About the Extension Center for Youth Development
The Extension Center for Youth Development is the only organization of its kind in Minnesota. By researching, training and delivering youth development programs, we help to create positive, out-of-school time, non-formal learning opportunities for young people throughout Minnesota.
We conduct research on positive youth development
The backbone of positive youth development programs is research. The Extension Center for Youth Development conducts and shares out-of-school time research and evaluation with policy makers, stakeholders, program leaders, decision makers and researchers to address important issues related to the field of youth development. We deliver:
- Original research of our own, and in partnership with others
- Evaluation studies to measure effectiveness and outcomes
- Public symposia, both traditional and online, presenting important youth development research and ideas
- Networking with youth development organizations in Minnesota, the United States and around the world
We provide training, education and tools for youth workers and leaders
Strong youth programs require strong youth development professionals. The Extension Center for Youth Development's Youth Work Institute provides research-based training and resources for adults who work with and on behalf of Minnesota's young people. Our experienced YWI faculty and staff provide individuals, teams and organizations with foundational youth development courses or specific topics such as program quality, fundraising, evaluation, youth engagement and cultural diversity.
Attend a scheduled course or contract with us to design something to fit your team or organization needs. We provide:
- Workshops & seminars
- Customized training
- Organization consultation & assistance
We deliver the Minnesota 4-H youth development program
4-H is the largest youth development program in the country. Founded in the land-grant college system and rooted in agriculture, Minnesota 4-H has grown to meet the needs and aspirations of today's youth. 4-H'ers can participate in clubs, special-interest groups, after-school programs, volunteering, civic engagement, community service, camping, and school enrichment. Projects and activities are offered in:
- Science, engineering and technology
- Citizenship and leadership
- Healthy living
- Animal science
Some 4-H'ers choose competitive projects, with county events leading to regional or state competition, including the state's crowning event - the Minnesota State Fair. 4-H'ers may also participate in the state horse or dog show held at the state fairgrounds annually, or the state wildlife and shooting sports competition.
4-H's research-based curriculum, experienced youth development staff and volunteers, and learn-by-doing approach help kids develop essential, transferrable skills they'll use throughout their lives. So whether 4-H'ers are building rockets, raising dairy cows or writing musical plays, they are learning the leadership, problem solving, decision making and communication skills they need to succeed.
We provide financial support for youth development programs through the Minnesota 4-H Foundation
Since 1980, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation has been supporting youth development through scholarships, grants and awards to 4-H youth and programs, and training for youth development professionals. In 2008, the Foundation gave more than $1 million to further the field of youth development and support youth projects. This money supports Extension's Minnesota 4-H and Youth Work Institute programs to help all Minnesota young people gain the life skills they need to succeed. The Foundation raises these funds through contributions from corporate and private foundations, and donations from individuals.