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Mentors and mentees have fun and strengthen relationships at 4-H Mentoring Weekend

The 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend brought together mentors and mentees from throughout the state July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. The event boasted 73 participants representing both one-on-one and small group mentoring.

Staff and volunteers pose for a photo at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Staff and volunteers pose for a photo at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend that took place July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. Photo credit: Ronald Wells, 4-H Tech Wizards mentor

The theme of “Backpack to Adventure” allowed attendees to explore cultures throughout the world. Mentees included young people aged 11 to 19. The event provided a chance for mentors and mentees to participate together in various workshops and activities as well as enjoy the opportunities offered on the Kettunen Center grounds such as playing disc golf and exploring hiking trails.

Mentors and mentees chose from a wide variety of workshops including such activities as volleyball, looming, archery, basketball, solar model car building, fishing, swimming and canoeing. Attendees made their own salsa and healthy snacks, tie-dyed T-shirts, made superhero masks, edited their own videos and learned the basics of the Chinese Children’s Ribbon Dance. Some chose to test their skills and strength on “B’Onko’s Boot Camp Obstacle Course.” Some participated in “Messy Games” to develop life skills such as cooperation and problem solving. And of course, it wouldn’t be 4-H Mentoring Weekend without the popular Jell-O Wars.

A highlight of the weekend was Carnival Night, which included Nintendo Wii and board games, karaoke and a photo booth.

Participants also took part in a service project in which they made rubber band “Rainbow Loom” bracelets for military men and women. They also wrote short notes of thanks to them in appreciation for their service to our country.

Michigan State University senior Extension specialist Lisa Bottomley provided leadership for the event on behalf of the Capacity Building work group.

Staff, volunteers, mentors and mentees at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Staff, volunteers, mentors and mentees take a break from the fun at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend that took place July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. Photo credit: Lisa Bottomley

“The goal of the workshop is for mentees and mentors to have a fun weekend and strengthen their relationship while trying new things and learning together. We provide a mix of recreational and learning activities,” said Lisa.

Other members of the leadership team included program coordinator Susan Fenton (co-chair for the event), Extension educator Frank Cox (co-chair for the event), Extension educator Scott Lakin (past chair), program coordinator Dequindre Bell (past chair), and student worker Scott Victor, who worked on registration and other preparation for the event.

Extension educators Jan Brinn and Sara Keinath from the Leadership and Civic Engagement work group joined the Capacity Building work group to incorporate the world culture theme throughout the weekend and to lead small and large group sessions.

Other staff involved in planning and staffing the event included Extension educator Tom Long, and program coordinators Barb Brow, Lisa Kelley, Anetria Rhodes and Will Shemer as well as program worker Barb Steele and associate program leader B’Onko Sadler.

AmeriCorps members involved included Kerry Hochradel, LaTonya Terry, Joe Barczyk and MavaMarie Cooper.

Congratulations to all on a successful event!

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Mentors and mentees find community of peers at 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Many of us had parents or other adults in our lives who made a difference. We had someone we could count on for wise advice and a listening ear – maybe an older sibling, a teacher or a 4-H leader. Often kids may be searching for guidance and support but they lack strong role models. That’s where 4-H Youth Mentoring comes in. The program matches caring individuals with young people to provide support, friendship, reinforcement and constructive examples.

For the sixth year, an event took place that helps to strengthen the youth mentoring community across Michigan. More than 90 participants congregated at Kettunen Center in Tustin July 19‒21 to take part in 4-H Mentoring Weekend. Michigan State University Extension 4-H mentoring educator Scott Lakin and Extension program instructor Dequindre Bell co-chaired the event under the leadership of campus staff Lisa Bottomley, senior Extension specialist, and Molly Frendo, associate program leader.

Senior Extension educator Barb Duvall and Extension educator Frank Cox led mentors and mentees from around the state in activities focused on financial literacy at this camp-style weekend themed “Making Cents for Life.”

In addition, participants explored conservation education, science literacy, service learning and healthy living. Mentoring partners strengthened their relationships through fun and interactive activities both indoors and outdoors, taking advantage of Kettunen Center’s beautiful setting on Center Lake.

Other Extension staff members who helped out with the event included Danielle Abrams, Kea Boyd, Barb Brow, Jessica Cotton, Lizz Duran, Susan Fenton, Derrick Harrison, Lisa Kelley, Jennifer Lasslett, Aaron Lawrence, Kim Lewis, Anetria Rhodes, B’Onko Sadler, Edward Scott, Katie Sosin, Barb Steele and Scott Victor.

Besides the learning and the fun, 4-H Mentoring Weekend provides both mentors and mentored youth with a community of peers who share their experiences.

To get an idea of the exciting atmosphere at the event, watch the following kid-produced video from the 4-H Mentoring Weekend Press Corp: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-wnodtXCYg&feature=youtu.be

All I can say is “Jell-O Wars!”

Find photos of the event on Michigan 4-H Youth Mentoring’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/michigan4hyouthmentoring.

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Vote for Operation: Military Kids

More than 19,000 military youth live in Michigan – youth who must go on with life as usual while one or both parents serve overseas. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Operation: Military Kids (OMK) supports the children of men and women in the Marines, Army National Guard, Air Guard, Coast Guard, Army Reserves, Air Force, Navy, Navy Reserves and Marine Reserves, and children of Department of Defense contractors. The program provides an outlet with recreational, educational and social opportunities for military youth. OMK builds community partnerships to increase awareness and capacity for youth, families and communities to support youth of military families.

 Martin Waymire Advocacy Communications, a Michigan public relations firm, chose OMK as a featured contender this year in their annual Gives Project. Through the project, the firm selected OMK as one of four charities that demonstrate true heroism in our community, state and nation. We’d like you to show your support and go to the Gives Project website at mwacsocial.com to vote for OMK. This is one time where it’s okay to vote early and vote often. You can vote daily until Dec.16 at 11:59 p.m. when the poll closes.

 To find out more information on OMK, visit the Michigan 4-H Operation: Military Kids Web page, go to the OMK Facebook page or find out what’s going on nationally at OMK’s national site.

 B’Onko Sadler acts as 4-H OMK military liaison, and Kendra Moyses is 4-H OMK project director.

 You may remember when Gov. Rick Snyder proclaimed April as the Month of the Military Child. Watch and listen to B’Onko talking about Operation: Military Kids at the proclamation ceremony on the following video:

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Operation: Military Kids plans appreciation days, other events to celebrate military kids month

Military families are at the forefront of today’s headlines. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, recently launched a campaign to rally support for U.S. service members and their families.

 And April is designated as the Month of the Military Child. Gov. Rick Snyder kicked off the month in Michigan by signing a proclamation. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Military Children, the Strength of Our Future.” It’s an opportunity to recognize military children and youth for their heroism, character, courage, sacrifices and continued resilience.

 Michigan State University Extension 4-H Operation: Military Kids (OMK) and its state partners are putting on a series of military child appreciation days during the month of April. During the events, military kids receive certificates at an award ceremony and take part in fun activities. On April 8, during Military Child Appreciation Day, military families got to experience what the Detroit Science Center had to offer. Another Military Child Appreciation Day took place on April 10 at Potter Park Zoo in Lansing. Activities included a family barbecue, a self-guided tour of the zoo, and a special animal presentation. And yet another appreciation day will take place at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, April 23.

 Military kids took part in two Red Cross babysitter’s trainings and a youth sports clinic as part of the Month of the Military Child as well.

 All of these activities let military kids know that they are appreciated.

 Operation: Military Kids is led at MSUE by Kendra Moyses, OMK project director, and B’Onko Sadler, military state liaison.

 According to B’Onko, we need to remember that children serve, too.

 “They endure stress and other issues associated with deployment. We provide programming and events that connect them to other youth experiencing the same or similar situations,” he said.

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