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4-Hers complete projects in Bemidji

Forty 4-Hers from southern Minnesota completed community service projects in Bemidji, cleaning at the Evergreen House and planting at the City Park, Tuesday as part of conference to participate in pay-it-forward projects. Adam Heifort, center, of Fergus Falls, digs a hole so Maria Brekke, left, of Shakopee, Page Olson of Detroit Lakes, and Chrysies Tvedt of Benson could plant a shrub along Montebello Trail. Pioneer Photo /Monte Draper

Eighty hands willing to do what they can were put to work at the Evergreen House and the City Park Tuesday morning

All 4H youths from Southern Minnesota, the 40 4-H youths are part of YELLO (Youth Exploring Leadership and Learning Out-loud), an annual four-day statewide leadership conference partnered with STLF (Students Today Leaders Forever) to complete community service projects in the state. A total of 120 4-H youth participated in crisscrossing the state; 40 youth from northern Minnesota traveled to the Winona area to participate in community projects.

The young leaders were split into two groups - 20 youth helped clean at the Evergreen House. Rain hampered their outside painting project, but the tasks they completed saved staff many hours of work. They joined the rest of the group at the new City Park to plant more than 300 trees and shrubs and clean the area along the Montebello Trail.

"It is a great partnership," said 4-H member Caleb Krusemerk. "It is nice 4-H is expanding, growing not just looked at as dealing with farm animals. We have so much to offer, adding a service base component is really cool."

The 4-Hers huddled under the Jaycees Pavilion for lunch and then took off to Duluth where they will work at a health center and a senior center today.