National Collegiate 4-H

Thursday, July 20, 2006

National Action Board Voting Members Retreat

On July 13-16th, the voting members of the National Action Board (hereafter referred to as “NAB”), met at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, regarding the National Collegiate 4-H Organization. With goals such as team building, strategic planning, discussing the Collegiate 4-H Taskforce Report1, conducting a business meeting, and beginning work on organizational bylaws, the weekend’s agenda was set to address many issues in this short period of time.

Thursday, July 13th, was the first official day of the retreat. Designated for travel, retreat participants largely arrived in early evening. The first scheduled meetings began later in the evening. Unfortunately, not all participants were able to be present on Thursday due to diverse travel arrangements. Those present (all with the exception of Justin Bolte, Vanessa Cerney, and Samantha Ephgrave) engaged in informal discussion and teambuilding. Additionally, proxy Samantha Ephgrave replaced Antoine Jefferson for the weekend. Kristin Barnhart opened with icebreakers and other activities designed to build understanding among members. Additionally, NAB created goals for the weekend and addressed housekeeping items.

Friday was the first full day of the retreat. The morning began with a brief meeting with Allyson McMahon, Marketing Communications Coordinator at the National 4-H Council, to include an article about Collegiate 4-H Clubs located at land grant universities in the Council’s Annual Report. Following the time with Ms. McMahon, NAB began working through the Task Force Report. After reading each section, the recommendations were individually discussed. Once the group reached a consensus regarding each recommendation, it was recorded for strategic planning purposes. Midway through the morning, NAB broke from the lengthy task of analyzing the Task Force report when Mr. Byron Garrett, National 4-H Program Leader, Mission Mandates, was present to address the group. As the National Collegiate 4-H liaison to the USDA, Mr. Garrett is a valuable resource for NAB. In addition to addressing the group’s immediate concerns, Mr. Garrett inspired the group and provided an update from the USDA concerning the status of National Collegiate 4-H. He also provided insight on the strategic planning process and priorities for the weekend.

After a lunch break, NAB reconvened to continue working with the Task Force report. By discussing the recommendations, NAB constructed a solid foundation for strategic planning. The end of the afternoon yielded a complete report on NAB’s decisions regarding the Task Force recommendations.2 An action plan was outlined for each recommendation in the report to incorporate into strategic planning.

Dinner, also provided at the National 4-H Conference Center allowed for continued discussion before moving into preliminary brainstorming for strategic planning. After dinner discussion included a review of historic documents, gathering opinions on the role of NAB and the National Collegiate 4-H Organization, and addressing operational issues of the board. Documents from Mr. Chuck Graves, National Program Coordinator, provided framework about the history of National Collegiate 4-H and previous strategic plans. Discussing the roles of NAB and National Collegiate 4-H as a national organization provided additional framework for strategic planning. Finally, operational issues of the National Action Board were conferred upon to improve the efficacy of the board prior to Saturday’s meeting. Before adjourning on Friday evening, Saturday’s agenda was set to maximize the limited amount of time remaining for the retreat.

Saturday morning began with brainstorming a mission statement for the National Collegiate 4-H organization. Well into the morning, members discussed, debated, and collaborated to draft a mission statement. Recognizing the utmost importance of this item, the mission statement was a high priority for completion. Upon reaching general consensus, NAB moved from constructing a mission to building a vision statement. Again, much conversation went into this highly important item. A finalized vision statement was developed just prior to the NAB business meeting.

With liaisons joining voting members via conference call, the NAB business meeting was conducted early Saturday afternoon.3 The remainder of Saturday afternoon commenced goal setting. Based on the mission and vision completed earlier, goals were developed in five categories. The individual goals were determined through group discussion, and small groups formed to draft timelines, action plans, and details for each goal and sub-goal. Early evening brought the groups back together to present progress. During this time, NAB asked questions and made changes; eventually completing a draft of the strategic plan.

A brief dinner break commenced before the evening session of editing, revisions, and flushing out documents from the weekend. Working late into the night, NAB completed changes and condensed the many documents created throughout the weekend. When time in the meeting room ended, Kristin Barnhart led a reflection of the accomplishments of the retreat. With some members departing early in the morning, goodbyes and follow-up plans finished the evening and the official end of the retreat.

Sunday, initially a day of travel and finalization, became a working day for a few participants remaining at the National 4-H Conference Center. Long hours were spent before departure to ensure the pieces of the strategic plan were meshed together seamlessly and crafting final copies. The work of these dedicated individuals was imperative to preparing the release of the strategic plan created by NAB.

The retreat was a great success and a very productive weekend. The diligence of the members and their commitment to National Collegiate 4-H resulted in an extremely effective retreat. Not only was strategic planning accomplished, but NAB has learned how to better work together to further the mission of National Collegiate 4-H. Although not every goal was completed, the quality and volume of work far surpassed the disappointments of not addressing organizational bylaws. However, the framework is laid for future progress on those important issues. Meeting in person for an extended period of time allowed NAB time to learn to operate as a team and develop a strong rapport. Strategic planning is an incredible, challenging, and exciting process that is only effective when done in person, as NAB was graciously granted the opportunity to do. With a clear plan for action and implementation strategies, the retreat will not be the end of the advancement for NAB. Rather, it is an exciting time of opportunity, development, and positive change for National Collegiate 4-H.

1. This document can be found on as “Collegiate 4-H Taskfore Report”

2. A document containing this information can be found on

3. Minutes from this meeting can be found at

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

NAB Retreat

On July 13-17, several members of the National Action Board will be meeting in Washington D.C. for their Summer NAB Retreat. They will be creating the National Collegiate 4-H Strategic Plan and creating a process for implementation.

During the 2006 National Collegiate 4-H Business Meeting, the National Action Board was charged with the creation of Bylaws that will separate procedural information from the National Collegiate 4-H Constitution, into a seperate document.

Read more on their agenda for the retreat at the NAB webpage


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

New NAB members

The following NAB positions were recently announced or filled:

Advocacy Team Liaison
April Mendenhall, Colorado State University

Web Team Liaison
Jessica Falkenthal, Indiana University Member-at-Large

Strategic Planning Committee Liaison
Val Krumm, Iowa State University

Conference Planning Committee Representative
Jasmin Honore, Louisiana State University

You may contact any NAB member or committee by visiting the Contact Collegiate 4-H webpage.