A family holds a rock found at nearby waterway

Extension Parent Education Program Joins Forces with 4-H

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A recent collaboration between NDSU Extension’s Parent Resource Centers and 4-H youth development programs created a unique opportunity to engage entire families in NDSU Extension programming.  

Thanks to funding from the North Dakota Department of Human Services, Extension parent educators in the western half of the state joined together to design a full-day educational retreat for parents. With additional support from NDSU Extension, they partnered with local Extension agents to add a 4-H youth development component for children of parents attending the retreat.  

The North Dakota 4-H camp near Washburn was the perfect setting for the parent and family retreat they envisioned.  

“It was fun to host an event at 4-H camp, where we were able to introduce kids to 4-H, provide parents with opportunities to learn and relax, and facilitate fun activities for families to do together,” says Jacey Wanner, Extension parent and family educator.  

In her role, Wanner’s goal is to equip parents with tools to confidently handle challenges and make parenting more enjoyable. At the retreat, she and fellow parent and family educator Deb Theurer led three educational sessions for parents, providing evidence-based parenting strategies and tips for giving clear directions, fostering positive characteristics in children, adjusting parenting based on the individual child, and empowering children through encouragement.  

Another important component of the parent sessions was the opportunity for attendees to connect in meaningful conversations with other parents.  

“Parents were able to bond over personal stories of parenting challenges and successes,” Wanner says. “Being able to share this with others who are going through something similar helps parents be better parents.”  

While parents were learning and connecting, the children were exploring all that 4-H Camp has to offer. The youth program included a mix of educational activities and outdoor fun.  

Kamile Moderegger, Extension agent in McLean County, was in charge of planning the 4-H youth activities. She and Metta Pfliger, Extension agent in Mercer County, led STEM activities and a hike around the camp to scout for animal tracks. The youth participants also had the chance to enjoy the camp’s obstacle course and sporting equipment.  

“This was a great opportunity to expose a new group of youth to the hands-on educational opportunities 4-H can provide,” says Moderegger. “The best part was seeing them enjoy the beautiful camp setting.” 

 In between the parent education lessons and 4-H activities, families reunited to share in meals and a family scavenger hunt around the camp.  

“At the end of the day, we wanted parents and guardians to go home feeling refreshed with good memories of time spent with their children and new tools to help them better enjoy being parents,” Wanner says. 


Jacey Wanner, 701-667-3342,