North Dakota 4-H kids develop leadership, communication skills at Extension Youth Conference

North Dakota State University Extension
Extension Youth Conference participants work in teams on a skill-building exercise during the four-day event.

The 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 (NDSU), gives youth delegates the opportunity to attend leadership workshops, complete service-learning projects and gain insight from keynote speakers.

Youth also attended skill-building workshops such as 3-D printing, drones, plant propagation, outdoor cooking,  painting and cupcake decorating. The conference’s keynote speaker was Ty Howard, nationally sought-after youth leadership and teen enrichment specialist.

Ambassadors and planning co-chairs Kathryn Hetletvedt and Lilly Bina were pleased with the attendance that brought youth together from across the state.

Leo Devick, ambassador and conference program co-chair, said, “I enjoyed developing lessons to teach the survival skills of leadership, communication, teamwork and prioritization.” 

The service-learning project taught youth about helping the environment with a pollinator/bird habitat presentation by Miro Herrera Grant and Joslin Forness. Participants then made a bee habitat, a building project hosted by Home Depot, and filled nearly 100 bags of produce for youth in the Fargo area to be distributed by Great Plains Food Bank. The produce was supplied as part of a grant through NDSU Extension Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.

The North Dakota 4-H Ambassadors is a group of young adults ages 16 to 22 whose goal is to promote 4-H throughout the state. After selecting new ambassador candidates twice throughout the year, two new members were elected at this year’s conference – Alex Lahlum of Marion, North Dakota and Gina Quamme of Wahpeton, North Dakota.

Each year ambassadors elect an honorary ambassador based on their involvement in North Dakota 4-H at the community and state level. This year, Macine Lukach was chosen as the recipient of this award. Lukach has worked for NDSU Extension in Ward and Cavalier counties for more than 30 years.

Raquel Bata honored Lukach with these words of admiration, “In numerous ways Macine has challenged me and contributed to my personal development and growth throughout my time in 4-H.”

Another Cavalier County Ambassador, Tucker Regner said, “She has always been a role model in my life especially when it comes to her compassion, kindness, patience and understanding when she works with those in 4-H settings.”

For more information about the 4-H Ambassador program visit the leadership opportunities page on the North Dakota 4-H Youth Development website, at www.ndsu.edu/agriculture/extension/extension-topics/4-h-youth-development/4-h-leadership-opportunities.