4-H Exchange Program helps kids explore the country
A few years ago members of Dodge County 4-H started a sub group in order to learn about about different parts of the country and to specifically learn about how 4-H is different from state to state.
Kelly Vincelette, Dodge County 4-H Coordinator had done this program in other counties and helped promote it along with helping organizing the idea.
Since then they have traveled to Virginia, Pennsylvania and most recently Kansas.
The way the program works is that the group matches up with a 4-H group from a different state and then they spend a week in that visiting places that are unique to each state.
This summer the group 4-H group that they stayed with in Kansas will be traveling to Dodge County to learn about what makes Minnesota 4-H so unique and will travel to different unique Minnesota places.
While the final plans for this year’s trip isn’t finalized some of the things that they have in mind include visiting the State Fair Fairgrounds, going to the famous Mall of America and the Spam Museum just to name a few.
While the group was in Kansas last summer they learned some of the differences when it comes to 4-H in Kansas compared to Minnesota.
For example instead of the State Fair being the biggest event in Kansas the big honor is being able to participate in their state camp.
One of the most important things that the organizers for the 4-H Exchange Program, in Dodge County pointed to is the fact that the kids don’t only learn about new things but also make new friends around the country.
“It’s amazing to see the bonds they make the first night, and they become lifelong friends,” the organizers said.
Just like an exchange student the students coming from a different state stay with a host family for the week.
One of the stipulations of the program is that the host group needs to raise the necessary funds to host the students and to have funds for different activities throughout the week.
Since they have started the program in Dodge County, they have had various fundraisers and will continue to do so again this year leading up to Kansas kids coming to Minnesota this summer.
While it is a-lot of hard work organizing the program and fundraising the organizers said it is always well worth it.
“It’s a great way to explore the country, it’s a lot of hard work to do fundraising but it is well worth it.”