dairy goat, rabbit, and poultry.
At the beginning of the 4-H year, youth applied to participate in the program. Upon acceptance, participants set goals for their 4-H project experience. At the end of the summer, they reported on their accomplishments. Participants were also required to complete their annual 4-H online enrollment process, YQCA requirements, and project record books to receive a Member of Excellence distinction.
In its inaugural year, 26 youth from 20 counties received a Member of Excellence distinction. The youth chose to participate for a variety of reasons, including to learn more about their project and the ag industry, to grow their leadership skills, and to introduce new people to 4-H livestock project areas.
“I think it is great for my daughter to get a better idea about how much [their project] costs and what goes into it,” said a participant’s parent. As part of their experience, many participants chose to educate others through static exhibits or public speaking presentations. One participant stated, “I learned to present information in a way to help educate others,” while another shared, “I also worked through my fear of presenting and talking in front of people.”
4-H members recognized as Members of Excellence in the beef project area include:
- Ella Miller, Cass County
- Everett Funk, Loup County
- Faith Miller, Hooker County
- Greyson Hollopeter Swan, Cherry County
- Lacey Schmidt, Thayer County
- Logan Schmidt, Thayer County
- McKenzie VanDeWalle, Fillmore County
- Trapper Wyatt Wilcox, Antelope County
4-H members recognized as Members of Excellence in the dairy cattle project area include:
- Kaitlyn Hanson, Saunders County
4-H members recognized as Members of Excellence in the meat goat project area include:
- Autumn Hoppe (Holt)
- Brooke Carey (Holt)
- Miya Carey (Holt)
4-H members recognized as Members of Excellence in the poultry project area include:
- Anne Nygren, Saunders County
- Janae Oberg, Frontier County
- Jon Oberg, Frontier County
4-H members recognized as Members of Excellence in the rabbit project area include:
- Adriana Hernandez, Washington County
- Andrew Frain, Lancaster County
- Elisa Oberg, Frontier County
4-H members recognized as Members of Excellence in the sheep project area include:
- Ava Myers, Hamilton County
- Cora Roth, Boyd County
- Katelyn Dorsey, Valley County
- Maggie Roberts, Otoe County
- Arabella Rolfsmeyer, Buffalo County
- Trapper Wyatt Wilcox, Antelope County
4-H members recognized as Members of Excellence in the swine project area include:
- Hunter Creech, Scotts Bluff County
- Kade Goedeken, Platte County
- Maggie Roberts, Otoe County
- Olivia Beel, Brown County
The Nebraska 4-H Livestock Achievement Program is now accepting applications for 2022.
Nebraska 4-H is excited to announce the members of the 2022 4-H Youth Leadership Conference Ambassador team!
- Drew Whitney, Seward County
- Lola Rowse, Thomas County
- Kaylee Powell, Hall County
- Isabella Benne, Burt County
- Payton Smidt, Gage County
- Chelsa Reardon, Platte County
- Emily Van Meter, Otoe County
- Autumn Lindsley, Butler County
These youth will help plan and facilitate the 2022 Nebraska 4-H Youth Leadership Conference scheduled for June 24-26, 2022. The ambassadors will meet monthly to plan and prepare for the conference while developing their own leadership skills.
Nebraska 4-H teams and individuals claimed top awards in the National 4-H Livestock Contests held November 15-16th in Louisville, Kentucky.
The livestock skillathon team from Buffalo County received 1st place overall. Team members included:
- Taylor Lewis
- Jaylea Pope
- Noah Summers
- Skyler Summers
Team members also claimed top individual awards, including Skyler Summers receiving 1st place overall, Noah Summers with 2nd place overall, and Jaylea Pope receiving 11th place overall. 4-H volunteer, Dean Batie, coached the team.
The livestock quiz bowl team from Dawson County claimed 3rd place overall. Team members included:
- Emma Peterson
- Jacie Wolfinger
- Greg Treffer
- Spencer Walahoski
Team members also claimed individual awards. Spence Walahoski received 4th place overall, and Greg Treffer received 8th place overall. 4-H volunteer, Shannon Peterson, coached the team.
The livestock judging team from Lincoln County claimed 8th place overall. Team members included:
- Blake Bruns
- Ashley Robinson
- Tayton Lucas
- Matt Bruns
Team member, Blake Bruns, also received 19th place overall.
Twelve talented young artists from across Nebraska have artwork currently on display in the Loft Gallery in the Nebraska East Union.
The show features fourteen drawings, including graphite, ink, charcoal, color pencil, and scratchboard artwork, created by 4-H members. The pieces were selected from hundreds of 4-H visual art exhibits entered at the 2021 Nebraska State Fair.
The exhibition features original artwork by the following 4-H members:
- Kaila Spieker, 17, Pierce County, Hadar Handy Helpers 4-H Club
- Addison Zook, 18, Butler County, Always Busy Clover 4-H Club
- Austyn Rumbeck, 17, Buffalo County, Diamond Willow 4-H Club
- Aimee Merrill, 18, Hitchcock County, Southwest Shooting Sports 4-H Club
- Janessa Schmidt, 19, Colfax County Busy Bees 4-H Club
- Anne Marie Wurtz, 18, Lancaster County, Star City Cornhuskers 4-H Club (2)
- Piper Dather, 16, Knox County, Northwest Feeders 4-H Club
- Ashlyn Boeckenhauer, 15, Dixon County, independent 4-H member (2)
- Hadley Hartman, 11, Johnson County, West Elk Creek 4-H Club
- Kinsley Oestmann, 16, Nemaha County, Timbercreek 4-H Club
- Emily Loseke, 19, Colfax County, All-Star 4-H Club
- Carmen Kosmicki, 18, Howard County, independent 4-H member
Admission to the Loft Gallery is free and open to the public anytime the Nebraska East Union is open. The exhibit will remain in place through December.
4-H is Nebraska’s largest youth development organization–empowering 140,000 young people across Nebraska with the skills to lead for a lifetime. The 4-H visual art projects help young people develop life skills, such as communication, problem-solving, self-esteem, and self-motivation. Learn more at 4h.unl.edu.
The Nebraska 4-H Horse Advisory Committee provides guidance, support, and assistance in carrying out program activities in the interest of the 4-H Youth Development and horse program. This committee is made up of 4-H volunteer leaders and Extension personnel from across Nebraska who are interested in promoting positive youth development and the 4-H horse program.
4-H leaders, parents, and trainers can serve up to a 3-year term on the committee. All members are expected to attend and participate in 75% of meetings in a calendar year of which there are typically 4. Committee members are also expected to serve on a sub-committee which may meet at a higher frequency. Committees include sponsorship and fundraising, awards and apparel, rule book, youth activity, and volunteer relations. Members are also asked to volunteer at one or more state 4-H events.
Applications are accepted from November 1st through December 3rd at 5:00 PM CT. New committee members are selected based on location, skills, and reasons for wanting to join. Those selected will be contacted directly.
The Nebraska 4-H Fed Steer Challenge is an opportunity for youth interested in learning more about the cattle industry. The program is designed to cultivate the next generation of leaders in the Nebraska cattle industry and enhance the educational value of the traditional 4-H beef projects. The Fed Steer Challenge provides an affordable option that rewards production merit and carcass value of the market animal, along with accurate and complete record-keeping, industry knowledge, and producer engagement. Youth interested in participating in the 2022 Fed Steer Challenge must complete an online application process. Applications are due by December 1, 2021.
The Nebraska 4-H Livestock Achievement Program is designed to promote all educational aspects of 4-H livestock projects including selection, production, leadership, and exhibition by recognizing youth striving to improve in their livestock project knowledge and leadership.
The program recognizes Members of Excellence across all 4-H livestock project areas, including:
- meat goat
- dairy cattle
- dairy goat
The program consists of two levels that require 4-H members to plan and report a broad range of age-appropriate and project-related accomplishments. For each level, the Livestock Achievement Program provides a list of accomplishments from which 4-H members choose their goals. Each accomplishment is worth a specific number of points. Intermediates, ages 10-13, must complete 100 points worth of activities to receive the distinction of Intermediate Member of Excellence. Seniors, ages 14-18, must complete 150 points worth of activities to receive the distinction of Senior Member of Excellence.
At the beginning of the 4-H year, youth must apply to participate in the program. Upon acceptance into the program, participants plan what to accomplish. At the end of the 4-H year, they report on their completed accomplishments. Additionally, participants must complete their annual 4-H Online enrollment process, YQCA requirements, and project record books in order to receive a Member of Excellence distinction.
This fall, Nebraska 4-H is hitting the road with an all-new volunteer professional development opportunity. Join us for an evening to discover new opportunities for yourself and your 4-H youth, network with other 4-H volunteers in your community, and build your skills as a 4-H volunteer! Be sure to register in advance to save your seat. Registration is $8 and includes a meal and all materials. Payment is due at the door.
McCook – November 8
- Location: Red Willow County Fairgrounds Community Building
- Time: 6:00 - 9:00 pm CST
- Register by November 1.
Bridgeport – November 9
- Location: Prairie Winds Community Center
- Time: 5:30 - 8:30 pm MST
- Register by November 1.
Columbus – November 15
- Location: Central Community College
- Time: 6:00 - 9:00 pm CST
- Register by November 8.
Beatrice – November 18
- Location: Southeast Community College
- Time: 5:30 - 8:30 pm CST
- Register by November 10.
Adults interested in judging county and state 4-H projects, including live animal shows, static exhibits, and contests are invited to complete the statewide Judge Registration. While not required, the registration process gets your name added to the statewide list of judges which is available to 4-H staff across the state who are looking to hire new judges for fairs, contests, and shows. Adults interested in being added to the 2022 judge list must complete the online registration process by September 30, 2021.