Tag Archives: 4-h revolution of responsibility

4-H’er realizes dream of giving back

In a recent Spotlight article, I told you about Mattea Antrup, a 10-year-old 4-H’er who sold her hog, which she raised through the 4-H program, to donate money to the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Mattea felt compelled to step up with this act of generosity after an accident left her spending 7 weeks in a near full-body cast. Mattea was in and out of the Grand Rapids hospital often and during that time she noticed other young patients ‒ some who never left the hospital. Mattea decided that she would donate the money from one of two hogs she would sell at the Ottawa County Youth Fair. With this decision, Mattea joined the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility: a nationwide movement of young people making positive impacts in the community.

On Oct. 7, Mattea’s dream was realized when she gave DeVos Children’s Hospital a check for $6654.96. Her donation will go to patient families for gas cards to attend appointments, food vouchers, a burn patient scholarship camp, grants and other things to make the patients’ and families’ lives a little easier.

Katie Gervasi, editor in Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications, wrote a Michigan 4-H Today story about Mattea and traveled out to the hospital to witness Mattea’s donation and take a few photos.

Katie heard from Dawnel Antrup, Mattea’s mom, who was grateful that Katie wrote the story about Mattea’s journey through a difficult situation.

Ms. Antrup said, “Thank you for recognizing her passion to give back to others that maybe are struggling more than her. You captured the story beautifully. The Antrup family is very appreciative of your hard work in capturing even the smallest details. Thanks Tons!”

Michelle Lavra, ANR Communications manager and Katie’s supervisor at the time said, “Katie did a great job on this story. Not only is it a nice example of the Revolution of Responsibility stories Katie and Mariah (Montenegro, ANR Communications technical writer) routinely write, it is also a nice example of the difference 4-H’ers like Mattea are making in their communities. And it’s certainly nice to get a great testimonial like the one Katie received from Mattea’s mom.”

As we discussed at Fall Extension Conference this week, we have some incredible stories to tell about the work we do. This is one of those stories. And it also illustrates how much our ANR Communications colleagues help us to tell those stories and to get them out to a broader audience. Thanks, Katie!

Read the story Katie wrote about Mattea here: http://4h.msue.msu.edu/today/4_h_pig_raises_more_than_6000_for_helen_devos_childrens_hospital
The story was picked up by the Associated Press (AP) and distributed across the country from North Carolina to Texas. Read the AP story here:


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ANR Communications projects receive ACE awards

Two projects from Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications recently received Association for Communications Excellence (ACE) awards. The ACE Critique and Awards (C&A) program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills.

The Michigan State University 4-H Revolution of Responsibility campaign earned a silver award in the category for a marketing communications campaign with a budget of $1,000 or above.

National 4-H launched its Revolution of Responsibility campaign in late 2010 and early 2011. Michigan was one of the first states to adopt the campaign and use it as part of an event in early 2011. Since then, Michigan 4-H has expanded on its use of the Revolution of Responsibility theme, specifically to inform decision-makers at the local, county and state levels of the importance of 4-H programming.

A team in ANR Communications worked together to produce an award-winning campaign.

Communications manager Michelle Lavra developed the overall strategy, came up with the original tone of execution for Michigan’s version of the Revolution of Responsibility campaign, wrote the copy and designed the original fliers, posters and banners, provided photography, sought out stories, wrote video scripts, conducted interviews for videos and wrote some of the print stories.

Technical writer Katie Gervasi wrote print stories; worked on story fliers, marketing fliers and posters; posted Web content and social media; provided photography; handled development, design and production of promotional items; and handled all of the logistics for banner orders, printing and distribution.

Natasha Berryman, a former writer for ANR Communications now an AgBioResearch communications manager, wrote print stories, designed and populated story fliers, posted Web content and social media, and provided photography.

Multimedia production team leader Steve Evans was the producer and videographer for all three videos. He also wrote scripts, did all of the video editing and posted the videos to our YouTube site.

Roses for the Home: Growing Roses in the Midwest (E3157), a revision of Roses for the Home, won a bronze award for a one- to full-color popular publication.

ANR Communications graphic designer Alicia Burnell designed the rose bulletin and Patty Adams edited it.

Mary Wilson, MSU Extension horticulture educator, acted as project coordinator on the effort. Rose expert and MSU Extension Advanced Master Gardener Nancy L. Lindley wrote the bulletin.

Mary; Dr. Bridget Behe, MSU professor of horticulture; Janet Byrne, MSU plant pathology specialist; and Dr. David Smitley, MSU professor of entomology; lent their expertise as reviewers.

Read more about the publication in this June 2012 Spotlight article.

Congratulations on these two award-winning projects!

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Volunteers and staff make 4-H Exploration Days possible

It was no surprise that participants at this year’s 4-H Exploration Days June 20 to 22 had a blast and they learned while doing it. During this annual event, kids – and they don’t have to be in 4-H – experience college life, staying in Michigan State University dorms and eating in a dorm cafeteria. They learn by doing (the 4-H way) by attending sessions on various topics from aerospace to visual arts and crafts. Free time allows swimming, skating, souvenir shopping, exploring, bowling, basketball and dancing. It’s a tremendous opportunity for fun and learning jam-packed into three days. It also gives young people a chance to develop social and academic skills needed for a successful transition to college and careers.


But it takes a tremendous amount of work and organization behind the scenes to make MSU’s largest pre-college program a success. Registration for the 43rd annual 4-H Exploration Days closed with 2,404 people from all but one of Michigan’s counties. More than 80 percent of those attending were young people 11 to 19 years old. Adults attending included chaperones, field staff and resource people.

Headed by Judy Ratkos, MSU Extension senior program leader, the event takes months of planning and preparation. More than 300 adult and teen volunteers, outside resource people, and MSU Extension county-based and campus-based staff members served as session instructors or helpers for the 204 sessions offered this summer. Nearly 300 adult volunteers registered as chaperones. It’s estimated that volunteers contributed more than 20,000 hours to this year’s 4-H Exploration Days.

This year, the hot weather did not spoil the fun. According to Judy, staff members and volunteers prepare for the possibility of high heat and humidity, providing water coolers and cups in each dorm lobby and water jugs for outdoor sessions and activities to prevent dehydration.

Besides sessions and activities, inspirational speaker and “Evolution of Dance” performer Judson Laipply spoke and performed his “Evolution of Dance” at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. The performer also spent time with participants at three 4-H Exploration Days sessions.

A time capsule created at the 4-H Exploration Days in 1987 (some of you may remember that) was opened during the Wharton Center show. That year was the 150th anniversary of Michigan’s becoming a state. The capsule contains an item from almost every Michigan county. Visit the 4-H Exploration Days Facebook page to view photos of what was in the capsule.

The 2012 4-H Exploration Days theme was “Join the Revolution of Responsibility.” The Revolution of Responsibility is a movement for positive change in every community in the U.S. involving 4-H’ers taking on the responsibility to make a difference where they live.

We’re grateful to the many volunteers and staff members who made this event possible. It won’t be long before Judy and her team gear up for the 44th 4-H Exploration Days June 19 to 21, 2013. You can bet plenty of lucky kids will be there to learn and have fun.

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Former 4-H’er uses values and skills learned in 4-H to succeed in business, give back

Michigan State University Extension 4-H educators and 4-H volunteer club leaders often see the results of their efforts immediately as they work with kids. They see club members growing into responsible and caring youth, often putting their skills to work to lead others. Although their numbers abound, we may not be aware that successful adults around us are drawing on the values and skills they learned as youth in 4-H. Dave Kugler is one of those adults.

 Dave Kugler, owner and founder of Critter Catchers, Inc. in Ortonville, Mich., provides a much-needed service that we would rather not have the misfortune to need. His company specializes in ridding homes of unwanted creatures – the kind that you may hear scratching in the attic at night. The company’s team will trap groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks, moles, skunks, raccoons, bats and opossums. And they strive to practice in a humane way.

 Dave credits Michigan 4-H Youth Development with his success as a business owner. He uses the skills in project management and leadership that he learned in the Bits-N-Spurs 4-H Club in Lapeer County. More importantly, he relies on the values that he incorporated into his lifestyle by being an active 4-H’er.

 Dave believes that the description of 4-H Revolution of Responsibility closely fits the mission of his company. The 4-H Revolution of Responsibility is a movement for positive change in every community in America. It’s about 4-H’ers seeing a need in the community and then stepping up to take action. Dave continued using what he’d learned and experienced in 4-H to assist the community with humane animal control solutions.

 Dave plans to help current 4-H members be part of that revolution as well. Critter Catchers recently established the Critter Catchers Agricultural and Social Entrepreneurship Grant for Lapeer County 4-H members. This program will help several 4-H’ers raise livestock this summer. Normally, members auction the livestock at the county fair and keep the proceeds. Members using the grant funds must distribute the proceeds to the Michigan-based nonprofit organization of their choice. Through this grant opportunity, youth learn about raising livestock, have an impact in the local community and help a cause in which they have a passion.

 Read more about Dave and 4-H here.

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4-H members learn valuable life skills while learning to quilt

Three members of the Friends and Stitches 4-H Club in Chippewa County learned essential life skills while each created an original baby quilt. Under the guidance of Sherry Duesing, 4-H club leader, Missy Buhro, Kaitlin Goetz and Rachel Yanni practiced skills such as goal setting, communication, problem solving, service learning, friendship, community service and giving. The girls spent more than a year working on the project. Then on Dec.16, 2011, they donated the baby quilts to the Care Net Pregnancy Center to be given out to mothers in the community.

 The girls are grateful to Mrs. Duesing for her time and patient instruction; the Sault Area Middle School, which donated the use of their Life Skills room so that the girls could work on the project; and Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Chippewa County, which supported the girls through a mini-grant. The mini-grant, part of the funds collected through the 4-H Participation Fee, purchased the National 4-H sewing curriculumand materials for the project.

MSU Extension Chippewa County 4-H program instructor Andrea Caron, 4-H members, and 4-H club leader Sherry Duesing display quilts that the three 4-H members made and donated.

A team effort (L-R): MSU Extension Chippewa County 4-H program instructor Andrea Caron, 4-H members, and 4-H club leader Sherry Duesing display quilts that the three 4-H members made and donated to Care Net Pregnancy Center Dec.16, 2011. Photo credit: Deb Colbert of the Care Net Pregnancy Center

 “The members not only increased their sewing skills and completed their 4-H project, but they also increased their community awareness and empathy,” said Andrea Caron, 4-H program instructor.

 What I see is another example of 4-H’s Revolution of Responsibility – 4-H youth stepping up to make their club, their community, their country and their world a better place for all. Thanks for being a great model for us, girls!

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Start the year off right at 4-H Day at the Breslin

Last year, I wrote about the success of the 4-H Day at the Breslin with the Lady Spartans. More than 4,500 Michigan 4-H’ers and their families cheered the Michigan State University women’s basketball team on. Don’t miss out on the fun this season. The seventh annual celebration takes place Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 when the Spartans face the Ohio State Buckeyes. The game starts at 4 p.m. Gates open at 2:30 to the public. However, Gate D will be open at 2 p.m. for the 4-H group.

 Tickets are free for MSU Extension 4‑H youth and their families, 4-H volunteers, and MSU Extension staff and their families. It’s a great bargain, but you must order your free tickets by Jan. 9 in order to attend.

 Order your tickets by clicking on this link: http://web2.msue.msu.edu/basketballtickets

 Please promote the event using this promotional flier.

 This year’s theme celebrates 4-H’s Revolution of Responsibility, a movement for positive change in which 4-H youth make a difference where they live.

 You may enjoy watching the following video portraying a previous 4-H Day at the Breslin:

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4-H volunteers learn pie making and use their knowledge to give back to the community

What started out as an opportunity to teach pie making became a community service project involving 30 adult and youth volunteers distributing pies to Shiawassee County families for their holiday meals. Last year’s 4-H Pies for the Holidays event was so successful that it was repeated this year and may become an annual event. On Oct. 8, Michigan State University Extension Shiawassee County 4-Hvolunteers used their 4-H Food Stand space located on the Shiawassee County Fairgrounds to train 4-H members and adult volunteers in the art of classic pie making. Volunteers got back to basics when they learned to make crust, peel apples and assemble the pies. The pies were given to schools that provide the ingredients for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, such as turkey and all of the fixings, to families with limited resources. The 4-H pies serve as dessert.

4-H volunteers peel and prepare apples.

4-H volunteers peel and prepare apples for pies created as part of the 4-H Pies for the Holidays event in Shiawassee County on Oct. 8, 2011. Photo courtesy of 4-H volunteer Kim Unterbrink.

 Volunteers created 204 pies using 100 pounds of flour, 90 pounds of sugar, 12 bushels of apples and many other ingredients. They packaged the unbaked pies in boxes that included baking instructions. Families who receive the pies can enjoy the aroma and experience of baking the pies as well as enjoy the delicious flavor.

 This is just another example of the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility in action. Volunteers took a learning experience and created a way to take what they learned to make a difference in the community.

 Said MSU Extension educator Jennifer Weichel, “This event is totally volunteer-driven, organized and run. Elaine Prine, a 4-H volunteer, came up with the idea of teaching pie making and through group discussion, it grew into 4-H Pies for the Holidays. I support the activity through promotion of the event, but all of the credit goes to the 4-H volunteers that make this event reality.”

4-H Volunteers prepare the topping

4-H volunteers prepare the topping for pies created as part of the 4-H Pies for the Holidays event in Shiawassee County on Oct. 8, 2011. Photo courtesy of 4-H volunteer Kim Unterbrink.

 Jennifer would also like to thank the people and businesses who donated supplies.

 By the way, the 4-H Food Stand is owned and operated by the Shiawassee County 4-H Council. It’s open during Fair Week and for horse shows that use the fairgrounds from May to October. The 4-H Food Stand supports 4-H opportunities for leaders and members such as Kettunen Center workshops, leader and member awards, trips and similar experiences.

Sample Pie

A completed pie is packed in a box that includes instructions. The pies, ready to bake to be enjoyed on the holidays, were created as part of the 4-H Pies for the Holidays event in Shiawassee County on Oct. 8, 2011 . Photo courtesy of 4-H volunteer Kim Unterbrink.

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Thanks and giving

On the eve of our annual feast, I am reminded of the close connection between this holiday and 4-H. One of the capstone events available through 4-H is the National 4-H Congress, and it begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving and ends on the following Tuesday. National 4-H Congress used to be held in Chicago, and although I wasn’t in Michigan at that time, I can imagine that quite a few Michigan 4-H youth participated in that event. Today’s National 4-H Congress has changed considerably. It has moved south, presented in Atlanta, Georgia, each year instead of Chicago. And the event has taken a turn towards service, recognizing youth for their service in 4-H, and then reinforcing that with speakers and events that give great examples of others who have served their clubs, their communities, their country or their world. Eighteen 4-H youth from Lapeer, Shiawassee, Ingham, Monroe, Hillsdale, Branch, Menominee, Marquette and St. Joseph counties will represent Michigan, this year. They will be joined by Pat Waugh, Michigan State University Extension 4-H youth educator from Lapeer County, and Frank Cox, 4-H youth educator from Muskegon County, as leaders and chaperones.  Chelsea Carl, 4-H youth from Branch County, was selected from a national application pool to serve on the 2012 National 4-H Congress Youth Leadership Team. I serve on the Board of Directors for National 4-H Congress and will join the group in Atlanta early next week in time for the board meeting, which follows the closing of the event. Monday is the highlight of the event from my perspective. That is the day when all of the youth, gathered from across the nation, go into the schools and neighborhoods of Atlanta to carry out service projects. Youth also raise funds to help pay for the construction of a new home through Habitat for Humanity. So as many of us are tempted to sleep in on Friday morning (or go shopping), keep in mind those youth from Michigan and elsewhere who will be heading out for Atlanta.

 The connection between 4-H and Thanksgiving reminded me of a story I posted just a few weeks ago about a youth from Kent County, Nate Seese, whose service is the subject of a video contributed as part of the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility campaign. Nate tells the story of deciding to donate the meat from livestock he raised as part of his 4-H project to a local food bank to help ensure that families facing budget challenges would still have access to protein in their diets. Nate’s desire and commitment to give is inspiring for all of us. And as is so often the case, his generosity draws out generosity from others – the bidders at the 4-H auction agree to make the livestock available for the food bank, a local meat locker agreed to donate their butchering and preparation services, and the food bank volunteers help to distribute the meat. National 4-H Council hosted Cooperative Extension directors and administrators from across the country at a luncheon in San Francisco recently, a part of the program at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Convention. During the luncheon, Andy Ferrin, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at National 4-H Council, showed Nate’s video to the entire group gathered for lunch. I was humbled to see Nate’s story told again – humbled by his generosity and inspired by his leadership. Ultimately, the Thanksgiving holiday is a holiday that reminds us that we depend on others around us in so many ways. Those who grow crops and livestock, those who get food to the store or market where we buy it, those who help us understand how to prepare food safely, and on and on. The best way to express thanks is to give. And Nate reminded me of that with his story. Enjoy this unique and special holiday as many 4-H youth will in Atlanta this weekend – by giving to others.


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Kent County 4-H’er joins the Revolution of Responsibility

In a recent Spotlight article, I talked about the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility, National 4‑H Council’s movement for positive change, challenging kids to make a difference and take responsibility for community problems and issues.

 Nate Seese, a 4-H’er from Byron Center in Kent County, is taking on responsibility in a big way right in his own community. Nate raises and shows sheep and hogs as a 4-H project. Usually, a 4-H’er involved in this type of project would auction off the animals at fair and then keep the profits. But Nate saw a need to help hungry people in his community and stepped up to do something about it. He put together a buying group consisting of local business owners and community members to buy the animals at auction. The group lets Nate keep the animals so he can donate the meat to the Buist Community Assistance Center, a local food pantry. After taking the animals to Byron Center Meats (the company donates its time and services to process the meat), Nate was able to donate 500 pounds of lamb and pork to the center this year.

 Nate says, “4-H has taught me that we can’t just sit back and wait for somebody to take the lead. We have to take the lead if we want to make a change.”

 Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development is also taking the lead in the revolution, developing responsible leaders for the future.

 Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications staff members Kraig Ehm, Steve Evans and Michelle Lavra created a video featuring Nate’s story. View the video:

 The video was shared at the 2011 NAE4-HA (National Association of Extension 4-H Agents) Conference held Oct. 24–28 in Nebraska. The video will be posted on the National 4-H Revolution of Responsibility site.

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Revolution of Responsibility calls 4-H’ers to lead the way for positive change

So often, people look to others to take responsibility for the world’s problems. It’s easier to go about our business and let somebody else step in. But National 4-H Council is working against this attitude of non-involvement and lack of concern with a new movement for positive change, the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility. Dr. Julie Chapin, director of the MSUE Children and Youth Institute, gave a description of this campaign during our MSUE Redesign call on September 26.

 4-H youth are starting a revolution for doing the right thing – right here in our own state, where they’re making a measurable difference in their communities. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development is guiding youth to identify problems in the community and then work on solutions to those problems through responsible action. All over the state, 4-H members are volunteering to tend community gardens, lead recycling efforts, visit senior centers and much more.

 During National 4-H Week, Oct. 2–8, you’ll be hearing about the ways 4-H youth are meeting the responsibility challenge. Various activities and events will take place throughout the state to celebrate.

 Read more about the Revolution of Responsibility here.

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