Join Our Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Massachusetts 4-H Foundation Announces New Board Members for 2022-23

The Massachusetts 4-H Foundation’s Board of Trustees has elected three new trustees and one new corporator for the 2022-23 year at its Annual Meeting held on May 10, 2022. Phil Trotter, Lindsey Larson, and Dr. Carey Leckie were elected as trustees, and John Lindquist was elected as a corporator.

Phil Trotter is a retired healthcare executive and built the claims operations department at Multigroup Healthplan (later Harvard Community Health Plan). Phil also held leadership positions at Healthcare Administrative Partners and Dedham Medical Associates. He completed his professional career as the Director of Revenue Cycle at Massachusetts Eye & Ear. Phil has served on the Board of Trustees for the Walker School, Big Brother Big Sister, and Friends of the Council on Aging in Dover. He has a strong interest in advancing opportunities for children in underserved populations throughout Boston.

 

Lindsey K. Larson works as an Economist in the Agricultural and Food Global Practice of the World Bank. Her interest in sustainable agriculture began in the Massachusetts 4-H Program, where she raised prizewinning dahlias as a member of the Flora, Fauna, and Feathers Club. After graduating with her BA from Dartmouth College, she worked for the National Geographic Society and World Wildlife Fund.

Lindsey earned both her Master’s of Environmental Management and MBA from Yale University. She worked in sustainable finance before joining the World Bank in 2019. Lindsey is a Social Entrepreneurship Fellow at the Jacobs Foundation, Lindsey serves on the Board of Restore Mass Ave, the Board of Advisors of the Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, and the Grants Advisory Committee of the We Mean Business Coalition.

 

Dr. Carey Leckie OT, OTD, OTR, CHT is an Occupational Therapist/Certified Hand Therapist currently employed as an associate academic fieldwork coordinator at Springfield College. As the leader of the K-9 Wizards 4-H Dog Club, she works with youth aged 5-19 to foster skills in leadership, public speaking, and emotional intelligence, while providing opportunities for members to improve dog knowledge and skills with their canine partners.

 

 

John Lindquist lives in Upton and is the owner of Lindquist Electric. He and his wife also run Town Line Farm, where they sell grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, pork and lamb, seasonal
vegetables, and local products such as milk, honey, and maple syrup. A longtime supporter of the
Shirley Kane Memorial Golf Tournament, he loves 4-H and is happy to join as a Corporator.

 

 

The Massachusetts 4-H Foundation Names Carrie Myers as Its New Executive Director

The Massachusetts 4-H Foundation appointed Carrie Myers to serve as its Executive Director, effective January 3, 2022. Myers brings over 20 years of experience in fundraising and delivering programs to youth development organizations. Most recently, she served as Director of Advancement for the North Carolina Outward Bound School where she led and consolidated the development, communications, sales, and marketing teams. She designed and implemented a comprehensive, results-oriented advancement plan. Myers previously held leadership positions with the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont Council and the YMCA of Greater Toledo. She has also consulted with various organizations with a focus on strategic planning and professionalizing their fundraising programs.

Steve Borgeson, President of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, commented, “We are thrilled to have Carrie join the Foundation. She has deep fundraising and program experience with mission-driven nonprofits. Carrie will, among other things, reorganize and rejuvenate the Foundation’s fundraising efforts and advance the Foundation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion both at the Board level and in the 4-H youth development programs the Foundation helps to fund.”

Borgeson continued: “I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the excellent work of the Board’s Executive Director Search Committee led by Trustees Erika Prahl and Ashley Randle, as well as the team of Jodi Dowling and Mimi Brunelle from TSNE MissionWorks who guided us through the search, hiring, and onboarding process with great skill and patience.

Myers, who holds a B.S. from the University of Mount Union and an M.Ed. from the University of Toledo, is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). She will lead an accomplished staff of three with the goal of redesigning and refocusing the Foundation’s advancement program. She noted: “I am pleased to join the Foundation at this pivotal

point in its history and to work with the Foundation’s Trustees and Staff and the 4-H leadership and educators at UMass Extension. I look forward to strengthening the annual giving program, creating new relationships with funding sources, forging innovative partnerships, and growing the $8.9 million endowment.

Myers added, “I am excited to play an integral role in growing and enhancing the Foundation’s commitment to support young people through helping to fund a variety of inclusive, accessible programs. I am impressed that 4-H has developed a broad base of experiential learning curricula on topics ranging from the traditional animal and agricultural sciences to climate change, food safety, global food security, sustainable living, and STEM programs in robotics and coding.”

Established in 1955, the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation’s mission is to enrich and advance 4-H youth development programs throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 4-H is America’s largest youth development organization open to all young people ages 5 through 18. The organization empowers young people to be confident, resilient, and curious participants and leaders in the active work of life.

Following her Vision

4-H Alumna Lindsey Larson shares her experiences working at the World Bank

Many years ago, 4-H alumna Lindsey Larson came to the realization that it was important to promote the dignity of farmers. This belief drew her to a successful career in conservation and sustainable finance, in which people make investments with the intention of generating positive social and environmental impact along with a financial return, such as by promoting farming.

Lindsey’s experience eventually led her to the World Bank, where she works as an Economist in the Agriculture and Food Global Practice, connecting the concepts of healthy economy, healthy planet, and healthy people.  This past summer, Lindsey met with 4-H members and staff via Zoom as part of Massachusetts 4-H’s Career Exploration series.

The World Bank was founded in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference following World War II, Lindsey explained to the Zoom attendees.  As the largest development bank in the world, the World Bank works today to alleviate global poverty and promote shared prosperity throughout the world.

In her unit that manages $20 billion in projects worldwide, Lindsey works on two major initiatives. Through the Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration Impact Program, she supports projects that promote sustainable production of food and commodities such as coffee, cocoa, corn, and others.  She also leads an initiative called “Enabling the Business of Agriculture,” which analyzes how “friendly” countries are to their farmers and ranks them accordingly.

Farmers can often be vulnerable, relying on unpredictable harvests as their primary source of income, Lindsey explained. Farmers who want to transition to new, sustainable production practices often face large, upfront investments. While farmers in developing countries can get loans, the interest rates are often sky-high.

The World Bank develops solutions to reduce the uncertainties of the farming profession by addressing systemic risks (for example, creating insurance for crops ruined by bad weather) and focusing on ways to reduce costs in financing smallholder farms. These efforts support commercial banks in offering loans to farmers at reasonable rates.

According to Lindsey, the World Bank also supports access to data, such as statistics for weather monitoring. “There are increasingly better tools today, which lead to better data, which should lead to better decisions,” explained Lindsey.

Working toward such important goals can come with tricky moments. “It’s really difficult work,” explained Lindsey. “You may have a goal that seems simple and altruistic, but when you get into the weeds of these projects, things come up that you never thought of.” Much of the World Bank’s initiatives, said Lindsey, succeed by changing behavior in developing countries. “You have to get the right decisionmaker’s interest captured,” noted Angelica Paredes, 4-H Educator.

Lindsey’s decisions took root in her childhood, when she was an enthusiastic member of the Flora, Fauna and Feathers Club in Topsfield. She spent about 8 years in 4-H, showing Heritage breeds of poultry and growing up to 200 dahlias per year. In addition to wonderful memories, 4-H provided Lindsey with attributes that would serve her in good stead throughout her life, including confidence in her passions, as well as leadership and interpersonal skills. “4-H left me with a lot of lifelong skills and an appreciation for the natural world.”Lindsey urged 4-Hers to keep an open mind by listening and learning from others. She recommended they seek help from potential mentors. “Send emails asking for informational interviews and develop relationships,” advised Lindsey. “You never know where that connection might lead. Say yes to every opportunity, and build your network.”

Most importantly, Lindsey encouraged the young people to dream big about their future vocations, as she once did. “Think about your vision for the world…I’ve always been interested in agriculture due to the environmental impact, and to promote the value of human dignity. The decisions I make in my job make a huge difference toward those things.”

 

4-H Warms the Heart

4-H Educator Cathy Acampora is pictured with 4-Hers April, Mary and Anna, delivering their packages to MaryAnn Mendes, Volunteer Coordinator at Father Bill’s & Mainspring.

Part of 4-H includes empowering youth to make their communities better. So when Cathy Acampora, Administrative Assistant in the Plymouth County office, saw a need to help the homeless in Fall 2020, she didn’t hesitate to help.  This is how “4-H Warms the Heart,” a program that involved Plymouth County 4-Hers in making nearly 900 packages of warm winter items for the homeless, was born.

The name “4-H Warms the Heart” originated from the featured body part in the 4-H pledge of Head/Heart/Hands/Health. The gloves in the package will warm the recipients’ hands, but the kindness will warm their hearts, said Cathy.

The ambitious project involved more than 60 4-H youth from 16 different 4-H clubs in 10 different towns. Cathy directed the kids to wrap either fleece scarves and blankets into packages with gloves, socks, lotions, or kids’ crafts, tied up with a ribbon and accompanied by a warm note.  She also made approximately 150 similar packages herself.

The packages eventually warmed guests at Bethesda House, Conway House, Friends of the Homeless of South Shore, Otis Air Force Base, L Street Mission, and several other organizations that support the homeless.

Cathy was amazed at the youths’ generosity. “We actually had kids that did 40-50 scarf sets on their own,” she said. “We had kids who really went above and beyond.”

The project made a significant impact on the participating 4-Hers. Cathy asked the youth who had contributed the most packages to also assist in delivering them to those in need. “I wanted them to see part of the process so they could see their effect on people and how appreciative the recipients were.”

The idea certainly worked. Caroline, 18, and a member of Weir the Ponies Club in Hingham, enjoyed the service project. “It was really rewarding, it was really fun, and we were all really happy to do it.  It was incredible seeing all the (filled) bags together,” continued Caroline. “Everyone who received the packages was very happy to get them…..it was great helping those in need.”

Samantha, age 11 and a member of the Spirit Fingers Craft Club, also found the experience gratifying. “It was fun to make the packages because I knew I was doing something good. I made three boxes,” she said.  Leigh, Samantha’s mother, commented, “The project was a good way to kick off the virtual 4-H season.”

All the materials for the packages, including fleece, gloves, socks, ribbons and cardstock, were donated by Joann Fabrics, a longtime partner of the National 4-H Council.

“This partnership is a gift to so many,” said Cathy. “Our local store in Plymouth is so generous, and when we told them what we were doing with the fleece, they were so thrilled.” Cathy would like to repeat the project, if she can once again secure materials.

Massachusetts 4-H Embraces Technology during the Pandemic

Bristol, age 11, takes the 4-H Smart Show System for a whirl.

In a year like no other that required technology to learn as well as connect, Massachusetts 4-H embraced technological tools to keep youth engaged in the 4-H program and educate them simultaneously.  This reliance on technology held true for both 4-H educators planning their curriculum and 4-H clubs working on their projects.

Adrienne Card, leader of the Black Walnut 4-H Club, praised her club members’ experience with the 4-H Smart Show System, a fair preparation software. “They’ve learned lots of new things.”

Card explained that the 4-H Smart Show System, which the members began using in February 2021, enables them to study cattle, goats, chicken, pigs, rabbits and sheep. Card led the members in studying one animal each month.

The Black Walnut 4-H Club met virtually each Sunday throughout the late winter and spring to learn about their monthly animal.  Each animal’s module included several videos. The members watched a 5-8 minute video that covered “tools and tricks” such as caring for the animals or preparing them for the show ring.  The video would be followed by a 8-10 question interactive quiz.

Card believes the 4-H Smart Show System helped fill a gap for the club members during a challenging time. “It keeps them engaged, plus it reviews things that I don’t want them to forget,” she said.  “We’ve been very happy with it,” she said. “It’s another tool in our toolbox.” In fact, Card found the 4-H Smart Show System so beneficial that she demonstrated it at a meeting of 15 Middlesex County leaders.

Va Shon Wallace-Hiltpold, a 4-H educator from Suffolk, Middlesex, and Essex Counties, also leveraged technology during the pandemic to provide fun and learning for 4-H youth. Her choice of tool? Kahoot!

Kahoot: Learning by Gaming! hosts a learning platform, in the form of a game, in which several players compete by answering questions, often multiple-choice questions about a given topic. The game is designed so that a user logs in to a device (typically a smartphone) that is completely separate from the viewing device, often a laptop computer or tablet.

The players read the questions on the larger screen and enter their answers via their personal device. After all the players answer a question, Kahoot! displays the correct answer, and then tallies players’ points according to correct answer and response speed.  At the conclusion of the game, Kahoot! shares the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place podium winners sprinkled with a stream of confetti. The youth love Kahoot!, and as many have utilized it in school, it is familiar to them, explains Wallace-Hiltpold.

The Massachusetts 4-H program has featured Kahoot! in a couple of exciting ways over the past year. Wallace-Hiltpold and educator colleague Angelica Parades chose Kahoot! to check participants’ knowledge throughout Massachusetts 4-H’s Babysitter virtual training program. Massachusetts 4-H teens also participated in a “Northeast 4-H Teen Virtual Meet n’ Greet” back in February in which they mingled virtually and played Kahoot! games with other 4-Hers up and down the Eastern seaboard.

Wallace-Hiltpold noted that Kahoot! comes with built-in quizzes on many topics, saving the educators time.  “It’s a way for 4-H members to gain information they may or may not have heard of before,” said Wallace-Hiltpold. “It’s a really fun way of learning, so I don’t want to saturate the 4-H members with it too much!”

Because technical tools took center stage during the pandemic, 4-H will likely continue using many of them into the future, augmenting the hands-on programming the program is traditionally known for. “We need to look at what we’ve done that works well,” explains Linda Horn, Interim 4-H Director. Technology became a way for 4-H to expand its footprint throughout 2020-21.

2021 Kent Lage Awards Announced

The Annual Kent Lage Awards recognize aspiring 4-H leaders as they embark on their college careers. The awards are named for the late former president of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Kent Lage.

Catherine Bezio of Erving is the recipient of the 1st place Kent Lage Award and a $1,000 scholarship. Catherine will attend the University of Massachusetts-Amherst this fall, majoring in Animal Science.

Lydia Fitton-Alves of Barnstable is the recipient of the 2nd place Kent Lage Award and a $500 scholarship. Lydia will attend Merrimack College this fall, majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Science and Pre-Law.

Congratulations!

 

 

 

 

 

Unstoppable

For many people, a cancer diagnosis would prevent them from achieving lifelong goals. For 4-H alum Angelina Mangiardi, 26, however, her diagnosis at age 19 gave her more determination to reach her aspirations, set her on a path to her dream job at a nonprofit, and helped her pursue a life consistent with her values. Over the summer, she shared her story with current 4-H’ers as part of the Career Exploration Series via Zoom.

Growing up on a farm in Pittsfield, MA, Angelina joined 4-H at eight years old. She started out showing animals and making crafts. When Angelina became her club’s president, she learned to work on a team, create meeting agendas, and facilitate conversations. While 4-H provided her with leadership experience, her drive was all her own. “A lot of my speaking skills I gained through 4-H and visual presentations,” explained Angelina. “I would present on silly things, like towel origami, just to get comfortable speaking in front of people.”

After high school, Angelina left rural Western Massachusetts for New York City, where she pursued a degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology. It was in January of her second year that she learned she had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

While in treatment at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Angelina had time to think about what she wanted her future to look like. “What is the next step? What makes me happy? What is the next thing I could do that would give me purpose?”

Angelina knew that she wanted to return to her 4-H roots and spend time connecting with others outside. To begin, she decided to pursue a degree in Environmental Science, Policy, and Social Change at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. And she completed her college application from her hospital room.

While researching resources for cancer patients, Angelina stumbled upon First Descents, an organization that provides outdoor adventures like rock climbing and whitewater kayaking for young adults aged 18-39 impacted by cancer and other serious health conditions. When Angelina joined First Descents for rock-climbing in June 2015, she experienced a life-altering week. It was one of the first times she not only met people her own age with cancer, but also began to perceive herself differently. “People see you as capable and you’re not treated as a patient, but as someone who can do physical things,” she said.

In 2016, Angelina’s love of travel led her to study abroad in Tanzania , where she studied wildlife management and researched vultures. While in Tanzania, she also climbed the 19,341ft peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, a huge accomplishment for someone who was treated for cancer not two years before.

Angelina then joined AmeriCorps, an organization focused on public service work. She first traveled to Fairbanks, AK, where she spent seven months with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, running science camps and developing lesson plans for youth in grades K-12.

Angelina also worked as the Farm-to-School Coordinator at an immersion school on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. where she grew fresh food and developed a lunch program, teaching youth about nutrition and agriculture. While teaching the children, she also found herself enlightened. “Any experience you gain, traveling or studying, helps you figure out more about yourself and the world you’re in,” she explained at this summer’s Zoom session.

At the back of her mind, Angelina remembered her transformative experience with First Descents, based in Denver, Colorado.  “First Descents was where I experienced so much joy and healing myself,” she explained. “I started wondering how I could give back to them.”

As luck would have it, two days after her AmeriCorps service in Hawaii ended, she saw a job for a Program Coordinator on the organization’s website. She applied and was offered the job. In her role as a Program Coordinator, Angelina registers participants, follows up on medical paperwork, and soothes aspiring adventurers’ anxieties. She also makes program changes and develops adaptability guides for participants with a wide range of abilities and at all different points of treatment.. “I’m granted a lot of creativity and flexibility in my role,” said Angelina.

As for the future, Angelina intends to remain at First Descents for the foreseeable future. While oncology and Multiple Sclerosis programs have been put on hold due to the pandemic, Descents saw a need and recently launched trips for healthcare workers impacted by COVID-19.

Angelina has also revisited her early dreams and is once again pursuing her degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology online. She has an interest in studying adaptive clothing and seeing how the fashion industry can intersect with cancer, inspire people, and be inclusive of all different types of bodies. It may seem like a big ambition, but Angelina is ready. “If cancer and First Descents taught me anything, it’s that there will be times in life when I feel frozen by fear, but if I take one more step anyway, I can challenge myself to do things that seemed impossible at the start.”

If you are interested in First Descents, go to https://firstdescents.org and click on the “Join Us” button or email Angelina at [email protected]

Join Our Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.