Tag Archives: 4-H

Joining 4-H and Alumni at the MSU Women’s Basketball Game

More than 4,500 4-H youth, their families, and Michigan State University (MSU) Extension staff members and their families attended the MSU Women’s Basketball game Jan. 22.

For the first time, Michigan 4-H alumni and the Michigan 4-H Foundation also hosted an event for 4-H alumni. More than 60 people from across the state attended the event and enjoyed food, coloring for kids, games, a Spartan Selfie Station, a visit from Sparty and general networking. We hope this is the first of many successful alumni events.

At halftime, 4-H’ers from Ingham, Macomb, Oakland and Saginaw counties made their way to the court. They were joined by Patrick Cudney, associate director of MSU Extension, and Julie Chapin, Children and Youth Institute director, as they proudly led the 4-H pledge:

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,
my heart to greater loyalty,
my hands to larger service,
and my health to better living,
for my club, my community, my country and my world.

Youth stand on the court with Julie Chapin and Patrick Cudney and lead the pledge.

Youth from Ingham, Macomb, Oakland and Saginaw counties lead the 4-H pledge with Julie Chapin and Patrick Cudney.

Thank you to everyone who came together to make the alumni event and the 4-H Day at the Breslin so successful!

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Filed under 4-H, Children and Youth

Michigan 4-H receives awards at the States’ 4-H International Conference

From left to right: Yoko Kawaguchi, Martha Shapton, Heather Gray, Gwen Apger, Jan Brinn, D’Ann Rohrer and Cathy Sutphin. Photo courtesy of D'ann Rohrer; all posing with the award plaque on stage.

From left to right: Yoko Kawaguchi, Martha Shapton, Heather Gray, Gwen Apger, Jan Brinn, D’Ann Rohrer and Cathy Sutphin. Photo courtesy of D’ann Rohrer.

Michigan 4-H received three awards at the States’ 4-H International Exchange Conference in Seattle, Washington, Nov. 11. Michigan 4-H Youth Development received the Valued Partnership with States’ 4-H International Exchange Since 1974 Award and the Diversity in Hosting Award. Additionally, Michigan 4-H International Exchange Programs received the Extraordinary Quality Programs Award. Heather Gray, 4-H international exchange coordinator; children and youth educators Janis Brinn and D’Ann Rohrer; and Martha Shapton and Gwen Apger, both local program coordinators in the Upper Peninsula, traveled to Seattle to attend the conference and accept the awards presented by Cathy Sutphin, States’ 4-H board chair, and Yoko Kawaguchi, president of State’s 4-H International Exchange Programs.

“The success of States’ 4-H International’s global citizenship programs would not be possible without the efforts and dedication from 4-H staff and volunteers in your state, especially the state coordinator, D’Ann Rohrer,” Yoko said.

Among many accomplishments this year, Michigan generously stepped in to host several more delegates than the original hosting number. In addition, Michigan hosts the largest number of yearlong students among all participating states, one of whom attended the annual conference as a special guest speaker and youth ambassador. Yoko also acknowledged Michigan’s 43 years of uninterrupted partnership and its hosting of more than 2,800 delegates during that span.

Through our 4-H International Exchange Program, we hope to build relationships with other countries and to help our young people develop an international perspective. I would like to thank our 4-H International Exchange Program team, as well as the volunteers and host families who are making a difference internationally in youth’s lives in a way that sets us apart.

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Filed under 4-H, Awards

4-H’ers receive scholarships, Extension engages the public at the Michigan State Fair

The Michigan State Fair (MSF) was a complete success. Thanks to over 60 4-H volunteers and staff members, we had an outstanding opportunity to engage with visitors throughout the Labor Day weekend. Over 112,000 people attended the fair, and it was a great opportunity to get the word out about all Michigan State University (MSU) Extension has to offer them.

MSU Extension staff members hosted a booth to present programs and activities to the public, and our 4-H’ers and volunteers led activities for youth such as hoverball, archery, arts and crafts, and other hands-on activities.

We also received the big news that our outstanding Oakland County 4-H youth received a total of over $10,000 in urban farming and rural scholarships from the MSF. On September 22, they even got a chance to visit the State Capitol where they were welcomed by Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Rep. Kathy Crawford to celebrate their achievements.

Oakland County 4-H youth and leaders pose for a photograph at the State Capitol with Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Rep. Kathy Crawford to celebrate their achievements. Photo courtesy of Oakland County 4-H.

Oakland County 4-H visited the Capitol visit the State Capitol where they were welcomed by Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Rep. Kathy Crawford. Photo courtesy of Oakland County 4-H.

The 4-H relationship with the Fifth Third Bank, MSF and Suburban Collection Showplace began several years ago at the Novi Equestrian Expo 4-H Youth Activities area. Because of our reputation, MSU Extension was invited to be a participant at the 2015 MSF and given a free booth to showcase its many awesome programs. This year, the MSF gave the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) , AgBioResearch and MSU Extension a 40-foot by 70-foot booth to present programs and activities. For participating, MSU Extension gets a seat on the State Fair steering committee, free entry for all MSU Extension staff and volunteers serving at the booth, and reduced parking fees. In addition, top representatives of the CANR, AgBioResearch and MSU Extension are invited to attend the MSF VIP event for networking.

Photo of the Oakland County 4-H, MSU Extension, AgBioResearch and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources booth. Several people standing and sitting and chatting.

The MSF’s generous donation of space for Oakland County 4-H, MSU Extension, AgBioResearch and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Photo courtesy of Fran Adelaja.

This has been an amazing opportunity for our organization and our 4-H youth. Mark your calendars for next year’s fair on Labor Day weekend!

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Filed under Children and Youth, Events, michigan state fair

Making a difference in MSU Extension District 6: Recap of the state council visit

Last week, I had the opportunity to travel north to District 6 along with our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension and AgBioResearch State Council. Shari Spoelman, district coordinator, and the crew in MSU Extension District 6 worked hard to give us a great overview of the programming, research and outreach going on in the district, and arranged for us to spend time with the people they serve.

For those of you who are new to Extension or unfamiliar with the council, we have members from all over the state who serve as a liaison between us and our county councils, field station advisory groups, and state agencies and organizations. The members come from various backgrounds: commodity group leaders, county commissioners, 4-H volunteers and farmers. We even have a meteorologist. The more they know about the work we do and the difference we make around the state, the better they can share the Extension story with our local and state decision-makers.

We began our trip with a chance to see the Kettunen Center, a conference facility owned by the Michigan 4-H Foundation. We heard about how 4-H and Extension use the center to connect with youth and volunteers. Chris Gentry, Kettunen Center director, provided us with a tour. We heard from Sara Keinath, youth development educator, and Jake Stieg, 4-H program coordinator, on the work they do with 4-H such as Mock Interview Day and 4-H Winterfest.

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Next, we traveled to B & B Farms, owned by Dan and Bonnie Blackledge, and heard about how MSU Extension and the MSU Product Center has helped them grow and market their canola seed and oil products. Jerry Lindquist, grazing and field crops educator, met us there to talk more about the relationships that MSU Extension has with specialty crop growers.

Dan and Kathy Blackledge talk about working with MSU Extension and the MSU Product Center to grow and market their canola products. Everyone stands by their house and barn.

Dan and Kathy Blackledge talk about working with MSU Extension and the MSU Product Center to grow and market their canola products.

Afterward, we visited Hidden Hills Dairy with Kathy Lee, senior dairy educator, and saw modern technology and the results of MSU Extension input at work on the farm.

State council members tour below the milking parlor where the machines send the milk.

State council members tour the milk machines below the milking parlor at Hidden Hills Dairy.

We ended the day in downtown Cadillac with Marcus Peccia, the city manager, and Carla Filkins, the mayor, to hear about their partnership with the MSU School of Planning, Design and Construction; MSU Extension and the Michigan Municipal League to create a successful placemaking plan. Marcus gave us a tour to see some of the new efforts to make downtown Cadillac a place for the community to gather as part of the Heritage Plaza PlacePlan. We saw the new amphitheater, the outdoor fireplace, the park and the future location of the Cadillac farmers market.

State Council members and administrators pose for a group photograph in downtown Cadillac.

State Council members and administrators in downtown Cadillac.

On Wednesday, Jill O’Donnell, a senior agriculture and agribusiness educator who has worked with the Michigan Christmas tree industry for over 32 years, joined us as we visited the Dutchman Tree Farm in Manton. We met with Steve VanderWeide, the owner, as he shared about farm operations and his connection with MSU Extension. We learned about the soil, tree growth process and market changes that characterize this area of the state.

Next we met up with Erin Lizotte, integrated pest management educator, at Arlene Hops to learn about hops as a re-emerging specialty crop in Michigan and MSU Extension’s efforts to provide research and support. Brian Tennis from the Michigan Hop Alliance answered questions about growing hops as well as the importance of having Extension as a valuable resource in moving forward.

State Council members stand in a hops field and listen to Erin Lizotte talk about Michigan hops.

State Council members get a chance to hear from Erin Lizotte about hop growing in Michigan.

We ended our tour at the Lake City Research Center with Jason Rowntree, Kable Thurlow and Jerry for a tour of the center and a chance to learn more about their research on forage-based livestock, potato production and bioenergy crop production. Jason is an MSU faculty member and Kable is a beef educator who conduct research and outreach at the center.

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Many council members expressed how important it was to learn more about the work we’re doing in this area of the state. It was an extremely successful trip, and I’d like to send a huge “Thank you!” out to everyone who made our visit possible.

You know, the most meaningful part for me is when we meet community members and hear how MSU Extension made a difference in their lives. Nothing beats that.

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Filed under Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, Children and Youth, Economic development, Parks, Partnerships

Thousands enjoy 4-H Exploration Days on campus

From June 22 to 24, Michigan State University Extension hosted 4-H Exploration Days, a pre-college program annually attended by about 2,500 young people ages 11 to 19 along with chaperones from across Michigan.

The program helps youth increase responsibility, confidence, independence and accountability as well as practice problem-solving, decision-making and time-management skills. 4-H Exploration Days attendees have the opportunity to meet new people and exercise communication, teamwork and leadership. The event also inspires them to explore college options and to develop social and academic skills they need for a successful transition to college.

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This year, campers came from all over Michigan, representing all 83 counties. Youth participated in over 200 sessions ranging from animal science to sports and from business and entrepreneurship to arts and crafts. Outside of sessions, they enjoyed many on-campus activities such as swimming at the IM Sports West outdoor pool, bowling at the Union, ice skating at the Munn Ice Arena, visiting the Abrams Planetarium and lots more. They also attended an entertainment event on Wednesday night, which featured motivational speaker Brandon Lee White.

I’d like to thank the hundreds of MSU Extension staff members and 4-H volunteers who made this opportunity possible for our youth.

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Filed under 4-H, Children and Youth, Youth development

Michigan 4-H youth lead volunteer projects across the state

During the weekend of April 15-17, members of the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council (SYLC) led, organized and supported six service projects throughout Michigan for several days of national service. The SYLC is a group of outstanding Michigan 4-H teens who promote 4-H throughout the state and provide a youth perspective on the development of various state 4-H programs.

The projects included:

  • A tree-planting event at the Comden Towle Model Forest in Montcalm County. Nearly 40 4-H youth, parents and volunteers from Montcalm and Mecosta counties planted 250 white spruce trees.
  • An agricultural awareness event at an elementary school in Oakland County.
  • A 4-H booth at the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Small Animals Day in East Lansing. At the booth, event attendees created coloring pages that were donated to C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
  • A cleanup of the Emmet County Fairgrounds. Fourteen 4-H’ers came together to pick up the grandstands and horse arena in preparation for summer events.
  • A gardening education program for fourth grade students in Oceana County. Students potted a vegetable plant, learned about gardening and were encouraged to donate their vegetable crops to local food donation programs.
  • A book drive to benefit children in Flint. Books were collected through May 16 to be donated to programs serving Flint children as reading has been identified as a way to combat the negative effects of lead contamination.

“We are so proud of both the Michigan 4-H members who planned these service projects and those who gave their time and service to help,” said Julie Chapin, state leader for the MSU Extension Michigan 4-H program. “They’re all a great example of the kind of true leaders we’re growing in 4-H: youth who lend a hand where it is needed, who find solutions to local problems and who have the skills to lead, both in their communities and at the state level.”

Would you like to read more about this event? Take a look at this article by Jamie Wilson of MSU Extension Communications to learn more.

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Filed under 4-H, Children and Youth, Volunteerism

Youth global engagement: World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute

On May 12, Michigan State University hosted World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute (WFP MIYI). During the one-day event, youth in grades 8 to 12 presented research and recommendations on how to solve key global challenges by giving short speeches and taking part in small group discussions with local experts. They had the opportunity to connect with other student leaders from across Michigan to share ideas, identify solutions to problems and build friendships. They also interacted with global leaders in science, agriculture, industry and policy as well as innovative researchers, professors and college students working to improve food security around the world. Youth participants took part in educational sessions and interactive panels to explore current research and issues in international development and life sciences.

Several youth shared about their experiences with WFP MIYI:

“World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute has opened doors for me to a network that few organizations have the ability to do.”

“Through participating in WFP MIYI, I am more confident, learned so much and feel that I can make a difference.”

“My experience at the Michigan Youth Institute has given me skills in leadership and confidence, and has inspired me to think about others around the world.”

“My experience here not only helped me learn how to do research, write a paper on that research, and present it. It also exposed me to all of these global issues and to some wonderful experts and peers who are active in solving that.”

“The experience of participating in the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute has helped me prepare for a huge goal that will be to fight and conquer hunger.”

The WFP MIYI is sponsored by Michigan State University Extension, Michigan 4-H, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Michigan FFA. MSU Extension 4-H educators Makena Schultz and Brian Wibby lead the collaboration and organization of WFP MIYI.

“The WFP MIYI directly engages young people in what could be one of the most significant challenges ever to face humanity: How will we provide access to a sufficient, nutritious and sustainable diet for each of the 9 to 10 billion people who could be inhabiting our planet later in this century? The WFP MIYI helps young people to develop an understanding of the interconnected nature of the many factors that are related to global food security, and creates a space where youth can develop the knowledge and skills needed to create effective solutions to this wicked problem,” Brian said.

Makena feels that the most meaningful takeaway from the event is that young people have a chance to take action in their passion for helping others.

“The World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute offers a lens for young people to do that, so they can explore their passion, through the lens of global food security, which is really exciting,” she said. “Young people have really innovative ideas, they’re very creative, they think outside the box, and very often they come up with great solutions to problems that maybe adults or other members of the community might not see so easily.”

Interested in hearing more about World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute? Kraig Ehm of MSU Agriculture and Natural Resources Creative interviews Makena and participant Raegan Gembarski on the World Food Prize edition of In the Field on the Spartan Podcast.

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Filed under 4-H, Children and Youth, Food, Resources, Student Presentations, Youth development