From meat tasting workshops to the 4-H State Conference, Colorado 4-H youth find their spark at CSU

4Hers pose with Cam
4-Hers pose with Cam the Ram during the 4-H State Conference.

This past winter, 4-Hers learned about meat tasting and the factors that affect flavor. Over twenty Park County 4-H high schoolers came to CSU’s Fort Collins campus to attend a meat tasting workshop with Jennifer Martin, assistant professor in the College of Agricultural Sciences and CSU Extension meat specialist. With her guidance, students participated in a hands-on learning experience about sensory and taste testing, consumer preferences and nutrition.

For Colorado 4-H member Olivia Zuber, the experience at CSU was one-of-a-kind.

“I learned so much more than I thought I would,” she said. “Dr. Martin took us on a tour, and we got to learn all about what they do and how the process begins and ends. I can’t wait to do it again next year with my fellow 4-Hers. I got to learn all about how different parts of the body of a steer have different flavors. It was so much more than expected.”

Martin understands the impact these educational opportunities have on young people. Although she originally wanted to pursue a career in policy outside of agriculture, after taking an intro to Meat Science class at Texas Tech University she found her calling. The opportunity to make connections with young people, and help them explore their passions, is what brought Martin to CSU.

“One of our goals is to teach the safe, ethical and responsible care for animals,” said Barbie Garnett, CSU Extension Park County director. “Coming to CSU’s campus, the youth learned more about the work of CSU’s Center for Meat Safety and Quality and the steps taken to ensure consumers have continued dependable access to safe, high quality and affordable products.”

Hands-on workshops are just one way that CSU Extension works to create enriching opportunities for students across Colorado and are also a key element of the annual 4-H State Conference.

Colorado 4-H State Conference creates statewide connections

4-Hers take part in a group activity during the 4-H State Conference.

Over four days in June, more than 300 youth came to CSU’s Fort Collins campus to participate in the 2022 Colorado 4-H State Conference. They strengthened and showed off their skills in categories like food judging, public speaking, and horse demonstrations.

“This is the premier leadership development event for Colorado 4-H,” said Trent Hollister, 4-H youth development and volunteer leadership specialist for CSU Extension. “It’s the culmination of the state officers’ leadership and the kickoff for the new officers’ year.”

These state competitions determine who will represent Colorado at national 4-H events. Through workshops, participants learn about and make connections across CSU’s colleges.

“Making New 4-H Connections at CSU”, a workshop put on by the Office of Engagement and Extension, helped give 4-Hers the tools they need to make their dreams a reality. The workshop participants brainstormed their dream jobs and heard stories of how Emily Moore, a recruitment & engagement assistant, and Kyle Yates, a student success coach, got to where they are today, giving the participants real-life examples of how to achieve their goals.

In addition, students received advice on how to market themselves and make lasting connections through networking from Nancy Deller, CSU’s associate vice president of marketing and communications, and Patrick Krza, director of community engagement & fan experience for CSU athletics. This workshop and others like it gave 4-Hers valuable tools to turn their leadership experiences into impactful career opportunities.

Danielle Bogner, District 4 president and state secretary, described her experience with 4-H leadership as a dream come true.

“The opportunities presented by Colorado 4-H have helped to grow me into the leader and person I am today,” she said. “I have formed relationships with my team and made lifelong friendships. I have been honored to be a part of the Colorado 4-H senate.”

About CSU Extension

Colorado State University Extension empowers Coloradans to address important and emerging community needs using dynamic, science-based educational resources. For over 100 years, CSU Extension has helped people in Colorado find the answers they need for a healthy home life, successful businesses, and thriving community.  Part of the CSU Office of Engagement and Extension, we bring the university’s educational programs, services and resources across Colorado and beyond, empowering individuals and communities to thrive through learning.

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About Colorado 4-H

4-H is America’s largest youth development organization. Colorado 4-H serves over 110,000 youth annually, helping them to become confident, independent, resilient and compassionate leaders. For over 100 years, Colorado 4-H has provided experiences where young people learn by doing in hands-on projects in areas including health, science, agriculture and citizenship. Colorado 4-H is delivered by CSU Extension.

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