Tag Archives: youth

Honey bees are all the buzz for this group of SCIT youth

On Monday, May 9, 25 youth from the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (SCIT) participated in the Honey Bee Challenge hosted at the Ziibiwing Center in Mt. Pleasant. Betty Jo Krosnicki, MSU Extension children and youth educator, and Kristi Schreiber, 4-H program coordinator in Isabella County, organized this event that teaches 4-H youth about the importance of honey bees in food production in order to feed the world.

Youth learned about the process of honey bee pollination and the many foods that we grow that depend on them such as apples, oranges and strawberries. They also learned about the importance of beekeeping and research positions that will ensure we have bees to keep pollinating our food crops in the future. Participants even had the opportunity to build their own battery-powered honey bees. They took home new backpacks filled with information, with seeds to encourage planting flowers that are great sources of pollen and nectar for bees. Each also received a stick of honey.

In Michigan, one of the deliverables for this grant is to train at least 20 4-H teen leaders to lead the Honey Bee Challenge in their local communities. The activity can be scheduled during camps, after-school programs, 4-H club meetings or even during school. With the activity this year, Betty Jo and her team will reach about 1,500 youth participants March through July in Michigan. She has worked with teen leaders throughout the state to train them to lead the activity. Most of the teen leaders for this project received training in March during the Teens as Teachers workshop at Kettunen Center. This is a great opportunity for teens to build their confidence and leadership skills.

Nationally, the Honey Bee Challenge is a program that is a part of the 2016 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, sponsored by National 4-H Council and Monsanto. Betty Jo has managed the grant project for the past 3 years, directing the Fish Farm Challenge the first year and the Windmill Challenge the second. The program reaches 10,000 youth in states with a strong agricultural industry. Its purpose is to help young people develop the professional skills needed to feed a growing world population. It ties in relevant concepts such as aquaculture and environmental stewardship with a hands-on activity that makes learning fun and encourages young people to pursue a career in agriculture and technical fields. This initiative seeks to engage the next generation of farmers, scientists and innovators that will be able to address the needs of an exponentially growing world population.

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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

Education grant provides funding for improving youth awareness and understanding of zoonotic diseases

Julie Thelen, Michigan State University Extension educator for Michigan 4-H Livestock and Veterinary Science Programs, along with her partners in the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), recently received funding for the Michigan Youth Zoonotic Disease Education Grant.

A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be passed between animals and humans. This project will focus on improving youth awareness and understanding related to the possibilities of zoonotic disease transmission when working with animals, and motivating young people to take appropriate precautions to minimize risk. This is an important life skill in personal safety and disease prevention for our youth and a very relevant educational component for our animal and veterinary science programs.

By working with our young people, we are preparing current animal handlers and educating the next generation of animal production agriculture leaders. Not only are well-trained, cautious personnel susceptible to diseases transferred from animals, but youth who have not been educated about such possibilities run an even greater risk of potential health concerns with zoonotic diseases. With this educational outreach opportunity, youth will better understand the precautions they should practice when working with or near animals.

This educational effort offered to 4-H youth will allow them to live healthier lives and help to make a difference in their clubs, communities, country and world. Michigan 4-H engages almost 30,000 youth annually in 4-H animal programs. This funding will provide Michigan 4-H with a much-needed educational resource. We look forward to the impact that the created zoonosis educational materials and resources will have on our youth.

Congratulations, Julie!

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MSU Extension Children and Youth has new associate state leader

I am pleased to announce that Jake DeDecker has accepted the position of associate state leader for Michigan 4-H Youth Development, part of the Children and Youth Institute (CYI) in Michigan State University Extension. He will begin his new role November 3.

Almost eight years ago, Jake began his career with MSU Extension as a 4-H program leader with responsibilities for science and animal science programs. He has continued to provide leadership in Michigan 4-H in the areas of science, engineering and technology programs. He has also worked extensively with the State 4-H Awards Program, conducted workshops and served as a linker for the North Region. He currently serves as the co-chair of the Academic Success Work Group and is a member of the Science Team. In addition, he has been a key member of the CYI MI PRS (Michigan Extension Planning and Reporting System) team.

Congratulations, Jake!

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Building for the Future

Most of you are already familiar with STEM, the acronym referring to “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” Many of our 4-H leaders have been busy trying to engage young people across Michigan in exciting programs that encourage STEM learning. Elaine McKee, 4-H program coordinator in Berrien County, is one of them.

This summer, with the help of a $1,500 grant from the Molly Schuler Foundation and a $2,500 Heart of Cook award, McKee is working to bring LEGO Robotics to her county in a way that young people will enjoy. LEGO Robotics is a popular set of LEGO kits that enable individuals to learn the basics of engineering and computer programming by building small-scale robots. McKee ran a pilot program using LEGO Robotics at Summer My Way camp at Ballard Elementary School, and the young people who were involved had a wonderful time.

Using LEGO Robotics and the same program McKee taught at the summer camp, the grade-level students in Berrien County 4-H will have an opportunity to design robots that can perform simple tasks. This type of project prepares the young people for robotics clubs in high school and teaches them the foundation of skills to go into a STEM field as a career when they are finished with school.

Great job, Elaine!

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Mentors and mentees have fun and strengthen relationships at 4-H Mentoring Weekend

The 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend brought together mentors and mentees from throughout the state July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. The event boasted 73 participants representing both one-on-one and small group mentoring.

Staff and volunteers pose for a photo at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Staff and volunteers pose for a photo at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend that took place July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. Photo credit: Ronald Wells, 4-H Tech Wizards mentor

The theme of “Backpack to Adventure” allowed attendees to explore cultures throughout the world. Mentees included young people aged 11 to 19. The event provided a chance for mentors and mentees to participate together in various workshops and activities as well as enjoy the opportunities offered on the Kettunen Center grounds such as playing disc golf and exploring hiking trails.

Mentors and mentees chose from a wide variety of workshops including such activities as volleyball, looming, archery, basketball, solar model car building, fishing, swimming and canoeing. Attendees made their own salsa and healthy snacks, tie-dyed T-shirts, made superhero masks, edited their own videos and learned the basics of the Chinese Children’s Ribbon Dance. Some chose to test their skills and strength on “B’Onko’s Boot Camp Obstacle Course.” Some participated in “Messy Games” to develop life skills such as cooperation and problem solving. And of course, it wouldn’t be 4-H Mentoring Weekend without the popular Jell-O Wars.

A highlight of the weekend was Carnival Night, which included Nintendo Wii and board games, karaoke and a photo booth.

Participants also took part in a service project in which they made rubber band “Rainbow Loom” bracelets for military men and women. They also wrote short notes of thanks to them in appreciation for their service to our country.

Michigan State University senior Extension specialist Lisa Bottomley provided leadership for the event on behalf of the Capacity Building work group.

Staff, volunteers, mentors and mentees at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Staff, volunteers, mentors and mentees take a break from the fun at the 7th Annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend that took place July 18‒20 at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. Photo credit: Lisa Bottomley

“The goal of the workshop is for mentees and mentors to have a fun weekend and strengthen their relationship while trying new things and learning together. We provide a mix of recreational and learning activities,” said Lisa.

Other members of the leadership team included program coordinator Susan Fenton (co-chair for the event), Extension educator Frank Cox (co-chair for the event), Extension educator Scott Lakin (past chair), program coordinator Dequindre Bell (past chair), and student worker Scott Victor, who worked on registration and other preparation for the event.

Extension educators Jan Brinn and Sara Keinath from the Leadership and Civic Engagement work group joined the Capacity Building work group to incorporate the world culture theme throughout the weekend and to lead small and large group sessions.

Other staff involved in planning and staffing the event included Extension educator Tom Long, and program coordinators Barb Brow, Lisa Kelley, Anetria Rhodes and Will Shemer as well as program worker Barb Steele and associate program leader B’Onko Sadler.

AmeriCorps members involved included Kerry Hochradel, LaTonya Terry, Joe Barczyk and MavaMarie Cooper.

Congratulations to all on a successful event!

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PURPLE UP! for military families

Michigan State University Extension colleagues show their support for military families on PURPLE UP! Day, April 15, 2014

Michigan State University Extension colleagues show their support for military families on PURPLE UP! Day, April 15, 2014. Left to Right: MSU Extension associate director Steve Lovejoy, MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute director Julie Chapin, MSU Extension educator Kendra Moyses, MSU Extension director Tom Coon and MSU Extension associate program leader B’Onko Sadler. Photo credit: Terri Badgley.

I had the honor to address some heroes on April 15 during PURPLE UP! Day at the Breslin Center. These heroes are not the usual kind – they don’t gain a lot of attention and we may tend to overlook them. They are the families of those who serve our nation in the military.

PURPLE UP! Day is a one-day event that is part of the Month of the Military Child. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Military Partnerships Operation: Military Kids organizes activities throughout April to recognize the sacrifices made by children of our service members.

Why purple? I’m told that purple is a universal color used to symbolize all United States military personnel. It’s a combination of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. I wore my purple proudly that day as I expressed my gratitude to the families for their service to our country.

At the event, military families took part in fun and educational activities assisted by not only our staff but also members and coaches of various MSU sports teams. No one seemed to mind the fact that a very Spartan room with very Spartan people in it was awash in Northwestern purple. The evening really did revolve around the honored guests.

Read this Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications article to find out details about the event and read comments from Extension educator Kendra Moyses who coordinates the program: http://anrcom.msu.edu/anrcom/news/item/msu_extension_trades_green_for_purple_to_support_military_families

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