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Paint the State 

The Montana Meth Project has officially launched Paint the State 2023! The statewide public art contest engages Montanans in vital on-the-ground drug prevention through the creation of monument-sized public works of art. Registration is now open for groups and individuals.  

A limited number of $250 art stipends are available to educators and adult leaders who register student team entries!  

The program is ideal for service and leadership clubs such as 4-H. 

Please consider leading a student team or individual entry and help spread the word in your community. You can help create the next generation of drug-prevention ambassadors and inspire vibrant drug-free lives!   

Paint the State Registration is open now through May 2023.  

Ongoing through July: International Hosting Opportunities 

Explore, Dream, Discover - Host a Delegate from Norway or Japan! 

Montana families have the opportunity to host the following 4-H youth: 

  • 2 Norwegian Delegates for approximately 4 weeks, arrive end of June 2023 
  • 13 Japanese Delegates for approximately 4 weeks, arrive mid-July 2023 
  • 2 Japanese Delegates for the Academic Year Program (AYP), arrive mid/late August 2023 through early June 2024 

Experience cultural exchanges firsthand and broaden your global experience! 

To apply to host today! 

Please contact Christine Sommers-Austin for at [email protected] or (406)994-3504 for further information. 

Host an International Delegate this Summer or Academic Year & Share Your World

March 31 – April 1: Billings Shooting Sports Leader Training 

Billings, March 31 – April 1, 2023.  Disciplines offered: Shotgun, Archery, Pistol, Rifle, and Coordinator.   

Visit the Shooting Sports Leader Trainings page for more details. 

Deadline April 1: 4-H Foundation Innovative Programming Grants 

This grant opportunity provides financial support to new programs with innovative efforts and specific outcomes that can be duplicated from one county to another.   

Any Montana county 4-H youth program is eligible. Grant criteria: 

  • Innovative youth or adult volunteer leader educational programs.  Program efforts that are currently conducted are not eligible. 
  • Programs currently being conducted in other states qualify. 
  • Project must have potential to be replicated in other Montana counties. 
  • Project can reach existing or new audiences. 
  • Application team and teaching team (can be different) must include an Extension staff person, an adult volunteer, and a teen volunteer. 
  • Project and evaluation must be completed within one year of submission deadline. 

Apply on the Montana 4-H Foundation’s website. 

April 16-22: National Volunteer Week 

In celebration of our 4-H volunteers, we designate a week in April to recognize volunteers’ contributions in each county and community. 

April 21-22: Logan Shooting Sports Leader Training 

Disciplines offered; Shotgun, Muzzle-loading, Hunting, and Western Heritage.   

Visit the Shooting Sports Leader Trainings page for more details. 

Deadline May 1: Youth State Award Applications Due 

The Montana 4-H State Awards program is in place to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of 4-H members who have reached a standard of excellence in a project area. State Award winners have gone above and beyond regular project work with a focus on leadership, communication, and community service. 

State Award recipients are recognized during the Banquet at Montana 4-H Congress in July and are eligible to attend National 4-H Congress in November. 

Submit an application for a state award. 

On the Horizon.... 

  • July 12-August 10: Summer 2023 Outbound Exchange Program: Japan 4-week 
  • July 17-August 15: Summer 2023 Outbound Exchange Program: South Korea 


Welcome to Carrie Krug, 4-H Agent in Carbon County Carrie Krug

A note from Carrie:  

“I grew up on a small family-run farm and was involved in my local 4-H program for many years. I have worked for MSU Extension for about six years and am looking forward to my transition into Carbon County.  

What I value most about 4-H is the variety of opportunities youth have. I am most looking forward to getting to know my community.” 

Carrie, welcome to Montana 4-H! 

 Kylie Butterfield Welcome to Kylie Butterfield, 4-H Agent in Carbon County

  A note from Kylie: 

  “I grew up on the east side of New Mexico and received a bachelor's in animal  science from New Mexico State University. I continued my education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a master's in ruminant nutrition.  

  I was in 4-H for ten years with my main projects being horse, swine, sewing and leadership. 4-H has taught me   many life skills that have helped shape me into the person I am today. This position helps me continue my passion   of agriculture education.” 

  Welcome to Montana 4-H, Kylie! 

Welcome to Ashli Darrach, 4-H Agent in Flathead County 

A note from Ashli:  Ashli Darrach

Hello everyone! My name is Ashli Darrach. I am the new Flathead County 4-H and Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent. I am currently in the Family and Consumer Science Master’s Program at MSU, Bozeman. I earned my bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I enjoy spending time with my family and being active outside.  

4-H provides youth and adults with valuable opportunities for personal growth and professional development that will benefit them in all aspects of their life. 4-H provides members with unique opportunities to develop problem solving and critical thinking skills that our youth may not find anywhere else. I was fortunate to have been a 4-H member for 6 years. 4-H instilled in me a sense of purpose and a passion for serving my community.   

I am fortunate to be a part of the wonderful Flathead 4-H community that goes above and beyond to provide opportunities to promote youth development. I look forward to serving my community by providing more opportunities for leadership development and personal growth to 4-H members and community members.”      

Ashli, welcome to Montana 4-H! 

Congratulations to our Volunteers of the Year! 

The Volunteer of the Year recognizes individuals who have served as 4-H volunteers for less than 10 years.  

Congratulations to the following 4-H Volunteers for receiving this 2023 tribute to volunteer excellence: 

- Jeremy England, Fergus & Petroleum County: 

Jeremy has been a volunteer for 5 years and serves as the chairman of the livestock committee. Jeremy is willing to do whatever is needed so the Central Montana fair is a great experience for all involved. From setting up the livestock barn to cleaning out shaving with a skid loader, Jeremy does whatever is needed. As a vet tech, Jeremy also helps 4-H members with veterinary issues. Jeremy’s leadership and knowledge are valuable in guiding the livestock committee. Jeremy goes above and beyond, and has inspired other volunteers to commit to helping more. 


- Brook Gerard, Cascade County: 

Brook emulates a true 4-H volunteer while serving as both a club and project leader. Brook serves on both the livestock and horse committee. She was featured on the local news station for the wonderful horseless horse program that she leads. Her passion for the horseless horse program started when she attended a State 4-H Volunteer training. Brook’s impact goes beyond the club as she lends her land to kids who need a place to house their swine projects and helps kids needing a horse to ride. Brook genuinely cares about the youth and their success. 

- Joel & Kody Farkell, Pondera County: 

In four short years, Joel and Kody have made a large impact on Pondera County 4-H. It is difficult to separate Joel and Kody’s impact because of their partnership as a couple, as they have contributed to 4-H and supported each other’s volunteer efforts. They lead the pheasant, dog and shooting sports projects. Their efforts alone have resulted in 31 new members in shooting sports and the doubling the dog project enrollment. 

Pictured: Kelton Jensen, Jeremy England, Todd Kesner   Pictured: Kelton Jensen, Brook Gerard, Todd Kesner   Joel & Kody Farkell

Congratulations to our Outstanding Lifetime Volunteers! 

The Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer recognizes individuals who have served as 4-H volunteers for more than 10 years.  

Congratulations to the following 4-H Volunteers for receiving this 2023 tribute to volunteer excellence:  

- Nikole Markle, Stillwater County:  

Nikole has been a volunteer for 11 years, going above and beyond leading the dog project, being a club leader, and a member of the leaders council. Through her leadership and dedication, the dog project has grown leaps and bounds. Nikole even helps out the community and become a certified Canine Good Citizen (CGC) instructor teaching classes and allows 4-H members to participate free of charge. A 4-H member said it best: “She is the best dog instructor ever. Nikki always knows how to take it slow and steady.”  


- Janet Smith, Cascade County:  

Janet has been a volunteer for 19 years, impacting the entire Cascade 4-H Program. She has been the president of the foundation and serves as an organizational club leader. Janet takes on one of the toughest volunteer roles in 4-H, CAMP COOK. Janet has cooked for many 4-H campers over the years. Janet serves as a mentor to new 4-H organizational leaders helping them navigate the 4-H world. Cascade County Agent Allyssa Peak credits Janet with being a great advisor that helped her through the pandemic.  


- Joey Hennes, Missoula County: 

Joey has been a volunteer for over 40 years, serving as a club leader for many of those years. Through decades as the Leaders Council Treasurer, Joey worked to streamline the budget and improving the financial process for everyone involved. Joey is an outspoken supporter of the Missoula County 4-H Program. In 2006 Joey lead the efforts to resist the encroachment on the 4-H/FFA exhibit at the Fair. Joey has always been a trusted advisor and supporter of the 4-H mission.  


- Jason Noyes, Broadwater County: 

Jason has been a 4-H volunteer for 12 years. He has served as the chairman of the livestock committee since 2016. Jason’s impacts are felt in the livestock and archery projects that he leads. Jason is a natural leader of people and successfully helped the livestock committee navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions. Allison Kosto, the Extension Agent for Broadwater County, said, “I couldn’t ask for a better teammate and volunteer in the 4-H program." 

- Lee Nuss, Gallatin County:  

Lee has volunteered with 4-H for 11 years in the swine and beef projects, helping the swine project grow to 120 members. As an alumni of Gallatin County 4-H, Lee serves on many committees and boards, making an impact in 4-H. Lee has a passion for helping new families navigate the difficulties of a first-year livestock project. From hauling livestock for families to answering all types of questions, Lee is always there to support the youth through their projects. Gallatin County Extension Agent Molly Yurdana said, “Mr. Nuss is reliable and sets a great example for other volunteer and 4-H members he leads." 


- Amy Yoder, Sheridan County:  

Amy has been a volunteer for 12 years, leading the largest club in Sheridan County. Amy’s club thrived as she let the youth truly lead the direction of the club. Amy’s service went beyond the club level and held leadership roles on both the leader’s council and livestock committee. Amy has been a great mentor to new Extension Agent Jack Bazemore, helping guide Jack through the world of livestock showing. Amy is an outstanding volunteer for Sheridan County.  

Thanks to you all for empowering Montana's future leaders! 

Kelton Jensen, Nikole Markle, Todd Kesner        Kelton Jensen, Janet Smith, Todd Kesner    Kelton Jensen, Joey Hennes, Todd Kesner

Jason Noyes     Kelton Jensen, Lee Nuss, Todd Kesner    Kelton Jensen, Amy Yoder, Todd Kesner

To Larger Service  

Volunteer Spotlight: Merle Blankenship, Custer County Merle Blankenship pictured

"Merle Blankenship volunteers as a pistol coach in Miles City every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 9pm. He has been the sole coach for a couple of years. He takes time off of work to coach and help other counties with pistol. 

Merle has taken several kids to try out for the junior Olympics. He works very hard to help the kids if they can't shoot on those days to come in on other days so that they have the opportunity to shoot. He is not big into praise or being acknowledged but he has done a lot of good for the air pistol program." 

Thank you, Merle, for volunteering with Montana 4-H! 

Volunteer Spotlight: Jodi Duncan, Glacier County 

Jodi Duncan is in her 20th year serving as an active Glacier County 4-H volunteer. She has had an incredible impact doing everything from chaperoning youth at 4-H Congress and Rec Lab to leading workshops at Leader’s Forum to serving as an interview judge at fair. She has led the Cloverbuds program for the last 10+ years, instilling a love for 4-H in the five- to eight-year-olds who she commonly refers to as, “The seeds of 4-H.” 

Jodi has an incredible heart for each child and connects with them. More than once at fair, kids have been in tears anxiously waiting for their interview and after time with Jodi they’ve left with a smile, ribbon, and a positive experience. As she seems her Cloverbud alumni now, she still takes time to ask them how they’re doing, what projects they have, and encourages them in their endeavors. 

After many years of faithful service and leadership to the Cloverbud program, Jodi decided it was time to retire. This prompted two teen leaders to step up to lead Cloverbuds this year. Jodi now mentors these two in planning the meetings and she STILL assists with the monthly meetings as well! 

The following comments were recently received from 4-H parents in Glacier County: Jodi Duncan Pictured

  • “Jodi is the best of the best!!! She helped my kids love 4-H through the Cloverbud program.”
  • “She’s the best! We’re so thankful for her and the time she volunteers, and we just love her!”
  • “Cloverbuds was one of the best things ever in my son’s young life.”

We appreciate Jodi’s continued dedication to 4-H and her willingness to mentor and train another generation of 4-H leaders. 

Thank you for volunteering, Jodi! 

Thank Yous from Montana 4-H Volunteer Institute 

Special thanks to the Montana 4-H Leaders Council for hosting a fantastic 2023 Montana 4-H Volunteer Institute: 

  • Kathy Cheney  4-H Volunteers
  • Catherine McNeil  
  • Ginny Francis  
  • Guy Johnson  
  • Allison Kosto  
  • Allyssa Peak  
  • Trestin Benson  
  • Kelton Jensen   

We appreciate you!  

Thank Yous from Montana 4-H State Shoot 

Thank you to our Montana 4-H State Shoot volunteers and supporters!  

This event would not have been possible without the great volunteers and businesses that provided this amazing event. A huge thank you goes out to Big Sky Archery, Bozeman Rifle Club, and Gallatin County Fairgrounds for their support of this great event. We could not have put on this event without them teaming with us.  

Manhattan Bank allowed us to use tables and chairs at archery. Thank you.  

Thank you to Colton Crane for donating a pallet of water at the Archery Event. The donation is greatly appreciated.  

We would like to sincerely thank all of the 4-H members, families, friends, and leaders that volunteered to assist with range set-up, range clean-up, scoring, registration, and equipment check. You all did a fantastic job.  

Thank you to Paul and Kellie Rasmussen for selling the clothing and apparel for the weekend. It is exciting to advertise this special shoot.  

A huge thank you goes out to the local State Shoot Committee and Range Officers:  


  • Randy & Heather Radke  
  • Patrick & Merrita Marble  
  • David Miller  
  • Matt and Nicole Fry  
  • Mike Prester  

Airgun and Smallbore:  Voluntee & 4-H'er

  • Lee & Lisa Nelson  
  • Lance & Lisa Strauch  
  • Fred Nelson  
  • Shad Powers  
  • Bill Ott  
  • Stacey Hildebrandt  
  • Tom Everett  
  • Ben Sutherlin  
  • Jake Kleimer  
  • Jimmy Talarico  
  • Jared Heiken  

Thank you for supporting our Montana Youth!