4-H shaping True Leaders in communities across Nebraska

June 17, 2016

Lincoln, Neb. — As the presidential election hoists leadership to the forefront of national dialogue, Nebraska 4-H is joining the discussion by participating in a campaign recently launched by the National 4-H Council called Grow True Leaders. The Grow True Leaders campaign is meant to rally the nation to provide more youth with hands-on experiences so that they grow into true leaders.

Chad Holcomb
Chad Holcomb from Nuckolls county discovered his interest in technology during a 4-H workshop where he learned how to solder a USB phone charger.

In Nebraska, one-in-three age-eligible youth across all 93 counties are enrolled in 4-H, for a total enrollment reaching approximately 140,000. Those young people are preparing for a successful future by focusing on career and college readiness; community development; entrepreneurship; food supply confidence; healthy living; leadership development; and science, technology, engineering and math. They’re having experiences that grow confidence, responsibility, independence and compassion which they’ll need to be a true leader.

One of those true leaders is Tressa Reiner, a long-time 4-H member from Garfield County. When Reiner learned that training tools for patrol dogs are in short supply because they can only be used once, she gathered her friends to help her with a project making the tools. Reiner and her friends used donated materials to hand make tools which they donated to the Nebraska State Patrol.

“What was great about this project is that Tressa took the initiative to give back on her own,” said Jennifer Schoen, extension educator in Garfield, Loup and Wheeler counties.

Extension educators working in Nebraska 4-H play an important role in the True Leaders campaign by serving as role-models for youth. Jacie Milius, an extension educator for Nuckolls, Thayer and Clay counties choose her college major based upon her experience in 4-H, and is now helping youth discover their interests and passions.

Milius recently inspired Chad Holcomb from Nuckolls county to discover his interest in technology. During a 4-H workshop Holcomb learned how to solder a USB phone charger. This workshop was developed to give 4-H members an opportunity to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through fun, hands-on activities and projects.

How to work collaboratively, take the lead on a project and achieve goals with confidence builds a foundation of leadership and skills for success in 4-H’ers future careers. 

“4-H can play an enormous role in someone’s life because we’re teaching youth skills that they aren’t learning anywhere else,” said Milius. “They receive traditional education in school, but 4-H is focusing on soft skills such as how to be on time, have a conversation and stand up for themselves and their communities.”

As part of the campaign, Nebraska 4-H is asking everyone to join in using social media to call attention to the impressive things kids are doing every day. Share positive messages and photos or videos using #TrueLeaders and #NE4H to shout out a young true leader who exemplifies a positive example of courage, responsibility and resilience.

For more information about the 4-H Grow True Leaders Campaign, contact Nebraska Extension Educator Tracy Pracheil at 402-472-9016 or tpracheil2@unl.edu.

The Nebraska 4-H Youth Development Program strives to empower youth to reach their full potential working and learning in partnership with caring adults. 4-H programming is present in all 93 counties across Nebraska. To learn more visit www.4h.unl.edu

Tracy Pracheil
Nebraska Extension