From the Desk of Extension-Positive Youth Development

UW Madison Division of Extension Dodge County has launched a new effort to support Dodge County residents especially during these uncertain times. We are calling it “FROM THE DESK OF EXTENSION-(article topic)”.  This will be a weekly article covering topics from our programmatic areas of agriculture, families, youth, and food/nutrition. The articles will address current issues facing residents through the lens of those program areas. Thank you for supporting our mission to bring relevant research based information and education to the residents of Dodge County.

Marie Witzel, Positive Youth Developement Educator | UW Madision, Divison of Extension Dodge County

May is the start of graduation season for many of our high schools, technical colleges and universities.  This past year has been unprecedented especially for our older youth who may be graduating and wondering what the future holds for them.

According to Marie Witzel, Positive Youth Development Educator with UW Madison, Division of Extension, this is an important time in a young person’s life and this year has made it challenging for youth to determine what path to take.  Witzel notes, “One of the important lessons that I have learned this past year is on the topic of mindfulness.  Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.”

Witzel was able to attend a mindfulness training sponsored by the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals that was centered around the book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy.  “It was a great book and an opportunity to reflect with colleagues.”  Below are some of the quotes that Witzel would like to share with readers.

  • The Mole asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  “Kind,” said the Boy.
  • What do you think is the biggest waste of time?  “Comparing yourself to others,” said the Mole.
  • The Mole shared, “Most of the old moles I know wish they had listened less to their fears and more to their dreams.”
  • One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things
  • “Asking for help isn’t giving up,” said the Horse, “It is refusing to give up.”
  • “Always remember you matter, you are important, you are loved, and you bring to this world the things no one else can.”

Some of the phrases from this book may resonate with young people and recent graduates.  As they look forward to their future, these wise words serve as a reminder to take care of oneself and know that each person is important and loved.

For more insight from Charlie Mackesy, you can also follow him on Facebook.  For more information on mindfulness or youth programs, please contact the UW-Madison, Division of Extension – Dodge County at 920-386-3790 or visit


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