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4-H'ers Honored for Learning, Practicing Healthful Habits
North Dakota Ag Connection - 09/14/2020

4-H'ers from clubs throughout North Dakota were recognized for incorporating nutrition, fitness and health activities into their club meetings in 2019-20.

The fourth "H" in 4-H stands for "health," and 28 4-H clubs from 13 counties are making healthful habits part of the culture of their clubs. They were designated as Healthy North Dakota 4-H Clubs for the year.

The 4-H clubs, with a total of 588 members, earned the special recognition of being "healthy clubs" by meeting the criteria. Twelve clubs also earned extra recognition for completing the Family Mealtime Challenge.

"Despite a challenging time in 2020 with the pandemic, these club members continued practicing healthy habits," says Julie Garden-Robinson, North Dakota State University Extension food and nutrition specialist and Healthy North Dakota 4-H Clubs program coordinator. "They did outreach in their communities, as well as learning valuable life skills from their club leaders, parents and other club members."

The program also provides leadership opportunities for teenage 4-H'ers; they can serve as role models for younger members.

To earn the Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club recognition, clubs are required to incorporate at least one nutrition or fitness activity into a minimum of five regular meetings during the year.

This was the 13th year some clubs were named a Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club. Each club member received a certificate of recognition and a small prize that promotes a healthful lifestyle.

"When I first approached our members about participating in the 4-H Healthy Club, I got some blank looks and maybe a turn up of the nose," says LeAnn Cargo, 2019-20 leader of the Happy Neighbors 4-H Club in McHenry County. "Then I explained to them that I wasn't going to make them eat broccoli and do sit-ups. We made it fun for them."

One of their activities was bowling. The parents in charge of snacks brought a healthful snack mix, granola bars and water. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, club members and their families continued to practice healthful activities, including in-line skating, walking, gardening, bike riding, and doing farm and ranch chores, and eating healthful snacks. "I was proud of them for sticking with it even though our 4-H year wasn't what we are used to." Cargo says.

Another club chose community service as one of its activities.

"As a club, we love to give back to our community," says Jessi Polensky, leader of the Badlands Edge Club from Stark and Billings counties. "Badlands Edges love hosting our homemade Veteran's Day meal for our vets on Nov. 11. Then in December, we continue the joy and come together to make cookie plates to spread holiday cheer."

The clubs recognized this year are by county, number of members and number of years they have received the Healthy North Dakota 4-H Club recognition, and whether they completed the Family Mealtime Challenge. The challenge encouraged families to set a goal for weekly family meals. The 4-H'ers tracked the number of family meals they ate for a month.

Adams - High Plains 4-H, eight members, two years

Burleigh - Dynamite Kids 4-H, 17 members, seven years; Clover Cakes, 13 members, one year, completed Family Mealtime Challenge

Cass - Kindred Sandburs, 40 members, seven years, completed Family Mealtime Challenge; Cass County Crusaders, 24 members, one year; Valley Adventures, 21 members, 12 years, completed Family Mealtime Challenge; Rainbow Kids, 16 members, one year, completed Family Mealtime Challenge; Lucky Clover Buddies, 11 members, one year, completed Family Mealtime Challenge; Uniters, six members, 12 years; The Valley 4-H, nine members, completed Family Mealtime Challenge

Divide - Flickertails 4-H, 32 members, 13 years

LaMoure - LaMoure Clover Leafs, 22 members, seven years; Sow and Sews, 18 members, one year

McHenry - Happy Neighbors 4-H Club, 40 members, one year, completed Family Mealtime Challenge; Balfour Roughriders, 34 members, seven years; Velva Guys & Gals 4-H Club, 20 members, one year, completed Family Mealtime Challenge

McLean - Max Pax 4-H Club, 23 members, one year, completed Family Mealtime Challenge

Morton - Missouri Valley Bunch, 26 members, 13 years

Ramsey - Royal Rowdies, 21 members, one year; 4-Leaf Friends 4-H Group, 19 members, one year

Ransom - Aliceton 4-H, 36 members, nine years, completed Family Mealtime Challenge; Heart and Soul, 26 members, four years; Tri-County Ag 4-H, 25 members, seven years; Sandy Critters 4-H Club, nine members, one year

Richland - Helping Hands, 10 members, four years, completed Family Mealtime Challenge

Stark-Billings - Badlands Edge, 10 members, one year

Stutsman - Prairie Pals, 34 members, one year; Country Kids, 18 members, three years, completed Family Mealtime Challenge

4-H clubs interested in participating in the 2020-21 North Dakota Healthy 4-H Clubs program should contact their county office of NDSU Extension or visit the website at

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