4-H Exploration Days 2009 marks 40 years!

4-H Exploration Days 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the nation's largest 4-H pre-college conference. More than 2,700 youth and adults converged on the MSU campus from June 24 to 26.

4-H Exploration Days 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of the nation’s largest 4-H pre-college conference. More than 2,700 youth and adults converged on the MSU campus from June 24 to 26. True to its original mission, the conference continues to provide youth from across the state with an opportunity to get in-depth, hands-on learning in a plethora of interest areas and gain access to the beautiful Michigan State University campus and its wealth of resources. The event is for youth aged 11 and up and adult chaperones.

One of the many reasons for this program’s long-term success is the passion and commitment from the many volunteers and staff involved as instructors, county conference assistants and chaperones. In 2009, volunteers contributed more than 24,000 hours for 4-H Exploration Days!

For many youth, Exploration Days is the highlight of their summer. Not only do they get exposed to many experiences beyond what is available in their county or region, they also get a chance to make new friends from different places and with different backgrounds. They get a taste of college life while they live and eat in an MSU residence hall and practice independence, accountability and time management within a safe, supervised environment. Some 2009 participants had this to say:

  • “My first session opened up a career choice. I am encouraged to work harder academically to be able to live on this beautiful campus. I have more confidence in my ability to navigate foreign land and food. I experienced dorms, which will prepare me for college, wherever I go.” (Alpena)
  • “This helped me be independent, responsible and respectful. It also made me realize that I need to focus on my future. It has given me confidence and the knowledge that I can achieve anything if I am willing to work for it.” (Midland)
  • “This is a great atmosphere that everyone needs to experience. There are little or no other ways to get introduced to the MSU campus and college living style in such a thorough way. The people and classes are extremely helpful.” (Marquette)
  • “Great way to expose youth and adults to college life – the options are great, the classes give new information and new skills – super!” (Adult chaperone, Baraga)
  • “This experience helped me to better understand 4-H and its function. I am impressed with the direct effect it has on youth from all walks of life.” (Adult chaperone, Wayne)
  • “It is a fun way to develop several skills such as social skills, leadership and involvement. I met new people and learned lots of things – this is my favorite 4-H program.” (Cass)
  • “This is one of the best experiences that 4-H has to offer!” (Midland)

The next 4-H Exploration Days will be June 23 to 25, 2010. If you have session content or instructor suggestions, please share them with Pat Talbot at the State 4-H Office, talbotp@msu.edu, before November 1, 2009. Registration fees will be determined later this fall. The registration book will be available from county MSU Extension offices by mid-March 2010, and on the Web site at http://web1.msue.msu.edu/cyf/youth/expodays.html. Registrations will be due to your county MSU Extension office by May 3, 2010.

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