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Youth voices come together at National 4-H Youth Conference

4-H hosted its National 4-H Conference April 9-14. This year, Jackie Martin, our MSU Extension 4-H leadership and civic engagement educator, led a group of four outstanding 4-H individuals to Washington, D.C. for the conference: Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young.

MSU 4-H youth Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young pose for a photo with Congressman Huizenga.

MSU 4-H youth Samantha Beaudrie, Katie Kurburski, Katelyn Stevens and Emma Young pose for a photo with Congressman Huizenga.

This conference is the premier civic engagement opportunity for 4-H members ages 15 to 19 to increase their knowledge, resources and skills. It engages youth in personal development experiences as they discuss topics affecting youth and programs nationwide. It empowers and mobilizes them to create positive social change in their communities.

Jackie Martin shared about the conference and the many engagement opportunities for the youth.

“National 4-H Conference brings youth together from across the country to research an issue presented to them by one of many federal agencies,” she said.

Youth bring diverse perspectives representing youth voice together by preparing a presentation they share with federal agency representatives from programs and departments such as the Department of State, the Department of Energy, AmeriCorps and the Department of Education.

Each 4-H’er shared about her experience.

Samantha, from Monroe County, who takes part in 4-H in sheep, rabbits, chickens, still exhibits, leadership and community service projects, said, “National 4-H Conference allowed me to gain a new perspective on 4-H and the global opportunities it offers.”

Katelyn, active in 4-H in Muskegon County with sheep projects, still exhibits and leadership, said, “It changed my view on the political world and I got to see more in-depth what goes into the decision to go to college while working with a diverse round table group.”

Katie, involved in sewing, baking, crafting, public speaking and leadership in Emmet County, said, “National 4-H Conference helped me gain a better perspective of how Extension works as well as helped me broaden my knowledge of our government and peers.”

“National 4-H Conference gave me a better perspective on the different 4-H programs throughout the country,” Emma from Washtenaw County and active with 4-H chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, still exhibits, leadership and archery, said. “The visits gave me insight into a typical day for a government official and I’m considering my own future in political service.”

Jackie said, “Youth share their voice on Capitol Hill as they represent Michigan 4-H in meetings with senators, representatives and their staff. It’s always a joy to watch youth step up to a big challenge and exceed our expectations while gaining friends and perspectives from across the U.S.”

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Filed under 4-H, Conferences

Monroe’s Youth Farm Stand is a winner!

Good educational opportunities make everybody a winner. The Monroe Youth Farm Stand is evidence of that. The farm stand teams at-risk youth up with Master Gardener volunteers and a local community center to grow and sell fresh produce in an area that would otherwise be considered a food desert.

Youth win because they get an understanding of the food system from farm to table while improving their diets. The community wins because they get access to fresh, affordable food.

Monroe County youth show off the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.

Monroe County youth show off the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.

The other winners? Our MSU Extension team in Monroe County. They were a national finalist in the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Search for Excellence in 4-H and Youth. The award focuses on educational programming that reaches beyond the traditional programming and engages youth that don’t have good opportunities to learn and grow. Not only has this spurred a great farm stand, but the group also came together to form the Green Growers 4-H Club.

The Monroe County Youth Farm Stand Project was a team effort that included Brenda Reau, Monroe CED; Jennie Stanger, consumer horticulture educator; Joy Cousino, family and consumer sciences educator; Heather Hampel, family nutrition program instructor; and Denise Reaume, 4-H program associate. They received assistance from 4-H volunteer leader Allen Russell, and many Monroe County Master Gardener volunteers.

Congratulations to this great team, and to the youth who are living and learning in Monroe County!

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Filed under 4-H, Agriculture, Awards, Food, Nutrition, Youth development