Tricounty News

Meeker County 4-H’ers learn to lead

More than 450 youth learn leadership skills at 2014 4-H BLU conferences

In February and March, more than 450 youth from across Minnesota gathered to participate in the annual 4-H Building Leadership and Understanding (BLU) youth leadership conferences. The five regional two-day BLU leadership events were filled with exciting and fun activities that help youth learn and practice valuable leadership skills that they will be able to take back with them to their counties and communities, and use throughout their lives.

This year’s conference theme was, “The Diamond Within,” which was selected by the 4-H ambassadors because they believe one of the most important things youth can do is to learn about themselves. Fun and engaging activities guided participants in exploring self-awareness, learning about their personalities, how this insight can help youth work with others more effectively, and healthy ways to deal with the stresses they face in their daily lives. There was also plenty of time dedicated to meeting new friends and having fun, with skits, singing, dancing and games designed and facilitated by the ambassadors to help youth participants get to know one another and have a good time.

Using a youth-teaching-youth model, the 4-H BLU leadership conferences are developed and led by 4-H State Ambassadors, Minnesota 4-H youth who have been selected to serve as spokespeople for 4-H, and to educate youth and adults about the importance of youth development, leadership, citizenship, service, teamwork, and other invaluable life skills.

“One of 4-H’s priorities is to provide citizenship and leadership experiences that guide youth in building relationships, developing communication techniques, and strengthening organizational skills,” said Jacquie Lonning, Extension 4-H Citizenship & Leadership state program director. “Through these experiences, youth have the opportunity to learn about themselves, and learn about others, to make a positive impact in their club, home, school, or community.”

Meeker County had two youth participate, Ashley and Arnie Gruenes of Richmond. Their mom, Kris, chaperoned.

One of our Meeker County participants, Ashley Gruenes said that “It was a great retreat, we learned about stress and met some new friends.”

Arnie Gruenes, also from Meeker County said “BLU is a great time, we worked in small groups and learned how to work with other people. And I encourage everyone to attend either BLU or YELLO!”

To learn more about 4-H in Meeker County, contact 4-H Program Coordinator, Darcy Cole, at (320) 693-5275, and visit the website,