BROOKINGS — A group of 16 teens from across South Dakota has been selected to serve as the 2020-2021 State 4-H Ambassador team.

Throughout their term, the group of ambassadors will serve as positive role models to other 4-H members throughout the state as they advocate for 4-H and the opportunities it provides youth to better themselves and those in their communities through hands-on projects and activities, adult mentorship and more.

Area individuals selected to serve for the 2020-2021 term include Maggie DeMers of Tripp County, Nicolette Hoffman of Douglas County, Isabelle Mairose of Brule County, Ella Stiefvater of McCook County and Logan Tlam of Davison County,

Other South Dakota representatives include Dillon Browning of Brown County, Grace DiGiovanni of Turner County, Brianna Duerre of Day County, Matea Gordon of Lawrence County, William Karels of Grant County, Hayden Niles of Day County, Cassie Richarz of Hamlin County, Emily Robbins of Brookings County, Isaac Sousa of Grant County, Taylor Storbakken of Marshall County, and Colton Wicks of Lake County.

Applicants must be a registered 4-H member in good standing between the ages of 14 and 18. All applicants must submit the necessary application materials and complete an interview at the South Dakota State Fair with a committee of industry professionals and State 4-H Ambassador Program co-advisors Hilary Risner, SDSU Extension Regional 4-H Youth Program Advisor, and Amber Erickson, SDSU Extension 4-H Youth Development Field Operations Coordinator. Current ambassadors wanting to serve another term must re-apply each year, regardless of their returning status.

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Once selected to serve in this role, the ambassadors are expected to:

  • Serve to support the 4-H program through public relations;

  • Function as a positive role model for youth in South Dakota;

  • Abide by the South Dakota 4-H Code of Conduct both during and outside of 4-H events;

  • Continually strive for improvement by serving as an agent of change;

  • Promote inclusion and respect for diversity across 4-H;

  • Utilize skills and knowledge gained through 4-H to engage youth in educational activities; and

  • Proactively engage in youth-adult partnerships.

Each team member will create a State 4-H Ambassador action plan, facilitate an educational opportunity for youth and serve as an ambassador for one of the four program priority areas of agriculture, health and wellness, leadership, and science.

To fill his educational opportunity requirement, Tlam, a second-year ambassador, has chosen to facilitate and host a podcast series that will be circulated on a variety of platforms throughout his community and the South Dakota 4-H organization.

“My personal goal for this 2020-2021 term is to influence youth’s knowledge in agricultural literacy and careers by providing educational opportunities,” said Tlam. “My educational opportunity will be a podcast series about agricultural literacy, and the topics will revolve around agriculture and nutrition, environment, animals, lifestyle, technology and the economy.”

Members of the team also have the opportunity to serve on either the marketing or Teen Leadership Conference committees. Throughout their term, the marketing committee will continue to build promotion and awareness efforts of the 4-H program, while gaining valuable life skills in the areas of marketing and communications. The Teen Leadership Conference committee will work closely with 4-H staff to plan and implement the 2021 Teen Leadership Conference, all while gaining event planning experience.

“I first heard about the South Dakota State 4-H Ambassador Program when I attended the 4-H Teen Leadership Conference this past year, and thought it would be a great opportunity to further my growth as a leader and help promote 4-H,” said Nicolette Hoffman, a newly-selected ambassador. “I am now on the Teen Leadership Conference committee, and I'm looking forward to helping plan the conference this year, as it has had such a positive impact on me the past two years I attended.”

Additionally, team members are presented a variety of supplemental leadership and service opportunities that include shadowing a state legislator or industry professional, representing 4-H at a community and/or industry event, interviewing with news and media outlets to discuss the impact of 4-H, writing letters to the editor promoting 4-H, creating a promotional 4-H video and serving on a state 4-H committee.

The objectives of the State 4-H Ambassador program are to prepare individuals to serve in roles as leaders, mentors and problem solvers, enhance their skills in communication, public speaking and critical thinking, focus on fundamental life skills, develop skill-specific career exploration, and provide positive youth-adult partnerships.