4-H Mentoring Weekend strengthens relationships

On July 17, 2009, the second annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend brought mentoring matches from around the state to Kettunen Center to enjoy a retreat-style conference to strengthen mentoring relationships.

On July 17, 2009, the second annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend brought mentoring matches from around the state to Kettunen Center to enjoy a retreat-style conference to strengthen mentoring relationships. A total of 78 people – 25 mentoring matches, 15 AmeriCorps members and a number of MSUE employees – experienced all 4-H Mentoring Weekend had to offer.

Participants used 40 gallons of Jell-O in a battle to see who could be most coveredTwo goals of the weekend were to foster a network of support in the mentoring community and to expose youth to the outdoors. It was also intended to teach youth and adults new and positive leisure activities they could participate in together after the event.

This year’s 4-H Mentoring Weekend featured 15 different workshops, including “Explosion Scrapbooking,” “Amazing Mentor Challenge,” “Jell-O Wars,” a talent show, a campfire and a tie-dye session. A workshop that provided time for mentors to network and share their experiences with one another was new this year. Mentoring matches spent their free time exploring Kettunen Center, making thank-you cards for those who made the event possible and playing board games. One mentee said, “I had so much fun, and I loved everything about it!” When asked for his feedback, one adult mentor shared, “This was my first camping trip, and I’m looking forward to next year.” Mentoring program case managers expressed the fun their matches had and how many of their mentees, peer mentors and adult mentors did things that helped them grow individually and as a match.Students learn about archery at mentoring weekend

Planning for this year’s 4-H Mentoring Weekend began in February when calls for workshop leaders were announced and a planning committee was organized. The planning committee, comprised of 4-H Mentor Michigan Initiative AmeriCorps members, was responsible for searching for funding, planning logistics and staffing the weekend with the committee members serving as floor monitors and workshop leaders.

The 2009 4-H Mentoring Weekend would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors. The lead sponsor, Ford Motor Company Fund, made a donation that reduced the per person cost of the event to a mere $30. Meijer of West Lansing also stepped in and provided full scholarships to cover the cost of the weekend for all youth attendees. Other sponsors of the 2009 event included ProAssurance of Okemos, Independent Bank, COPOCO Credit Union and Meijer of East Lansing.

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