Author Archives: msbreen

4-H Marshall Mentor Program

Written by Tonya Price, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, 4-H

The University of Missouri Extension has launched a new Bullying Prevention/Character Education Mentor Program. Missouri 4-H, partnering with Marshall the Miracle Dog, developed a social-emotional positive behavior curriculum, The Marshall Mentor Program. This program helps youth understand the importance of empathy, strengths, courage, perseverance, kindness, and forgiveness while challenging them to implement these traits in their daily lives.

The program utilizes teen mentors to deliver Marshall the Miracle Dog’s cornerstone messages. Cyndi Willenbrock, who rescued Marshall fro a dangerous animal-hoarder said, “Marshall embodies what it means to ‘do good’ in the community and what it means to survive and thrive after being bullied or experiencing any of life’s tough challenges. Marshall’s messages inspire youth to find their voice and not give up five minutes before the miracle.

The 4-H Marshall Mentor Program curriculum has been fully vetted by National 4-H Council and includes two years of pilot programming in a wide variety of settings including: in-school/classroom enrichment programs, after school programs, 4-H summer camps, military family programs, 4-H life prison/detention programs, and a Community Empathy Training Program.

To ensure a successful launch of the program, trainings will be offered to 4-H faculty and staff members across the country. The training will be offered directly through Missouri 4-H and may be delivered virtually or in person. To learn more about this exciting social emotional program and Marshall the Miracle Dog, visit this recorded webinar from National 4-H Council:

After clicking on the link, register just as if the webinar is upcoming and you will be taken to the recording.  To see how Marshall is teaming up with 4-H, check out this video:


Virginia State University invites all interested and eligible youth to apply for the AgDiscovery 2017 summer program at Virginia State University. AgDiscovery is a fantastic summer program sponsored by USDA APHIS to help teenagers explore careers and opportunities in agriculture. There are several program focus areas at different universities across the country to consider, including one at Virginia State University.

At Virginia State University, participants will explore the Animal Science Program in the College of Agriculture and discover the essential interconnectivity of agricultural sciences in sustainable production and development. Activities will follow an animal science theme through the lens of sustainable and efficient food production amidst the shifting population growth needs and environmental pressures. Students will gain experience in the disciplines of animal science, aquaculture, and environmental science through a series of hands-on activities with small ruminants, farmed fish, on-farm processing, and field and laboratory research. Field trips and guest speakers provide exposure to a variety of related professions in agricultural production and research. Students will live in a university dormitory for the 2-week program that begins June 18th and ends July 1st. This program is facilitated by the Virginia State University (VSU) College of Agriculture/Agricultural Extension, with collaboration from USDA partners and industry representatives.

There is no cost to attend the AgDiscovery program as tuition, room and board, lab supplies, meals and activity fees are covered by APHIS. Students selected for the program are only responsible for the costs associated with traveling to the university campus on opening day and returning home at the conclusion of the program. Students applying to attend the program at Virginia State University must be age 14 to 17 and complete the application process provided in the link below. Applications must be postmarked by March 1, 2017 and mailed to the provided address. Applicants will be notified during the week of May 8, 2017 if they have been selected.

Please encourage everyone interested to find out more about the application requirements at:

Megan Cameron Shares Her National 4-H Congress Experience

Written by Megan Cameron, 2016 National 4-H Congress Delegate and 2016-2017 State 4-H Cabinet Vice President


During the 2016 Virginia 4-H Congress, I was waiting outside of the interview room with my portfolios and laptop. Weeks in advance, I prepared a nine-page resume containing every detail about my 4-H experience along with a slide show. When it was my turn, I came into the room, set up my laptop, shared my 4-H story with everyone, and answered some questions from my interviewers. A day later I received a letter informing me that 11 other delegates and I had been selected to attend the 2016 National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, Georgia.

National 4-H Congress started the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone brought pins that represented their state and traded with one other, which encouraged us to meet new people. Each night we had amazing guest speakers who motivated and empowered everyone in the audience. Throughout the week we attended a variety of exciting workshops, from Junk Drawer Robotics, to Healthy Gourmet, to even Dancing with the Stars. Our second night we had an international dinner and dance. We ate food from around the world and danced the night away. We also visited the Atlanta History Center and learned the basics to ballroom dancing and African dance. Our fourth day we spent most of our afternoon volunteering at multiple locations. My group visited an elementary school and taught 5th graders about cotton production. I was also able to tour the Atlanta CNN Headquarters and visit the Centennial Olympic Park.

National 4-H Congress was one of the most exciting and memorable weeks of my life. I became very close friends with many on that trip. I was also pushed outside of my comfort zone and became more outgoing. I urge other 4-Hers to apply to attend this wonderful event, for it is truly an amazing experience.

Opportunities for Youth 2017

Virginia Institute on Cooperative Education: March 31st-April 2nd, 2017

  • Free, all-expense paid conference. (travel arrangements are up to the participant)
  • For students ages 16-19 years old; see for more information
  • VICE is a three-day youth leadership conference
  • interactive, educational and entertaining
  • students enhance their business, teamwork, and leadership skills.
  • Hands-on with “the cooperative way of doing business
  • Features “Who’s Minding the Store”, a computerized, interactive, business-simulation game involving making business decisions for a fictional farm-supply store.
  • Scholarship Opportunity. $2,000, $1,500 and $1,000 awarded to the three top performers


Holiday Lake Forestry Camp: June 19-24, 2017

  • for students ages 13-16 years old; See for more information.
  • Holiday Lake Forestry Camp is ideal for students:
    – to explore and experience activities in forestry and wildlife related careers
    – who participate in 4-H/FFA teams, Envirothon competitions, or ecology clubs
    – to experience hands on learning about natural resources conservation
  • Sustainable Forest Management, Forest Ecology, Reforestation and Tree Improvement, Tree Measurement and ID, Environmental Protection, and Wildlife Management
  • Other learning experiences include a field trip to a local paper mill; urban forestry demonstrations; exploratory classes in topics such as forest fire equipment and tactics, wilderness survival, canoeing, archery, skeet marksmanship, and wood turning; and lead by Conservation Police Officers, arson investigators, and wildlife researchers.
  • Campers participate in a Lumberjack Field Day with group competition in crosscut sawing, log rolling, and other traditional outdoor skills contests.


Youth Conservation Camp: July 9-15, 2017

  • For students in grades 9-12 – Contact local SWCD for application, sponsorship provided
  • YCC is a week-long summer conservation camp for Virginia high school students held on the campus of Virginia Tech. The program brings together students for a week of learning about natural resources. Most of the instruction is hands-on and outdoors.
  • Find more info here:


VA Soil and Water Conservation District Scholarships

  • contact local SWCD for local scholarship opportunity
  • Scholarship program provides financial support to students in a college course curriculum
    related to natural resources or environmental conservation or agriculture and life sciences.
  • State Scholarship Deadline – March 24th.
  • Application available:

Outstanding Young Agriculturist Award – by Farm Bureau

  • The Outstanding Young Agriculturalist Award recognizes a high school junior or senior for
    outstanding academic, community and agricultural achievement. The award also encourages students to strive for leadership opportunities and involvement in the agriculture sector.
  • Scholarship awards for district, runner-up, and state winners
  • Applications due by March 31st
  • Find more info here:

Director Update

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are having a great summer of 4-H programming! It seems the work is never finished with junior camps, day camps, State 4-H Congress, clubs, fairs, and competitions. Each day you and your volunteers are having a positive impact in your community. I appreciate your passion and dedication.

Thanks to all of you who attended State 4-H Congress and worked to make it a huge success. Plan now to recruit members for the 2017 State 4-H Congress to be held June 12-15.

Congratulations to those listed below who received 4-H Foundation Innovative Programming grants of $1,000 each. The funds have been transferred to your foundation account. Please extend congratulations to your peers and ask them about their great programming.

Reginald Morris
Science Days: Past, Present, Future

Thomas Woodson
Amelia County Science Fair Program

Kevin Irvin
Electrical Snap Circuit Kits

Caitlin Verdu and Reginald Morris
Master 4-H Volunteer Training

Jonette Mungo
Carroll County Chronicles

Bethany Eigel
Watershed Camp and 4-H Fair Exhibition to Grow 4-H Science

Samantha Nagurny
4-H Food Challenge – Curriculum Evaluation and Program Plan

Samantha Nagurny
4-H VEX Robotics Team

Sarah Pratt
Cool, Calm, and Collected: Youth Relaxation and Stress Management

Sarah Crews
Creating Mobile Maker Stations for In-School STEM Programming

Drexel Pierce
Career and Workforce Prep Academy

Drexel Pierce
4-H Healthy Living Camp

Christina Murray, Helen Doughty, and Ursula Deitch
Bugging Out! Cloverbud Day Camp

Tara Brent and Trent Jones
Youth Agriculture Safety Day

Nicole Clem
Shooting Education Club

Cathy Howland and Sarah Crews
JMG: Farm to Table 4-H Summer Day Camp

Hermon Maclin
Virginia Youth Voices 4-H Digital Media Program

Chris Lichty and Morgan Paulette
Pulaski County 4-H Embryology

Jenny Kapsa
Rappahannock County 4-H Life Skill Workshop Series

Alyssa Walden
Reading Make Cents

LaSonya White
Don’t Throw Away Our Future Recycling Program

Crystal Peek
Washington County 4-H – 5th Grade Math Bowl

Wendy Herdman
4-H Water Wizard Day Campers Serve as Citizen Scientists

Kelsey Grimes
Cultivation of Creativity and STEM Education in Wythe County

National 4-H Week is October 1-7 with National 4-H Youth Science Day on October 5th. Please be on the lookout for the National 4-H Toolkit to help you with promotion. This year we will emphasize “4-H Grown”. Hopefully we can reconnect with our 4-H alumni around the country. Encourage your alumni to sign up at Our alumni will be shared with us on a regular basis.

Virginia 4-H has become a primary partner with in the Virginia Tech Science Festival to be held at Virginia Tech on October 8, 2016. The program is geared to youth ages 6-17 and will offer over 40 hands-on science exhibits. Please consider becoming an exhibitor and also sharing the event information with your 4-H families. There is no admission charge. For more information or to sign up as an exhibitor, please visit the following link:

Please find attached the Virginia 4-H Foundation Summer Newsletter, enjoy and share as you wish.

As a reminder, please be sure to enter all member and leader information into 4-HOnline. This provides the record of your program, produces your ES237 report, and rolls into the Virginia 4-H ES237. It is very important to document the work you have done throughout the year with young people in your unit. Should you have questions, please contact Tonya Price.

Thank you for your continued work to create nurturing environments with caring adults, ultimately building strong young leaders throughout our state!


Cathy M. Sutphin, PhD
Associate Director, 4-H
115 Hutcheson Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Spring Judging School

You are invited to the Virginia Spring Judging School to be held Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Caroline County, Virginia. Registration starts at 9:00 a.m.; the program concludes at 2:30 p.m. The purpose of the judging school is to train and certify judges for county fairs, the State Fair of Virginia, and other home goods and related competitions throughout Commonwealth.

To prepare individuals for evaluating indoor exhibits.
To help individuals gain a greater understanding of state and local fairs and the educational opportunities they present..
To increase the knowledge of state and local fair judges regarding different evaluation systems and procedures.
To create awareness in judges regarding a positive experience for the exhibitors.
To develop a pool of certified judges.

Classes include Houseplants, Vegetables/ Fruits, Baked Goods, Refinish/Refurbish/Repurpose, Quilts and more. Participants should have some knowledge of the subject area they plan to register for and are encouraged to bring samples to be discussed in the class. All participants must agree to be listed in a Fair Judging School Directory and be willing to judge at state and local fairs and other events.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain practical knowledge of fair judging. Go here Judging School Spring 2016 to find more details about the class schedule and how to register.
Enjoy the day!


La Wanda (Pegi) Wright, M.Ed., CFCS-HDFS | Extension Agent| Unit Coordinator
Family and Consumer Sciences | Family and Human Development
Virginia Cooperative Extension | Virginia Tech | Virginia State University
10087 Kings Highway | King George, VA 22485 | 540-775-3062
109 County Street | P.O. Box 339 | Bowling Green, VA 22427 | 804-633-6550|

New Contest at Expo-Beef Challenge

Dear Colleagues –

Please check out the opportunities right around the corner!

1. We are excited for a new contest at Expo called Beef Challenge (April 15). Registration and Rules attached.

Virginia Beef Challenge

2. Also, we invite All Virginia counties with 4-H Livestock Programs to participate in the Northern District Livestock Judging Contest (May 14). Information is attached. Register by May 6th.
Northern District Livestock Judging packet 2016

Beef Challenge Rules 2016

Please let me know as you have questions!

Dara Booher, M.Agr.
Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development
965 Pleasant Valley Road
Harrisonburg, VA 22801-9630
Phone: 540/564-3080
Fax: 540/564/3093

“I think a good teacher of young children should try to be all-seeing, rather than all-knowing; a good listener, rather than a constant talker. The emphasis should be on observation and interpretation, rather than relying on past experience for solving every problem that arises.”
~Carol Hillman

Director’s Update

Hi Everyone,

I hope your spring programming is going well. It was great to see a record number of young people competing this past weekend at the B&B contests. It was equally exciting to be able to interact with new VCE faculty this week at their orientation. During the discussion, I shared with agents that in addition to the Virginia and National 4-H Curriculum, they could find some great resources in the National Directory of 4-H Educational Materials. I have attached some information on this. You can search by subject matter and you can also find the process for posting materials that you would like to share. The link will take you to my4-H and you will be asked to register to view materials.

While on check out common measures under resources. Common Measures is helping 4-H continually improve programs so that we can reach even more young people with a life-changing 4-H experience. It assesses the impact of 4-H through science, healthy living, citizenship and college/career readiness. These evaluation measurements also assist in cross-program comparison by allowing various programs to be examined on similar outcomes and outputs. The common measures have been placed into VCE Qualtrics surveys. To get started using these in your programming efforts visit .

I want to thank those working as part of a VCE program team. The teams are making great progress and are bringing the VCE programming process to life at the state level. I would encourage you to explore the teams and their work at . Further, under new leadership, the university is embarking on some key initiatives which I think align very nicely with our programming efforts. If you have not heard of the Virginia Tech Destination Areas, please take a few minutes to scan the site . I am enthusiastic about the new partnerships forming campus-wide and that both the President and Provost see Extension as a valuable asset to the University in serving citizens across the state.

Finally, in case you are not Facebook friends with Ruth Wallace or Reggie Morris, I included a picture below. Reggie, Ruth, Kathleen Jamison, Ozzie Abaye, and Tom Archibald are part of our VCE team currently working in Senegal, engaging youth and adults in 4-H positive youth development. I could not be more proud!

4-H Grows in your community, in Virginia, in our country, and indeed throughout the world!

VCE Team Working in Senegal

VCE Team Working in Senegal

Remember to schedule time for yourself. I know from experience spring in the local Extension office and 4-H Centers can be extremely busy.

Thanks for all you do,


Cathy M. Sutphin, PhD
Associate Director, 4-H
115 Hutcheson Hall
Blacksburg, VA 24061