Minnesota 4-H: Growing True Leaders


– [Announcer] The following
program is a production of Pioneer Public Television. (oboe music) (upbeat music) – [Narrator] Minnesota
4-H Growing True Leaders is made possible by
Minnesota Farmers Union, standing for agriculture,
fighting for farmers. On the web at mfu.org. Minnesota Corn Growers
Association, since 1978 dedicated to identifying
and promoting opportunities for Minnesota corn farmers, while enhancing quality of life. For nearly 100 years,
Minnesota Farm Bureau has been working to preserve,
promote, and strengthen American agriculture
and sharing the vision of strength and vitality
for our communities. (upbeat electronic music) – Hello everyone. And welcome to the 2019
edition of Minnesota 4-H, Growing True Leaders. I’m Libby Montreuil. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in all my years of F-H, it’s
that there is no shortage of engaging stories to be told. And this year’s show is no exception. First, I’m off to Saint Cloud State, to see the many contraptions
built by F-H-ers at the Engineering Design Challenge. Next, we’ll focus on two unique projects. One being an escape room about zoonotics, and then other, a 1971 Skamper, that’s been given the ultimate makeover. After that, it’s time to
see some crazy costumes and learn all about the 4-H Llama Project. Finally, we’ll turn the camera
back over to the 4-H-ers and feature a short film they’ve made. All today, on Minnesota
4-H Growing True Leaders. (upbeat music) It’s early August at the Saint Cloud
State University campus. Classes haven’t started yet,
but inside the field house, the main floor has been
taken over by 4-H-ers. They’ve brought with them an assortment of clever contraptions, also known as Rube Goldberg Machines. The Engineering Design Challenge is a program designed for
young people in grades 3-12. It’s based off of
creating something called a Rube Goldberg Machine,
which is a machine that is a complex contraption, that solves a simple problem. – [Libby] Scattered
throughout the designs, are many familiar characters. – [Michael] Well, our
theme this year in 2019, is for a superhero to save the planet, and their machine has to
remove pollution from water and put it in the appropriate container. – Our hero is Paul Bunyan. We’re from Minnesota and Paul Bunyan’s the
biggest hero around here. – Mike Rowe. – Recyclopse. – We decided to add multiple superheroes. – So we have Paul Bunyan being our hero, and he went on a little
vacation, a well-needed vacation. – And then the villan’s Waste Woman. She shoots straws out of her hands. – Iron Man is coming down the first one. Black Widow’s coming down the second, after Iron Man hits her. – He comes back from his vacation and sees that a logging company came in and cut down all the trees
and didn’t replant any of ’em. – Adult Captain America’s
kinda like our super villain. And then the other superheroes are part of our Silk Superhero Gang. – And then a fishing company
came in at the same time, and stole all of the fish outta the lake. So, Paul Bunyan’s mission
is to replant the forest and put more fish in the lake. – [Libby] Now in it’s fifth year, the program has over
fifty teams state-wide, with close to 300 youth participants. – We used to do a showcase challenge at the Minnesota State Fair every year, but as you can see from behind me, we outgrew the capacity
for our 4-H building. – [Libby] Jacob and his
team from Watonwan County demonstrated their elaborate cube design. (upbeat techno music) – It takes a bottle
cap, a piece of plastic, out of our ocean and puts
it in a recycling bin. – [Jacob] At the beginning
there’s an incline plane and then there’s another incline plane. And then it goes into
another third incline plane. And then it goes into a pulley
that triggers a mouse trap. And then after that, it
goes into like a dump truck that leads it all the
way to recycling plant. – Our design is to help Thor, our superhero, save it’s planet. And by putting garbage in the hand and throwing it in the net. And pretend water’s around it. – What we did, was get
fake curly pondweed, which is the invasive species
that we have in our lake. And what we do is have a
magnet that lifts it out. (electronic music) – It recycles the ping pong balls. (electronic music) – The designs are very elaborate. Now it’s only limited by their imagination and it’s really fantastic
to see the problem solving and the creativity, that’s
the other great thing about the Engineering Design Challenge. (piano music) The Engineering Design
Challenge teaches what we call 21st Century skills, which
the young people work together just to problem solve. They work on communication,
decision making. We work to develop the skills
that they’re gonna need when they enter the workforce, and then tie STEM into
those characteristics and those skills. – There’s a lot of team building they did. Simple machines and they
learned about velocity and energy transfers and types of energy. – Kinetic Energy. So like, when a ball is on a ramp and it’s just sitting there, right? It would be potential energy. And then when it starts moving,
it would be kinetic energy. – I love science so I
love the physics in it. So, physics! – My family runs a family farm. And then my parents and my grandparents run a trucking company, so I’m going to try and incorporate
engineering as much as I can into farming and trucking. – I always ask young people what you learn from this experience. And when you hear someone,
when you hear a young person tell you, oh, now that I’ve been in The Engineering and Design
Challenge experience, I’m really interested in science. Or I didn’t know what engineering was and now I’m interested in
learning more about that. Then, for me, we’ve completed our goal and what we’re tryin’ to do. (upbeat music) (ukulele music) – [Libby] The cornerstone of
4-H is project-based learning. – 4-H gives young people
and opportunity to really delve into their passions and to discover what they’re passionate
about in the first place. Reflect upon it, get good at
it, and then show the world what it’s all about,
through their communicating about what they’ve learned. – [Libby] I couldn’t
agree more with Jennifer. Each year I’m blown away at
the creativity of 4-H-ers and how they use their projects
for educational purposes. Today, I checked out two
really cool projects. The first being an escape
room about zoonotics. My kids and I are eager to try it out. But before we enter, I got
the back story on this project from the University of
Minnesota Extension intern, Kyle Rickeman. So 4-H has always prided itself
on being on the cutting edge of educating the public
on what they need to know. Zoonotics is a very hot topic right now. Can you tell us a little
bit about what zoonotics is? – Yeah, So zoonotic
diseases are any diseases that can be passed
between humans and animals or animals and humans. So it can go either way. Some examples of zoonotics
diseases would be like salmonella, E. coli, influenza. And we’ve heard a lot about
E. coli this summer actually, around Minnesota in the lakes. So that’s a big example
of a zoonotic disease, outbreak technically, around our area, so. – And so Kyle, I know that
you’ve got a lot going on here over the course of the fair, and you’re trying to educate people. Tell me about what you’re doing here. – So at the fair, we
actually over the summer, I came up with a zoonotic
disease escape room for people to do. I brought it to 10 different
county fairs in Minnesota and now we have it here at the
State Fair for people to try. So what it has to do,
is you do an escape room and it is related to zoonotic diseases. So you have to find the animal that’s sick and what virus and what
zoonotic disease it has, so. – Okay, so have people
been receptive to it? – They have, yeah. We also have a survey at the end and most everybody is learning
what zoonotic diseases mean, which a lot of people didn’t
know what it meant at first. Then they’re also learning the best ways to protect themselves from getting zoonotic diseases as well. – So, at the end of this, you told me, people are not stuck inside. Everybody gets to learn how to get out, so the idea is that they
actually retain the information and learn and retain.
– Yeah. – And so, what have
people’s reactions been? Have they been having fun? Have they been having a hard time? Have they learned a lot? – Yeah, I think their reactions
have been really positive. They’ve been learning a
lot, for the most part. And I think it’s not frustrating, because it does give it clues
on the whole way through, so they are able to get out. But it’s enough challenge
that it makes it fun as well. – Well cool. So we have some kids that
will be going through this, with myself, so I’m excited
to see just how easy it is. – (laughing) Yeah. – Or hard it is.
– Yeah. – And we’ll see if we can get out. We might need your help though. – Okay, sounds good.
– We might need your help. (upbeat music) We had a fun time in the escape room. Kyle definitely gave us a challenge. The 4-H-ers work on raising
awareness about zoonotics doesn’t stop with the escape room. Another team of 4-H-ers,
led by Theresa Gustafson, created a series of informational videos. Theresa has taken zoonotics
to the next level. She’s a 4-H-er that was
proactive and put together a series of videos. If you could tell us about
those videos and your project I’d really appreciate it. – Yeah. So, we created a series of four videos and we, as in my team. I have two other girls on my team and we’ve been working on
this for quite awhile now. We wanted to help stop the
spread of zoonotic diseases and we decided that we
were going to do that through the media. Because a lot of the times,
it’s just a poster in the barn and people don’t really notice those. And so we took to Facebook,
Instagram, and YouTube, and we put all of our videos out there, at Team Future Generation Minnesota, if you wanna check it out. And we created videos that tell you about what a zoonotic disease
it, how you can get them, and how you can prevent them. – Well that’s fantastic. And I heard through the grapevine that it’s actually an animated series. Is that right? – [Theresa] Yes, it is. – So you’re aiming a
little bit younger crowd. – Yes, we are. We figure that if we
can kind of get to them while they’re young, then they’ll remember and they’ll just keep kinda passing it on. – Very good idea. Very smart. So, why is zoonotics important to you and why do you think
it’s important to 4-H? – Zoonotics is important
to me because I am a farmer and when our animal gets sick at the fair, it brings it back to the entire herd, and then everyone gets sick
and it’s kind of a bad deal. And that’s kinda why it’s
important to farmers. But for 4-H, I think it’s
important just because it’s for everyone honestly. It’s not just like the animals
that you see at the fair, the farm animals. It can also be your cats
and dogs and household pets. – [Libby] Next on my list of
projects, is this old camper, sitting in the heart of the
4-H building at the State Fair. The Skamper has been given a
complete interior overhaul, worthy of a HGTV designer. So tell me a little
bit about this process. How did you come up with this idea? – This idea took me three
plans to come up with. – Okay. – I was like, I wanna go kinda farm-y. And then I was like, no
it was small when I got it and I wanted to make it feel big. So I was like, we’re just gonna go with a comfy, artsy she-shed kinda deal. – [Libby] Got it. – So I was like, let’s just
get rid of the whole bathroom and the closets and everything else. I was like, we don’t need them. I got rid of all that and I was like, a fireplace would make it
feel really cozy in here, so I put in some fireplaces and then some comfy chairs and everything. – Well I will tell you what, my friend. Good job, it absolutely
gives it a comfy feel. This is the kinda place that when you’re at the State
Fair running around, it would be a great place to
just come in and take a nap. – Yeah. – Wouldn’t it?
– Yes. – Take a little time out. It is very, very cozy, very comfortable. So as far as laying this out, and actually doing the construction of it, were you out there with the
saws and the tape measures and all that kinda good stuff? – Yes, I was out there with
everything, doing everything. It takes a lot, it’s a
lot of learning curves to figure out how to do different things. And I was out there breaking
down walls everyday, when I first go it, and just
gutting the whole thing, ’cause it was super nasty in here. – Yeah, how long did it take you? From demo day to completion? – It was just over two months, so. – [Libby] Okay.
– Two months and two weeks. – [Libby] Labor of love, for sure. – [Audrey] Yeah. – [Libby] And your plans going
forward with this beauty, is to sell her, right? – [Audrey] Yes.
– [Libby] Okay. – I’m going to sell it
and use some of the money for my future projects. – Okay. – And then I’m hoping to donate some of the money to my 4-H club. – I love it, that sounds fantastic. (upbeat music) As I said before, the
variety and creativity of these 4-H-er’s projects is amazing. While 4-H projects are one
of the public demonstrations of 4-H in action, an
often overlooked fact, is that 4-H is program of the University of Minnesota Extension. – University of Minnesota Extension is a state-wide organization. We are a part of the university and 4-H is our youth development program. – [Libby] Dean of Extension, Bev Durgan, is no stranger to 4-H. She herself participated
while growing up in Montana. – I showed beef. And in fact, my nephew from
Montana, who was in 4-H, was with me a couple
days ago at the beef show and he looked and me and he goes, “Oh, I miss my beef Steer” (laughing). So, you know, I think all 4-H-ers, it was a great time for them, and so they think abut that time and go, “Oh, I wish I was still doing that.” – [Libby] Dean Durgan
agrees that creative freedom is a huge benefit of 4-H. – You can be in the beef program, but you can also be
self-determined that you wanna give a demonstration on whatever. And you can do that in 4-H. And so, 4-H is a very unique program, in that it’s really the 4-H-er
decides what they wanna do. They can be part of a club, they could do it independently, they could be in an after-school program, they can go to camp. – [Libby] A crowd has gathered outside the livestock
barns at the State Fair. Who are they hoping to see? No, it’s not the president. Nor a Hollywood actor. It’s not even the local weather man. The star of this show is, the llama. (upbeat music) – It has gained tremendous popularity. In fact, you’ll see here at this event, the public comes out,
the 4-H-ers come out. I mean, it’s a pretty popular event. Llamas are a big thing. They’re a social movement, you know? You just google llamas and you know, there’s llama yoga, there’s llama clothes, so people love llamas. And I think it’s because you know, they’re a big animal, but yet they’re a very
approachable animal. And they’re just so pretty. – [Libby] The costume
contest is just one part of the 4-H Llama Encampment, held each year at the State Fair. There’s an obstacle
course, a limbo challenge, showmanship, and more. I’m eager to learn as much as I can about the 4-H Llama Project, and the 4-H-ers that make it a success. I began my fact-finding mission chatting with two veteran
4-H-ers, Isaac and Megan. – This is Ricco. I’ve had him for about five years now. And I own him, and we do obstacle
and showmanship together. – And this is Blue. He’s three years old and
I’ve been showing him since he was probably eight months old. And I’ve been bringin’
him around the country and around the Midwest and showing him. – They all have their
different personalities so, some can be really
easygoing and love to be pet, and other ones’ll be hard to catch. And they will be worked
with, but they have like one person that they like. And they can be stubborn,
but once you work with them they’ll get used to you
and be able to do stuff. – [Libby] Llamas are shaved once a year. Their wool is often sent to a mill and turned into fibers used in clothing. But a llama’s soft wool
isn’t its only gift. – People will buy llamas
and they’ll use them to guard their sheep and goats and cattle and stuff like that. And the llamas will protect them against wolves and other predators that would normally go after the prey. – [Libby] Even more surprising, is the truth about llamas and spitting. – A lot of people hear that llamas spit and so when they find out that they don’t really spit at people, they’re liked shocked and they’re like, “Well I heard they spit”. And it’s well they really
don’t spit at people. – [Libby] Having cleared up that myth, I wished Isaac and Megan good luck and made my way over
to Mary Beth Sinclair, a volunteer leader in the Llama Project. Can you tell us what
you do with the llamas? – I lease llamas to students
and members in the 4-H program. – And so, how many years
have you been doing this? – Oh my gosh. Eight, nine years (laughing). – Now my kids also leased
animals, we leased dairy cattle, and so can you tell
people a little bit more about what the lease program is all about, ’cause many people don’t have exposure to this kind of program. – What it is is that I have 12 animals and my children are done in the program and I want to continue the
Llama Project in Lion County so I offer to these members to lease an animal for the summer. It basically starts
from May through October is their lease agreement. And they show the animal,
they take care of the animal, they practice with the animal. The animals do stay at my farm,
and they do come out there and do things with ’em out
there, and help us on the farm. – For those people out
there that are thinking, “Boy, this sounds really cool, “because those llamas are really cool”, what’s the cost involved? – I don’t charge anything for them. The only thing I ask the members
is to be kind to my animals and when they work with
them, to be kind to them is the main thing. A llama, if you’re kind
to it, it will respect you and it will respect you and
do what you want it to do. (upbeat music) – [Libby] Without a doubt, the costume contest is
the most popular event of the Llama Encampment. Both 4-H-er and Llama
dress as a complimentary, anda very creative, costumed pair. When you’re at the fair, you’ve gotta have cotton candy, right? – Yeah, definitely. – What’s your llama’s name? – [Katie] This is Basil. – [Libby] Basil. So Basil’s actually dressed up
as a different kinda of food. – Yes. – So how long did it take you
to come up with Basil’s idea? – Not very long. I was like, you know
what, let’s just go for it and make him pink! – The amount of detail on
this costume is ridiculous. – So we have two 2×4’s and a third 3X6 that are nailed together, like a cradle that cradles her back. And then we have two
pool noodles, cut in half and they’re put there for support. And then, we have two ropes. One going around her girth and
one going around her chest. – So, we got a little Cat in
the Hat going on out here. So tell me about your llama. – Um, well his name is Aspen,
and he likes to give kisses. – Awe, he is such a, he’s so sweet! What? Oh my gosh, I just got a llama kiss. (kissing sound) I just got a llama kiss,
my life is complete. The costume contest is divided into several competitive division. Within the divisions, 4-H-er’s are judged on how their llama handles
being covered in costume, the creativity of the costume, and the materials used to make it. I had the chance to speak
with Kylie Stafford, who won the senior division
as Charlotte’s web. – This is my like eighth or ninth costume and we usually plan our costume at lease the week we go home from the fair. So it takes a whole year, we
get a lot of our stuff on sale. Like Halloween decorations went into this and then we usually end
up putting it together, and then we slap it on her at the fair. We don’t really try it on before. So, this is only the second time she’s had this particular costume on, but she’s takin’ it like a champ, so. – She is totally taking it like a champ. (guitar music) It’s been a blast seeing all these 4-H-ers with their llamas in costume. I’ve also learned a lot about
llamas, but I’m not done yet. Inside the horse barns,
a crowd is gathered around Mikayla and her Llama, Fred. We’ve seen a lot of llama
action here this year, and llamas are really sort of
a hot button animal right now. Tell me why. – Who doesn’t love a llama? You walk them around and
everyone’s heads turn. You bring a smile to everyone’s face. And that’s why I love
working with my llamas, juts bringing them out to
the public to meet them. ‘Cause a lot of people they love llamas, but they’ve never met one. So the chance to meet one
is really important to them. – And so, you were tellin’ me
a little bit about judging. It’s interesting to me,
because part of your judging is actually how you appear in public. So can you tell us a little bit more about that piece of your judging? – So one of our classes,
it’s called Public Relations. So it’s basically anything
that you may come across when bringing your llama out in public. So having someone stand
up, pet your llama, your llama’s not supposed
to react, freak out, or bulk at all. You may have to sidestep
them, back them up, maybe even have water
sprayed on their face. They’re not supposed to react whatsoever. – Wow. Well, I think Fred
is doing a good job here, especially with a camera in his face. Um, speaking of public relations, I hear that you have been really active in your community with Fred. And I think it’s so fun that a 4-H project can be so impactful in your community. Tell me about that. – Yeah, So Fred is actually
a therapy-certified llama, which means that I can
bring him to nursing homes, I brought him to Mall of America, and I’m hoping to bring him
to hospitals, eventually. And I love doing this because,
when you bring a llama in, they’re expecting dogs
or other small animals and everyone’s head turns. Everyone gets excited. I bring him around into the
living rooms of nursing homes and everyone just gets
so excited (laughing). – So I know that you just
started working with Fred when we has five, and now he’s 11. So he got started a
little later in the game. So how have you done over
the years, with Fred? – Good thing I’m as
stubborn as a llama as well, so when we tried to push me
around, I stood my ground. And here we are today, therapy certified, going to the State Fair,
people coming right up to him and petting and he’s
not reacting whatsoever. So I think we’re doing pretty well. – Well, I think he’s doing great. And I’m very proud of
you for all you’ve done and keep doing this for the community. It’s been fantastic. And Fred, good luck tonight, my friend. Good luck tonight. While I’ll always be
a dairy girl at heart, my desire to have a llama of my own has gone up dramatically. The Minnesota 4-H Llama Encampment is a fun, unique experience, that further demonstrates
the variety of options 4-H-ers have to showcase their talents and build crucial life skills. (upbeat fiddle music) (popcorn popping)
(trumpets sounding) And now, it’s time to share with you one of several videos, made my 4-H-ers at this year’s State Fair. Enjoy!
(drum roll) (old time music) (rag time music) – I would have gotten away with this, if it weren’t for you pesky kids! (upbeat music) – President John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are
indispensable to each other.” As we’ve seen throughout today’s show, 4-H youth from across the state are doing and excelling at both. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the next generation of leaders, growing straight from the bountiful garden that is Minnesota 4-H. Until next time, I’m Libby Montreuil. Thanks for watching. – [Announcer] Minnesota
4-H Growing True Leaders is made possible by Minnesota Farmers Union, standing for agriculture,
fighting for farmers. On the web at mfu.org. Minnesota Corn Growers
Association, since 1978, dedicated to identifying
and propmoting opportunities for Minnesota corn farmers, while enhancing quality of life. For nearly 100 years,
Minnesota Farm Bureau has been working to preserve,
promote, and strengthen American agriculture
and share in the vision of strength and vitality
for our communities. (upbeat music) – [Man] One, two, three! (together) We are true leaders! (upbeat music)

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