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New 4-H Club focuses on STEM

Editors note: This is the last in a series of articles running through National 4-H Week, highlighting all the good things this organization does for youth.

Read part one here:  Teens learn and lead in 4-H

Read part two here:  Local 4-H Science of Ag teams heading for nationals

Read part three here:  4-H Livestock Ribbon Auction generates support

Read part four here:  4-H Shooting Sports and Wildlife program takes aim at life skills


Abigail Lopez waters plants at the garden at the Mower County Fairgrounds. The Live and Inspire Club worked with the Master Gardeners this summer to provide educational opportunities. Photo provided

By Kate Harrington

University of Minnesota Extension

At the start of each 4-H meeting, club members pledge their head, heart, hands and health to serving their community and the larger world. At the meeting of the Live and Inspire 4-H Club, members recite the pledge twice: once in English and once in Spanish.

The Live and Inspire Club is Mower County’s newest 4-H group. They meet weekly at the Ministerios Nuevo Pacto in Austin. Led by Jessica Vazquez, Mower County Extension 4-H STEM Coordinator, this club focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related activities. Since its inception as the first Latino club in Mower County earlier this year, 13 youth and 5 volunteers have been a part of the Live and Inspire club.

Nine of these newest 4-H members traveled to the Minnesota State Fair in August. They participated in the day-long Springboard Experience designed for new 4-H groups to showcase their knowledge and skills, hang out with Minnesota 4-H Ambassadors, continue their 4-H learning, and make new friends across Minnesota 4-H. While at the fair, the Live and Inspire Club showcased a display on pollinators.

While Austin’s Live and Inspire Club is new, 4-H clubs have been around since 1902. This club joins 11 other community clubs in Mower County. Most meet monthly and conduct business, complete services projects, work on individual and group projects, and have fun.

Some 4-H participants, which range from ages Kindergarten to one year out of high school, work with a variety of animals as part of their 4-H experience. But others participate in activities as diverse as the youths’ interests: arts and crafts, photography, shop projects, or anything else that the 4-Her is interested in.

“4-H is about giving youth an opportunity to explore what they’re passionate about and build the skills they need to lead now and in the future,” said Kate Harrington, Mower County Interim 4-H Program Coordinator.

To learn more about 4-H in Mower County, contact Interim 4-H Program Coordinator Kate Harrington, at 507-437-9552 and visit the website, www.4-H.umn.edu