Tag Archives: ingham county

Celebrating Michigan 4-H at the MSU basketball game

This weekend, my wife, Nancy, and I had the pleasure of attending the Michigan State University (MSU) Extension 4-H Day at the Breslin to cheer on our Lady Spartans as they faced the Iowa Hawkeyes. Our staff members, volunteers and our 4-H families added 5,307 members to the crowd.

4-H youth and their families, 4-H volunteers and MSU Extension staff members are celebrated at this annual event, which recognizes the impact of 4-H programs throughout Michigan. This year, this event was the launch of the 4-H Grows Here campaign in Michigan. For more information on this campaign, please read my blog post devoted to 4-H Grows Here in Michigan.

Picture of scoreboard with visual representation of the 4-H Grows Here campaign.

We launched our 4-H Grows Here campaign at the game. Photo credit: ANR Communications.

During half time, I joined our 4-H youth at center court to lead the crowd in reciting the 4-H pledge. It was a humbling experience to be invited to join tomorrow’s leaders.

Picture of Ingham County 4-H and Jeff Dwyer at the center of the court during half time to lead the 4-H pledge.

I joined Ingham County 4-H at the center of the court during half time to lead the 4-H pledge. Photo credit: ANR Communications.


4-H displays filled the center concourse and proudly illustrated our programs to 4-H members and other guests. 4-H staff greeted guests and provided information on the many programs that 4-H has to offer on topics including livestock and marketing, international exchanges, natural resources, life skills, early childhood development, robotics and technology.

Photo of interactive booth with two 4-H staff members guiding youth and parents in a fun activity.

Adults and children alike were able to participate in fun activities in the concourse and learn more about 4-H. Photo credit: ANR Communications.

A group of sisters spin the wheel during a 4-H booth activity.

Wheel of 4-H fortune anyone? Photo credit: ANR Communications.

Jeff Dwyer and Julie Chapin with the 4-H Ingham County group with the 4-H flag and US flag.

The courageous Ingham County 4-H group that was kind enough to let me join them for the pledge at half time. What a great group! Photo credit: ANR Communications.

I would like to thank all the 4-H youth, Extension staff and families for coming out to the game and celebrating MSU Extension 4-H.

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

Former staff member, now volunteer, receives mentoring honor

Many of our Michigan State University Extension colleagues not only do a terrific job while Extension employees, but they also often go on to contribute their expertise in retirement through volunteering. That’s the case with Ginger Kenney-Sweet, former MSU Extension Ingham County 4-H program coordinator.

The Capital Area Mentoring Partnership recognized Ginger as an outstanding adult mentor. Ginger received the recognition Jan. 14 at the Lansing City Council meeting as part of National Mentoring Awareness Month. She was one of seven people honored for their time, wisdom and support in impacting the lives of young people in Lansing and Ingham County.

Ginger acts as a mentor to high-school-age members of the Ingham County Youth Commission  (ICYC), a diverse group of young people who advises the Ingham County Board of Commissioners and others within county government on issues relating to young people. Members of the ICYC are all enrolled as 4-H members. Ginger coordinates this program, continuing work she did as an Extension staff member.

Laura Fuller, MSU Extension Ingham County 4-H program coordinator, nominated Ginger for the honor.

Laura said, “Her patient mentoring skills and commitment to developing youth has resulted in future generations of leadership who demonstrate civic engagement and motivated actions. Whether they come into 4-H programs as a volunteer or through court involvement, Ginger makes individuals feel welcome and lets them grow to fulfill their abilities.”

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Filed under Awards

Program connects youth to their food, teaches business skills

Stephanie M. Reuter, Michigan State University Extension 4-H program assistant in Ingham County, is connecting kids to their food – from the garden to the table. Stephanie coordinates a program at the Ingham County Family Center in Lansing using a $10,000 4-H Participation Fee Grant. The center on 22 acres includes a high school, Ingham Academy, and an evening program called Pride. Stephanie and an AmeriCorps member-in-training work with court-involved youth tending about an acre of land and raising five egg-laying chickens. A hoop house on the grounds contains raised beds for growing greens. The students eat the produce that they grow for lunch and dinner. A four-week cooking program that used produce and eggs from the site was such a hit with the kids that the classes are being held again.

Ingham school garden

Youth tend an acre of land on the Ingham County Family Youth Center grounds.

 Last year more than 100 youth were part of the program. It seeks to get kids involved with the food they eat by learning how to grow their own and at the same time increasing the amount of produce that they eat, leading to a healthier lifestyle. But the program does not stop with just growing and eating. The youth test their entrepreneurial skills selling the produce at farm stands at county buildings and on the school grounds. Adult volunteers led by the AmeriCorps member are helping out with projects – cleaning up the garden, planting garlic and creating a native butterfly garden in an island of the parking lot.

 The program has grown substantially in a short time and because of the enthusiasm of the youth, volunteers and staff members like Stephanie, the project should continue to make a difference with the youth at the center.

Ingham school chickens

Youth use eggs from these chickens in cooking classes in the MSUE 4-H program at the Ingham County Family Center.

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Filed under 4-H

Social Justice project yields Hometown Heros

Once an idea gets started, you never know where it might end up. Such is the case with the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) Social Justice project. Doak Bloss, the Access to Health coordinator at ICHD that we named as an MSUE Key Partner in 2008, and Renee Canaday partnered with MSU Extension team members Dionardo Pizaña and Karen Pace to help ICHD employees and community members become Social Justice Facilitators. Marvin Cato, CYFC program leader, and Kimbirly Bodfish, CYFC associate program leader, got into the act, too—they are among the 30 people who participated in 12 days of intensive training to strengthen their skills in facilitating educational sessions around health inequities and social justice within the health department and throughout their communities.

As a result, the Social Justice Facilitator Team has the skills and tools required to engage in difficult, but necessary, conversations about health and equity. One participant said the training “provided a concrete way in which I can participate in changing the systems of injustice that are so prevalent in our society.”

It’s a great project made even better by the fact that the team received the 2009 Hometown Health Hero award from the Michigan Public Health Week Partnership on behalf of Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The award recognizes individuals and organizations for maintaining and improving the health of their local communities. The team is being recognized for addressing health equity and social justice in authentic collaboration with the community it serves, and helping build the foundation for a healthy community and state.

Next, the group will train 15 health department employees and five community members. Dionardo and Karen will continue to provide consultation while Kimbirly, Marvin and others will facilitate upcoming sessions. We look forward to hearing more great news about the changes and impacts this program is making.

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Filed under Awards, Nutrition