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Minnesota youth learns life skills through 4-H Agriculture Ambassador role

Kendra Blaschko is a 4-H Agriculture Ambassador for the state of Minnesota.

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Kendra Blaschko, 17, has been a 4-H Agriculture Ambassador for two years. She has enjoyed the friendships she has made during her time in 4-H and has learned many life skills along the way. Contributed photo

Kendra Blaschko did not grow up on a farm, but that did not stop her from experiencing all the 4-H organization has to offer.

Blaschko is currently in her 13th year of 4-H and has been a 4-H Agriculture Ambassador for the state of Minnesota for the past two years. Blaschko represents Le Sueur County as their ambassador.

According to Brian McNeil, a University of Minnesota Extension educator in youth development, the ambassadors play an integral role in the Minnesota 4-H organization.

“These young people are important to Minnesota 4-H because they share their interests and passions from their point of view. They can speak from their areas of interest showing the real impact of their experience in 4-H,” McNeil said. “These young people are able to share their interests and passions virtually and in person. They are from all over Minnesota and are able to speak to youth and adults.”

Some of the duties that ambassadors may do are helping support and assist in 4-H day camps and other opportunities at the Minnesota State Fair, speak to 4-H groups and other community groups about agriculture as well as 4-H, help with virtual and in-person agronomy efforts and much more.

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“I became an ambassador because I wanted to teach youth that there is more to 4-H than just farmers, corn and soybeans. I wanted to be able to give kids all the opportunities that I had when I was younger,” Blaschko said.

Blaschko said she has learned an array of skills though being an ambassador that she will take with her after she ages out of 4-H, such as her leadership skills, how to ethically care for her animals and how to respond to various questions about agriculture. However there is one take-away from her time in 4-H that outshines them all: the deep and lifelong friendships she has made through the organization.

While Blaschko did not grow up on a farm herself, her grandparents and other family members run a soybean and corn operation. In addition to the crops, the family raises show goats, a venture she is very passionate about.

“Goats are sort of my main priority in life right now,” she said. “I love baby goats, and yes, there are hard days and hard times with that, but there are also those enjoyable moments as well.”

The project has helped Blaschko create a stronger connection with her grandparents, who help with the herd as well. When she isn’t busy with the goat herd, she helps out on the farm however she can.

Blaschko is a senior at Tri-City United High School. Though she is not entirely sure about what she wants to do following graduation, she does know one thing: She wants to remain rooted in agriculture.

“I want ties to agriculture after I graduate," Blaschko said. "It has been such a big part of my life.”

Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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