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NDSU Extension Service state and area specialists and county-based agents work collaboratively to deliver educational programs in four key areas: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences, Community Vitality and 4-H Youth Development.

To illustrate our programs’ economic, environmental and personal impacts, these infographics highlight the work and their benefits to North Dakota citizens. They are a mere snapshot of the numerous programs delivered by Extension each year.

Although times and technologies have changed since the Cooperative Extension Service was created in 1914, the NDSU Extension Service continues to be responsive to people’s local needs and remains committed to extending knowledge and changing lives now and in the future.

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4-H Leadership Opportunities Teach Lifelong Skills

Lentz 4-HFor Wesley Kemp of Cavalier, attending the 2015 National 4-H Conference in Chevy Chase, Md., was a life-changing experience. During the civic engagement conference, delegates ages 15 to 19 from throughout the U.S., U.S. territories and Canada participate in round-table discussions to help address a challenge that a federal agency poses. Then the youth make presentations to the agency.

 Kemp's round-table group tackled how to inspire more youth to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and presented suggestions to NASA and the National Science Foundation.

The conference is one of several national and statewide leadership development opportunities available to North Dakota youth through 4-H, according to Rachelle Vettern, leadership and volunteer development specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service's Center for 4-H Youth Development. Others include national programs such as National 4-H Congress and Citizenship Washington Focus, and statewide programs such as the Extension Youth Conference and 4-H Ambassadors.

These experiences also can lead to other opportunities, as past National 4-H Conference attendee Billie Lentz of Rolla (pictured above) discovered in July when she attended the Global 4-H Network Summit in Ottawa, Canada. It encourages youth to network with industry leaders.

 "It was incredible to walk into a room with people of every background and know that the thread that connected us all was 4-H," she says. "4-H has taught me skills that will last me a lifetime, including interview skills, professionalism, persistence, hard work, leadership, how to improve from failure, how to step up to new challenges and how to make a difference."

Discover all that 4-H offers by learning about leadership development opportunities for youth and hearing more of Wesley and Billie's story.

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Transforming Lives Through Education

Six years ago, about the time Vawnita Best gave up a 15-year career involving extensive travel to stay at home to raise her then-2-year-old son and help her husband build their registered Angus herd, she was accepted into the NDSU Extension Service's Rural Leadership North Dakota program.

 "I was excited to find a leadership program structured for people with a passion for North Dakota, agriculture and community," the Watford City rancher says.

 The 18-month leadership development program helps participants think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, do strategic planning and manage conflict. They also learn about agricultural and rural policy, economic trends that could affect North Dakota, innovative ways to fund local and regional development projects, civic engagement, the value of coalitions and partnerships, and industry and community advocacy.

RLND is one of many examples of NDSU Extension's educational approach that provides North Dakota citizens with the information they need to make changes in their life and community. The concept is called transformational education.

"In transformational education, Extension staff make a conscious and continued effort to provide information in a way that will serve as a catalyst for individual and community change," says Lynette Flage, director of Extension's Center for Community Vitality. "It's really getting people to make that step to transform themselves."

Here are more ways Extension extends knowledge and changes lives through transformational education.

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September is Family Meals Month

Family TableEating together as a family has many benefits. Meals eaten as a family tend to be more healthful. They also give families an opportunity to communicate and strengthen relationships.

If you are looking to help your kids succeed in school, family mealtimes can help. Teens who eat together more often with their families do better in school, earning more A’s and B’s than their counterparts who do not eat together as often.

Meals eaten with family members usually include less fat, less pop and more fruits and vegetables. Family meals also tend to be higher in calcium, fiber and other essential nutrients.

Celebrate Family Meals Month by visiting NDSU Extension’s The Family Table for information on how to get your family eating together more often and to take the Family Table Challenge.

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