On Thursday, July 12, WKAR, the local NPR affiliate, visited the Eaton County fair and interviewed Michigan State University Extension 4-H program coordinator Kristy Oosterhouse and one of our 4-H’ers, Naomi Saint Amour. The two-minute piece highlighted how 4-H makes a difference in the lives of young people across the state. As many of you already know, Michigan 4-H is the largest youth development program in Michigan, and it provides more than 200,000 young people with experiential learning opportunities to explore new interests and discover their passion.
If you have a free minute or two, you can read or listen to the “4-H Engrains Life Skills in Kids” story online.
Sheila Urban Smith
Sheila Urban Smith, a program leader in Michigan 4-H with Michigan State University Extension, recently received word that she would be honored with a Meritorious Service Award from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA). The NAE4-HA is a professional organization that, according to its website, is “dedicated to promoting, strengthening, enhancing and advocating for the 4-H youth development profession.”
An individual can be nominated for the prestigious Meritorious Service Award only if he or she has served 15 years or more in Extension 4-H youth programs and has been a member of the association for the four years before being nominated. Additionally, nominees must have demonstrated innovative youth programming and leadership in the NAE4-HA at the state, regional or national level.
According to Sheila, “This is incredibly exciting since I’m being recognized by colleagues.”
She is referring to Jennifer Weichel, Christine Heverly and Kristy Oosterhouse, who spearheaded the nomination.
The award will be presented to Sheila at the NAE4-HA 2015 Annual Conference in October in Portland, Oregon. Congratulations, Sheila!
Some Wayne County middle schoolers will be having fun this summer and acquiring important STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills at the same time thanks to a grant from Cognizant’s Making the Future After-school and Summer Program. The program seeks to inspire young learners to pursue STEM disciplines by creating fun and hands-on learning experiences. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development will use the $6,000 grant in the summer of 2014 to expand the TechXcite program, an after-school engineering curriculum developed by National 4-H and Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering.
Through the program, approximately 100 young people will participate in learning modules that focus on transportation, bio-medical technology, green building and solar energy. They’ll create exciting projects such as a bionic arm, a solar oven, a solar-powered car and rain barrels.
Extension educator Laurie Rivetto leads the Wayne County program and Extension 4-H program coordinator Kristy Oosterhouse is the go-to person for the overall 4-H TEchXcite program.
4-H Tech Wizards are up to new things in Michigan. Tech Wizards is a small-group mentoring program that matches professionals who work in the science, engineering and technology (SET) fields with youth.
4-H Tech Wizards strives to reduce and help prevent juvenile delinquency and school failure, and build supportive relationships as well as introduce mentees to opportunities within the SET fields. It also provides participants with meaningful opportunities to engage in service learning.
Michigan State University Extension in Macomb County will have three new 4-H Tech Wizards sites operating within a month of the start of the school year. The program began at Seminole Academy in June while meetings at Selfridge Air National Guard Base and the Detroit Arsenal in Warren will begin soon.
Extension educators Scott Lakin and Ed Scott and Extension program instructor Alex Boyd work together to make this a regional program.
“Functioning as a District 11 4-H Tech Wizards team has led to greater success in our mentor recruitment efforts. I have found that attending various events and specifically targeted organizational presentations is the most effective way to get individuals to start the volunteer application process,” Scott Lakin said.
Scott designed a display booth to showcase the project areas and technology available. Talking to the public at events led to contacts with numerous adults soon to be trained as 4-H Tech Wizards mentors in all three counties in the district – Macomb, Oakland and Wayne.
Extension program instructors Barb Brow and Susan Fenton continue to work to expand the program in Ottawa County. Kristy Oosterhouse, program aide,piloted the program in Eaton County and assists other counties in efforts to replicate this program. Extension educator Dorothy Munn has secured two AmeriCorps positions to start the program in northern Michigan.
Senior specialist Lisa Bottomley and associate program leader Molly Frendo provide support from the statewide perspective.
“We are really excited to see this program expand to serve new communities and reach new audiences,” said Lisa.
Kristy Oosterhouse was named Michigan’s AmeriCorps Member of the Month. She splits her time between the Michigan State University Extension Eaton County Office and the MSU campus. In Eaton County, Kristy runs STOMP 4-H Youth Mentoring under the guidance of Jenny O’Neal, Extension educator. Kristy and Jenny also recently assumed responsibility for Ingham County’s mentoring program as well in an effort to save it from closing. On campus, Kristy is under the guidance of Molly Frendo, MSUE associate program leader, and Lisa Bottomley, Extension specialist. Her service on campus includes 4-H Mentoring Weekend, the 4-H Guided Adventures curriculum and the 4-H Mentor Training curriculum. Kristy served as a member with the 4-H Mentor Michigan Initiative AmeriCorps program; she now is serving her second year of service with the new Mentor Michigan College Coaching Corps.
According to Molly, “Kristy has been one of our super star members over the past two years and we have been very blessed to have her as an integral part of our team.”
Click here to read about more about Kristy.
Filed under 4-H, Mentoring