Extension and Ag Research News


North Dakota 4-H hosts annual youth leadership conference at NDSU

Extension Youth Conference gives youth delegates the opportunity to attend leadership workshops, complete service-learning projects and gain insight from keynote speakers.

North Dakota 4-H Ambassadors gathered in Fargo in late June to host their yearly Extension Youth Conference.

Extension Youth Conference is a leadership event for North Dakota youth in grades seven to 12 sponsored by the North Dakota 4-H Foundation. The four-day event on the campus of North Dakota State University gives youth delegates the opportunity to attend leadership workshops, complete service-learning projects and gain insight from keynote speakers.

The 4-H Ambassadors are comprised of youth ages 16 to 22 whose goal is to promote 4-H throughout the state. They are responsible for planning and hosting the youth conference.

“I am very happy with how Extension Youth Conference went this year, and I look forward to next year and seeing familiar faces once again,” says Tucker Regner, 4-H Ambassador from Cavalier County and chair of this year’s conference.

The conference had a spy theme, and youth participated in workshops and activities such as painting, outdoor cooking, glass etching, precision agriculture and a game of live Clue around the NDSU campus.

New to the conference this year were career tours, which allowed the delegates to explore possible career opportunities, including engineering, veterinary technology, interior design and food science. A highlight for youth who selected the athletic administration tour was meeting with Matt Entz, NDSU head football coach.

“A foundational part of this conference is allowing students an opportunity to better their community,” says Regner. “Service learning is very important to 4-H as a whole, and this week, delegates got to get their hands going.”

Alyssa Thomsen of Valley City and Allison Bryn of Dazey coordinated the service-learning project. The delegates created birthday kits for distribution to families in need through the Great Plains Food Bank. The kits included ingredients for a birthday cake, a bag of balloons, a birthday candle and a coloring sheet for the recipient. The delegates also decorated birthday cards for each birthday party kit.

“I liked how this project was different from other projects we’ve done in the past,” says Thomsen. “We had a representative from the Great Plains Food Bank there to see all the delegates work together and talk to us about how much the birthday boxes meant to people. It was really amazing to make a difference for others.”

Alex Lahlum of Marion was the conference’s program coordinator. He was responsible for arranging workshops and the keynote speaker, Thomas Guetzke. Guetzke is a motivational speaker who has studied the psychology of happiness. He shared five happy habits that youth can do to increase their overall happiness.

The conference also included an entrepreneurial workshop facilitated by Breanna Kiser, NDSU Extension agent in Dickey County. Delegates practiced creativity, problem solving and selling to judges and each other.

During the conference, the 4-H Ambassadors elect new ambassadors to join the program. This year they elected Rudi Wendel of Cass County and Jerrett Kihne of Traill County.

Each year ambassadors elect an honorary ambassador based on their involvement in North Dakota 4-H at the community and state level. This year, Hannah Nordby was chosen as the recipient of this award. Nordby has been the ambassador’s co-advisor for four years and is stepping down this year.

“Hannah has been my rock and my right hand while in this program,” says Sue Quamme Wehlander, NDSU 4-H youth development specialist and co-advisor for the ambassador program. “Hannah’s leadership and compassion will be missed by everyone.”

Registration for next year’s Extension Youth Conference will open early in 2024. For more information about the 4-H Ambassador program, visit ndsu.ag/lead4-h.

NDSU Agriculture Communication – July 5, 2023

Source: Tucker Regner, tregner02@gmail.com

Source: Sue Quamme, 701-231-5923, susan.quamme@ndsu.edu

Editor: Elizabeth Cronin, 701-231-7881, elizabeth.cronin@ndsu.edu

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.