Montana 4-H Newsletter

Dear 4-H Friends and Colleagues,

As we usher in yet another decade, I think back to the beginning of a new millennium and the Y2K hysteria.  Computers were going to crash worldwide, airplanes would fall out of the sky, and nuclear missiles might launch themselves.  Fortunately, nothing of the sort happened.  But it’s hard to believe that was 20 years ago already.

There was even talk that 4-H was becoming an outdated organization with shrinking relevance and may not have a place in the 21st century.  Well, the world didn’t end and neither did 4-H. 

Conversely, youth development is more important than ever.  Important enough that I urge you to take advantage of more and more volunteer training opportunities becoming available over the next few years.  The 4-H program is a perfect blend of tradition and cutting-edge educational methodologies.  The relevance of 4-H programming will continue for many decades to come if we remain grounded in our heritage while preparing ourselves for the challenges of the future.

I wish all families the best during this holiday season.


Dr. Todd Kesner

Director, Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development

In This Issue

International Programs

Hosting Opportunities 


CWF/LWF/National Conference 

True Leaders in Equity Institute 

Rec Lab

Save the Date

Foundation Scholarships/Grants

Upcoming due dates

New online application for scholarships 

Demonstration Tips

How to make the most of your presentations 

National 4-H Congress

Re-cap from 2019 Delegation

True Leaders in Service

Information for 2020 projects 

Upcoming Dates

January 10/ Ag Ambassador Competition Applications due 

January 10/ KMON Judging Competition registrations due

January 11/ Lewis and Clark Shooting sports Invitational Registrations Due

January 13/Cascade County 4-H Archery Postal Tournament Registrations Due

January 15/  CWF, LWF, and National Conference  Applications due 

January 15/ True Leaders in Equity Institute Applications due- Contact Stephanie Davison for more information

January 17/Marias Fair Shooting Sports Invitational Registrations Due

February 1/ MT 4-H Foundation Grant Applications due

March 1/ Deadline to host Costa Rican youth through AYP program

March 6-8/ Montana 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational 

April 24-26/ REC Lab in Hobson, MT

April 25/ National 4-H Day of Service 

May 1/ Youth & Adult Award Applications due

July 6-8/ Pre-Congress

July 8-12/  Montana 4-H Congress 


International Programs

Are you interested in hosting an international student?

There are two programs Montana 4-H supports for this opportunity:

1) AYP (Academic Year Program)

AYP hosting

 AYP delegates come from Costa Rica, Japan, Korea or a Eurasian country for one school year. The Japanese students have traveled previously to the United States as part of the summer program. English skills are well-developed. Delegates must attend public school. Host families do not need to have children in their homes to host but need to welcome the delegate as a member of their families for a year. Students have their own health insurance. Family attendance is required at a mid-term event.

Japanese students are 12-16 and will be here from July 22-August 18 and Costa Rica students are 15-18 and will be here from June 23-July 18.

The deadline to apply to host a Costa Rican student is March 1, and the deadline for Japan is rolling. 
Visit the Year Long Hosting Opportunity webpage to learn more


2)  4-H International Program for Young Adults (IPYA) 

Delegates arrive in Montana in early July and participate in 4-H Congress. Families generally host these older youth for 2-3 weeks. They are interested in an in-depth look at U.S. culture and to gain a better understand farming and ranching practices. Families do not need to live on a farm or ranch to host. Delegates come from European and Asian countries.



Contact Stephanie Davison with more questions about either of these programs 


CWF photo by National Capitol

Citizenship Washington Focus

Delegate/ Chaperone Application Deadline: January 15, 2020
Susan Dufner Application Deadline: January 15, 2020

Program Age: 14-19 Years-old
Program Dates: June 13-20

During this week-long trip, delegates go to Washington D.C. to experience our nation's capital, meet your legislators, and meet 4-Hers from around the country. The week is comprised of workshops related to the congressional process, meetings with your legislators, a cultural evening, and visits to monuments and museums on the mall. Two selected adults chaperone the trip. Susan Dufner Scholarship is awarded to one delegate to help with trip costs (application required).


LWF photo by National Capitol

Leadership Washington Focus

Delegate/ Chaperone Application Deadline: January 15, 2020

Program Age: Grades 7th -9th  
Program Dates: July 26-31

A sister program of CWF,  Leadership Washington Focus is designed for younger youth, the program takes place at the National 4-H conference center, conveniently located one mile from Washington, D.C. Participants build confidence in their abilities to motivate and direct others in meaningful action, practice effective communication with others through group discussion and public speaking, work with others to create and accomplish goals, develop an understanding of their own personal leadership style, exchange ideas, practice respect, and form friendships with other 4-Hers from across the nation. Two selected adults chaperone the trip.

National 4-H Conference Center

National 4-H Conference

Application Deadline: January 15, 2020

Program age: 15-18 years old
Program Dates: March 28- April 6, 2020

Land Grant University 4‑H Departments send delegations of 4‑H youth to participate in the National 4‑H Conference. At the conference, delegates prepare and present briefings on important societal topics to federal officials in Washington, D.C. 4‑H youth also have the opportunity to engage in personal development experiences that increase their knowledge, resources, and skills while discussing topics affecting youth and 4‑H programming nationwide.

Delegates not only learn while at the conference: they are empowered to create positive social change in their communities and have the opportunity to practice and apply their skills in a real-world setting.

The National 4-H Conference is a working conference in which youth and adults assist in the development of recommendations to help guide 4-H youth development programs nationally and in their communities. Conference delegates are prepared, personally and professionally, to become more active participants within their communities and to effectively develop youth-adult partnerships for community action.  

Montana sends a delegation of up to 4 participants (including one adult chaperone).


For more information and application material regarding CWF, LWF, and National Conference can be found on our website. If you have further questions, please contact Stephanie Davison at

Also, check out National 4-H's websites on CWF, LWF, and National Conference 

The True Leaders in Equity Institute 

Program Dates: April 16-17 2020 
Location: Washington D.C.
Application deadline: January 15, 2020

True Leaders in Equity Institute will prepare up to 20 teams to be change agents within the Cooperative Extension System as we work to create more welcoming and inclusive environments. This training and leadership opportunity challenges participants to work together to ideate and champion equity-related projects that will grow 4‑H in their communities.

4‑H believes in youth and adults working together to leverage the strengths that each group brings to their communities and world.

At the Institute, teams will:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of key principles and concepts related to equity and inclusion.
  • Identify a particular equity indicator and/or issue to focus on for the next year.
  • Develop their skills and competencies in equity leadership and make connections to people, organizations and tools that can be helpful for their projects.
  • Create an overall framework for their project for the next year and a specific 90-day action plan to implement when they return home.

We’re looking for teams that consist of:

  • 2 passionate youth, ages 15 – 19, who will bring their unique views on equity and inclusion and return home inspired to make change.
  • 1 adult volunteer to act as a mentor, pose questions, and keep the projects moving.
  • 1 extension staff person, appointed by 4‑H program leader/administrator, who will support the team (e.g. specialist, educator, coordinator, etc.).

Contact for information and an application.

2020 REC LAB


Save the Date! 

APRIL 24-26 // HOBSON // 

This event provides an opportunity for youth and adults to enhance their leadership, communication and team building skills in an action packed and interactive setting. Rec Lab programming is designed to provide participants with tips and tricks for being a better club, camp and community leader. This is an ideal event for younger senior members to attend a state event for the first time and begin to form relationships with 4-H peers form across the state, broadening their own skills and widening their network.  

Rec Lab will be hosted by District 3 in Hobson on April 24-26, 2020.Youth participants must be 13+ as of October 1, 2019 and Adult chaperones must be as least 21 years of age.

Registration information will be sent out in January


Foundation Grants and Scholarships 

People Partner Grant

Application due: February 1

These grants provide incentives and financial support to groups and individuals for programs that enhance the quality of living for people in their communities. Each application is eligible for up to $500. 

More information on the People Partner Grant


AMTOPP Scholarship for Montana 4-H Youth 

Application due: February 1

A $250 scholarship for 4-H age youth involved in, or wanting to become involved in, a 4-H project or learning opportunity associated with the “greens industry”. In this case, “Greens Industry” includes areas such as: Fruit and vegetable gardening, floriculture, horticulture, ornamental and turf grass, arborists (trees), crops and weeds, as well as pesticide application. The Scholarship is funded by AMTOPP (Association of Montana Turf, Ornamental & Pest Professionals).  

More Information on the AMTOPP Scholarship

Montana 4-H Collegiate Scholarship Applications

Application due: April 1

NEW! Online application now available! 


More information on Montana 4-H Foundation Collegiate Scholarships 


4-H Demonstration Tips


Communication contests allow 4-H members to share what they have learned, to teach others, and to share ideas and concepts. 

4-H communications in Montana have been divided into 4 contest categories: Demonstration and Illustrated Talks, Prepared and Impromptu Speeches, Career Communication, Published Videos, and Promotional Presentations and Commercials.

Clubs, counties, districts, regions and state entities may organize presentation events to allow 4-H youth to practice their skills. Youth ages 13-18 by October 1 of the current 4-H year who receive a blue ribbon at the county level may advance to state events.

Visit the Montana 4-H's Communications webpage to learn more about how to create each type of demonstration

When designing and presenting your demonstrations this year, use the following tips to make your best better!  

  • Select a topic that you know well and find interesting.
  • Develop one main idea or topic to share.
  • Use an outline to help you organize the idea or topic into three to seven points or steps that can be explained and/or shown.
  • Secure the material and the equipment needed and organize it to avoid clutter.
  • Dress appropriately for the activity being demonstrated.
  • Check your materials and equipment before you give the demonstration. Make words on posters large enough for all to read.
  • Use a catchy introduction that will get the attention of the audience.
  • Take your time and speak clearly, looking at your audience.
  • Show how each step is done so everyone can see.
  • Keep your materials orderly, and when you are finished with something, place it out of the way.
  • Practice the demonstration with family or friends who will give suggestions for improvement.
  • Smile and enjoy yourself, but avoid chewing gum, placing your hands in your pockets, or “fiddling” with equipment.
  • Review your points or steps at the end, ask for questions, and thank the audience.
  • Check with your County 4-H Extension Agent for county specific guidelines and dates  


National 4-H Congress

National 4-H Congress 2019 Delegates

Left to right, Standing:Lindsey Knight, Missoula County
Jesse Pauley, Powell County, Cade Duran, Lewis and Clark County,Chay VanDyke, Prairie County, Gracie Smith, Ravalli County, Taylor Noyes, Broadwater County, Nate Doyon, Cascade County, Jacob Seiwert, Yellowstone County, Claire Downing, Lewis and Clark County, Ali Jo Merritt, Richland County, Kelty Raciborski, Dawson County
Nyssa Schairer, Ravalli County, Adeline Waskow, Yellowstone County, Front: Jeana Marx, Gallatin County,
Tiffany ioder, Ravalli County,Marie Stott, Yellowstone County


National 4-H Congress Re-Cap

Atlanta Georgia, November 28 – December 3, 2019

Montana sent 16 youth delegates and 2 adult volunteer chaperones to represent Montana at the 99th Annual National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. These delegates earned their eligibility for this outstanding award trip by either placing in a state contest or submitting a chosen state award application.  All of these delegates exhibited exceptionality in their respective areas.

Delegates and chaperones had an opportunity to interact with over 900 other 4-H’ers and adult chaperones from across the united states for a four-day event that focuses on leadership, service and networking. While in Atlanta the group was able to engage with peers, tour and learn about history of the area and participate in a day of service. Delegates engaged with national speakers like Dan Clark, outstanding 4-H Alumni Kelly Loeffler, as well as Secretary of Agriculture Sunny Perdue.

The tradition to attend National 4-H Congress is strong and one we hope to continue to offer for generations to come. The experience can be best described by the youth themselves and the impact this experience has had is evident from their reflections.



National 4-H Congress was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that is unforgettable. Getting the chance to meet hundreds of fellow delegates from all walks of life is not only inspiring but also encouraging. This event not only teaches leadership skills, but also how to step out of your comfort zone, show your true self, and grow to the fullest potential.

-Tiffany Ioder, Ravalli County 4-H, 2018-2019 Stir-Us (Foods) Contest winner

Without a doubt, National 4-H Congress is the definition of a once in a lifetime opportunity. From learning about the beautiful city of Atlanta and its culture, to meeting delegates from across the states and Puerto Rico, I was truly able to have an enhanced appreciation for the nationwide community of 4-H. Furthermore, the community service project along with the speakers and guests whom I had the pleasure of interacting with gave me a new perspective on leadership and my role as a 4-Her within my community. I couldn’t have been happier to represent Montana as a delegate, especially with my fellow Montana 4-Hers.

-Claire Downing, Lewis and Clark County 4-H, 2018-2019 State Award Recipient in Leadership

Meeting people from all over the US and two territories was a very special experience. I especially enjoyed the workshops, and volunteer work we did as well. Trying out new foods that don't exist where we live was a treat. I enjoyed the Aquarium and the Hotlanta tour. I made myself sick drinking 50 different flavors of soda at the world of Coca-Cola. Big thanks to the sponsors and volunteers who made this trip possible. I have learned a lot and I'm happy to have been able to go on such a fun and fascinating trip!

  • Nate Doyon, Cascade County 4-H, 2018-2019 Career Communications Contest Winner

To be eligible for the 2020 National 4-H Congress Montana Delegation, submit a state award application by May 1, 2020 and/or make sure to register for a state contests at Congress!

Visit the pages below for more information: 


State Award Application 
Congress Contests 

True Leaders in Service

True Leaders in Service

True Leaders in Service, a month-long community service activation, officially kick-offs the first day of April, and culminates with the National 4-H Day of Service on the last Saturday of April each year.

" 'I pledge…my hands to larger service…' We should all be familiar with this phrase. Most likely, you hear it each month at your club/group meeting as it’s a part of the 4-H pledge that all members learn. 4-H members are encouraged to develop and practice skills to become helpful or useful in their club/group, community, country, and world. Community service projects are an opportunity for youth to develop a sense of pride and ownership for the community in which they live. Additionally, community service allows youth to learn the value of giving back to the community while working with adults and helping others at the same time." -Implementing Effective Community Service Projects Fact Sheet from University of Illinois 

Start planning your projects using the resources from the National 4-H website
The Montana 4-H TLS webpage has some great marketing resources to help you get started as well!