Tag Archives: michigan 4-h

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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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

Former state director of Michigan 4-H inducted to National 4-H Hall of Fame

In fall 2014, former state director of Michigan 4-H Mike Tate was inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. The National Association of Extension 4-H Agents established the award in 2002 as a 4-H Centennial project. Inductees have included volunteers, supporters, staff members and pioneers who have all made major contributions to 4-H at local, state and national levels.

Mike Tate served in Michigan State University Extension 4-H for 26 years from 1972 to 1998, working to provide opportunities for all youth, including those living in low-income communities and other disadvantaged situations. He left Michigan to expand his career at Washington State University, but his legacy has continued as our 4-H program continues to work to ensure that youth from all backgrounds feel welcome and included.

Regarding his career and induction, Mike said it was, “a lifetime of dedication to the greatest resource, the best resource that we have in our country and that’s our young people.”

He tells a great story about his history with 4-H. Watch his acceptance speech online:

He is in great company considering that past recipients from Michigan include Janet Blanchard, Leah Ritchie, Arne Kettunen and Russ Mawby. During the nomination period, each State 4-H Office can select one person to nominate. Each year, approximately 20 persons are selected from the nominees to be inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Especially considering the amount of competition for these spots, it is an honor to see so many of our staff recognized for their gifts to the organization.

Congratulations, Mike!

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Happy Holidays from the Director’s Office!

While many of us are settling into vacations after the inevitable flurries of end-of-the-year due dates, I wanted to send you all one last Spotlight for 2014. You have a lot to be proud of this year, as we’ve worked to transition through administration changes and at the same time focus on building an organizational culture that reflects the values we live by every day.

Coming back to Michigan State University Extension for these past six months has been an honor and a privilege for me. As I’ve said before, Extension has been part of my life for many years, and being asked to come back into the role of director was just like coming home.

A lot has happened in six months, but these are some of the things I’d like to highlight as the great work you’ve all done in that time:

  • Michigan 4-H received a grant to fund a volunteer recruitment campaign – the final numbers of new volunteers aren’t yet in, but the increased visibility for Michigan 4-H was a huge opportunity for MSU Extension. Thank you to everyone who helped push out the messages and handle additional intake in your offices – it was a team effort and your hard work across the board is what made it possible.
  • Leaders in Michigan’s food and agriculture industry are feeling positive about food and agriculture in Michigan. The results of the recent Michigan Agriculture and Food Index (MAFI) reflect their optimistic outlook. In addition, their confidence in our state’s economy overall is climbing. The Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) as well as your consumer outreach is helping the producers feel like they have a bright future in Michigan.
  • As part of our Civil Rights review that took place over the summer, we proved that we are reaching the audiences in close demographic comparison in categories of race and gender, which is a step in the right direction toward our value of diversity.
  • We all contributed to an important conversation about what is strong and what needs work in the organizational culture of MSU Extension. I’m excited to see us all work towards the goals that we laid out in Fall Extension Conference this year, and hope that we can continue to add more “color” to our future.

Whatever holidays you’re celebrating as the year draws to a close, I hope that you’re spending them relaxing with your families and friends. Reflect on the great work you’ve done this year and the exciting plans you have in store for next year. I will be handing the reigns over to Ray Hammerschmidt as your new interim director on January 1, and I know that I am leaving you in capable hands. We have an extremely competent administrative team and you are all a very talented work force! It’s been a privilege to work with you all again, and look forward to seeing many of you in the new year as I transition into working with the District Councils. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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