It’s always been a popular program, but this year, the rush to sign up for 4-H Explorations Days exceeded expectations.
One thousand participants from 70 counties enrolled in the first hour of Exploration Days registration on March 22. By the end of the day, there were 1,341 enrolled from 74 counties resulting in 61 sessions reaching maximum capacity. According to Judy Ratkos, Michigan State University Extension senior program leader with the Children and Youth Institute, this is a new record.
Judy believes the popular 4-H pre-college program provides an incredible experience for youth from across Michigan.
She remarked, “They develop important life skills, receive instruction taught by content and youth development experts and explore the MSU campus and its resources. They develop career interests, meet new people and make new friends from different places and backgrounds, and increase social and academic skills needed for a successful transition to college and life as an adult.”
4-H Exploration Days annually attracts approximately 2,500 youth participants and chaperones who represent all 83 Michigan counties. This year the event takes place June 22–24 and includes nearly 200 fun, action-filled classroom and field trip sessions both on and off campus.
This event repeatedly comes up as one of the things we do that has tremendous impact. And I am well aware that it takes a tremendous work effort on behalf of our staff and volunteers to pull it off. So I ask this next question not to say we must do this, but to prompt some dialogue on how we can build on the success of this program to impact even more youth across Michigan. So here goes: “What about offering two sessions of Exploration Days?” Or is there some other way we could multiply this effort (and not completely exhaust our staff and volunteer work force)? Feel free to make a comment on my blog.