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4-H Matters

Message from the Director

At the end of March I attended the National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C. with a group of six delegates from across the state of Idaho. This is a tremendous opportunity for participants to gain experience that empowers them to create positive change in their own communities. Delegates choose a topic that impacts society and prepare briefings that are presented to officials during the conference.

National 4-H Conference focuses on civic engagement, civic education and personal development. Delegates arrive at the conference prepared to learn, then return to their communities with motivation and skills to lead. It is one of the many ways we offer broad-based learning experiences to our youth.

As the school year comes to a close, and we gear up for all that happens in 4-H during the summer, we hope you will continue to stay tuned in to our many successful programs and happenings through this newsletter.

Jim Lindstrom
4-H State Director

Did You Know?

The 4-H Distinguished Alumni award honors 4-H alumni who make an impact for their community, country and world. Alumni are recognized in the area in which they make an impact: business and industry, communications, education, entertainment, sports and public service.

Six former 4-H members from Idaho have received the Distinguished Alumni award:

  • Larry Branen, former dean of the UI College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • Alan Lance, former Idaho Attorney General
  • Larry Craig, former U.S. Senator
  • Steve Symms, former U.S. Senator
  • Butch Otter, current Idaho Governor
  • Patricia Kempthorne, former Idaho First Lady

Statewide Impact

Featured Story

Curiosity and Communications

4-H alumna turns curiosity into communications career

Read about Jodi Walker >

States’ 4-H International Exchange

In the fall of 1971 UI Extension, 4-H Youth Development State Leader Maurice Johnson and Washington State 4-H Leader Dwight Palmer were approached with a unique opportunity to implement a youth exchange program between Idaho 4-H youth and young people from Japan. After a winter of planning, the two leaders launched what is formally known today as States’ 4-H International Exchange.

Nearly four decades later the program has expanded to 28 states and 28 countries across six continents. In the past sixteen years, Idaho has hosted 872 exchange delegates inbound and has sent 298 youth outbound. Between 1998 and 2014 Idaho hosted an average of 12 delegates per year. In three short years Idaho has expanded to support about 40 delegates per summer including summer inbound, outbound and academic year delegates. 

When asked “what is your favorite memory from your hosting experience,” one family said “giving Moeka a pinch of Pop Rocks and watching her surprised face when they bubbled in her mouth.” 

A parent said they will remember “watching our delegate adapt to our culture and watching our children adapt to their culture.”

States’ 4-H International Exchange host families experience the richness of the world in the comfort of their own home. Exchange delegates enjoy learning about everyday life in the United States and appreciate the opportunity to practice their English-speaking skills. Youth are matched with families based on the host sibling’s gender, age and interests.

Idaho is recruiting host families for 2017 summer inbound delegates. Interested families should contact Judith McShane for more information or visit the States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs website to apply.

Six children gathered on a tractor.
Children in host families learn from their international peers.

County Successes

Elmore 4-H in the Air Force

In 2004, UI Extension, Elmore County 4-H programs became part of the Mountain Home Air Force Base (MHAFB) youth center to provide a variety of youth development programs to military youth. Over 300 youth now participate in 4-H programs on base every year.

Military youth in 4-H learn by doing. They build robots on FIRST Lego League teams and learn cooperation, planning and how to set and achieve goals. They participate with others at the National Science Day Skill-A-Thon.

They display projects at the Elmore County Fair, thanks to six traditional 4-H clubs on base. A 4-H garden on base gives them the opportunity to learn how to grow food.

MHAFB is one of the Department of Defense’s pilot bases for the Healthy Base Initiative. The initiative uses 4-H programs for nutrition training, meal planning and teaching healthy habits for youth. Teens learn leadership skills through activities like mentoring, Know Your Government and other 4-H programs. 4-H provides challenging activities like rafting, zip lines and ropes courses to build self-esteem while teaching critical thinking, problem solving and conflict resolution.

The 4-H program prepare these young people for the world they enter as adults. This is something the Air Force has recognized as holding value for their children. Along with the typical challenges of growing up, military youth have a parent that is often absent for extended periods of time. Youth also know their parent may be in harm’s way while they are gone. Elmore County 4-H does its part to support military children and help them build resiliency.

“In the Youth Center hosted 4-H program, my daughter is exposed to a wide range of life skills taught in a kid-friendly atmosphere and geared toward inspiring her to a more enriched life,” said Brian H. Vance, Lt. Col, USAF. “She sees the value in the program and seeks out all chances to participate, turning away other opportunities when they conflict with 4-H programming. While she has grown up as a military child over four locations, Mountain Home Air Force Base Youth Center is her first chance to benefit from 4-H curriculum. I consider it invaluable.”

Seven people on an inflatable raft in splashing water.
Youth at MHAFB meet Idaho's natural wonders through a 4-H partnership.

Support Idaho 4-H

Idaho 4-H State Teen Association Convention

For over 90 years, teens from across the state have looked forward to attending 4-H Teen Conference. This year, with a revised name and vision, the Idaho 4-H State Teen Association Convention (STAC) will take place in Moscow June 26-29. The theme is “Blast Off — A Galaxy of Opportunity” and will be a four-day educational event focusing on post-secondary and career exploration. Both 4-H and non-4-H youth choose from activities including workshops, tours, service learning projects and more.

STAC is possible because of the support of our generous donors, many of whom once participated during their teen years. Please consider supporting this important convention, which for many youth can be life-changing. Visit our giving page to support STAC.

Idaho 4-H License Plate

Show your support and help us broaden the visibility of 4-H in Idaho with an Idaho 4-H specialty license plate. A portion of the fees are returned directly to the UI Extension county 4-H program where the license plate is purchased. Request yours today from your county vehicle licensing department.

An Idaho license plate with a 4-H clover and the motto "To Make the Best Better."
4-H customized license plates have been available in Idaho since 2015.


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4-H Headquarters

University of Idaho Extension, 4-H Youth Development

Physical Address:
Mary E. Forney Hall
1210 Blake Avenue, Room 206
Moscow, ID 83844-3015

Mailing Address:
4-H Youth Development
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3015
Moscow, ID 83844-3015

Phone: 208-885-6321

Fax: 208-885-4637


Web: 4-H Youth Development

4-H on Google Maps