Tag Archives: connie lange

Sometimes the lesson learned is not in the lesson plan

In our roles at Michigan State University Extension, we might spend many hours preparing a presentation or workshop with specific objectives in mind expecting that participants will grasp the intended educational concept or skill. Sometimes, we have the unexpected pleasure of participants gaining even more than what we’ve planned for. That’s what happened at the 4-H Visual Arts and Crafts Workshop that took place at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Mich., Oct. 12-13. Surprisingly, it happened because of what most of us would consider an unfortunate situation.

 The hands-on aspect of visual arts makes it a good vehicle to teach life skills. The workshop participants (4-H volunteers aged 12 and up) learn to serve as role models when they’ll teach and help process these same activities, connecting the 4-H members they work with to life skills used in science, entrepreneurship and leadership.

Roma Fuller, 4-H Visual Arts and Crafts Workshop .

Roma Fuller, 4-H Visual Arts and Crafts Workshop participant, uses battery-operated light to work on her glass etching project when the power went out during the workshop that took place at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Mich., Oct. 12-13, 2014. Photo credit: Connie Lange

 However, when a transformer blew and the power went out for almost five hours, participants practiced some life skills not in the lesson plan that day. As participants continued to work on their projects in the dark, both staff and participants practiced resiliency, teamwork and patience. Kettunen Center staff members brought in candles and lanterns, and participants used their flashlights to finish their projects.  The planned hot meal was no longer possible, so Kettunen Center staff rose to the challenge, serving a cold-cut buffet with trimmings.

 Extension educator Connie Lange remarked, “Everyone worked together to make it successful so a challenging time is now a memory that makes us smile and proves the resourcefulness of 4-H people! The workshop is a true example of how 4-H people can work through just about anything!”

 Three work groups collaborated to plan this workshop including Leadership and Civic Engagement, Career Exploration/Workforce Preparation and Academic Success. Senior Extension educator Nancy Victorson chaired the workshop while Jan Brinn, Sara Keinath, Rebecca Krans, Connie Lange, Bev Przystas, Dave Radloff and Laurie Rivetto served on the committee. All committee members facilitated portions of the workshop and pitched in to make things work when the lights went out. Other staff members who taught were Catarina Edison and Cheryl Powell.

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FRIENDS Day Camp promotes 4-H, health, nutrition – and friends

Despite a tornado warning that sent kids, youth counselors and adults to the basement of the Branch County Fair Office the first day, the FRIENDS Day Camp was a success.

According to Suzanne Pish, Michigan State University Extension educator, FRIENDS Day Camp is a great collaboration among partners in the community and among the different staff members within the MSU Extension Branch County Office. This health, nutrition and “4-H awareness” camp is sponsored by the Health and Nutrition Institute and Children and Youth Institute in cooperation with the Branch County 4-H Foundation, Branch County Dairy Producers, Community Health Center of Branch County Physical Therapy, Branch County Michigan Works! WIA Youth Program and the Branch County Fair Board with help from a Branch County Community Foundation–Youth Advisory Council (YAC) grant. It took the cooperation of all of these organizations to host 58 children aged 7 to 11, who are living in limited-income situations, for this weeklong event at the Branch County Fairgrounds July 11–15.

This year’s theme, “Color Me Healthy,” focused on eating fruits and vegetables. The kids took part in a wide range of activities. Val Albright, MSUE Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–Education (SNAP-ED) program associate, held “In the Kitchen” sessions that included a lesson on fruits and vegetables. Sarah Johnson, MSUE SNAP-ED program associate, led a session each day using OrganWise Guys, an interactive science-based curriculum. Connie Lange, Extension 4-H educator, led the children in craft activities that make the kids aware of 4‑H and the kinds of opportunities 4-H offers. Suzanne presented a session on friendships that encourages social-emotional health. In fact, FRIENDS Day Camp is spelled with all caps to emphasize that the camp is about meeting and making new friends.

Several adult volunteers led other sessions throughout the week and 20 youth volunteers acted as camp counselors. One of the volunteer-led sessions focused on teaching the kids about agriculture, learning where the food they eat actually comes from. Campers got physically active through the Jump Into Foods and Fitness curriculum.

The kids enjoyed the final day at camp by taking a field trip to Sugar Bush Farms in Allen, which is a farmers market as well as a working farm. State Senator Bruce Caswell and Branch County administrator Bud Norman joined the group for a picnic lunch.

Read more here: http://www.thedailyreporter.com/features/x1256647815/MSU-holds-Friends-Camp

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Youth develop leadership, public speaking, relationship skills as part of Branch County project

In March, Connie Lange, Michigan State University Extension 4-H educator, organized a Dale Carnegie Training course for youth in grades seven to 12 as part of the Branch County Youth Leadership Development Project. Phil Zeller of the Ralph Nichols Dale Carnegie Program taught the sessions in Lansing each Saturday in March.

Connie not only served as facilitator and coordinator of the program, but also played a key role in securing scholarships for the youth participants. The Dale Carnegie program was offered for $800 (a $200 discount), and in coordination with The Dearth Estate in Coldwater, eight Branch County youth were given a full scholarship while 28 were able to attend for only $75. Of those 28, the 24 participants with perfect attendance were refunded the $75 fee through the Branch County 4-H Foundation.

A graduation was held the evening of Tuesday, March 29, in which participants were asked to share what they learned about themselves, about leadership, and about changes in their lives as a result of participating in the program. According to Brad Neumann, District 13 coordinator, participant after participant shared, with nearly 100 family members and perfect strangers in the room, how the program helped them foster more positive relationships in school and within their families, become more comfortable with themselves and appreciative of the differences of others, improve public speaking skills, and develop aspirations of leadership.

It is evident that Connie is a driving force behind youth leadership development in Branch County. She and the Branch County Youth Leadership Development Committee also developed and conducted the Take the Lead leadership training program. The Take the Lead and the Dale Carnegie Training Course are programs offered an alternating yearly basis. Take the Lead helps youth in grades six to eight develop skills and personal attributes around character, challenge, communication and community. Great work, Connie!

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4-H Citizenship Washington Focus delegates learn from experiencing nation’s capital

A 4-H Citizenship Washington Focus delegation traveled to Washington, D.C., June 26–July 3. Forty-eight delegates from thirteen Michigan counties along with Michigan State University Extension staff members Connie Lange, Renee Applegate, Mark Williams and Jan Kreiner, chaperones and assistants experienced a week full of learning by doing. The group immersed themselves in U.S. history and current national government when they toured the nation’s capital and Gettysburg Battlefield and Museum, participated in town hall debates and met with senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and individual representatives. Connie Lange summarized it simply: “Awesome program and awesome group!”

4-H Citizenship Washington Focus delegates pose with Senator Carl Levin on the steps of the U.S. Capitol

4-H Citizenship Washington Focus delegates pose with Senator Carl Levin on the steps of the U.S. Capitol

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