4-H Winterfest workshop coming February 2016

Youth have a chance to spend an overnight weekend at Kettunen Center, Feb. 6-7, 2016, as part of the annual 4-H Winterfest.

The annual 4-H Winterfest, held Feb. 6-7, 2016, at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan, will have open enrollment soon. Giving younger youth a chance to spend a weekend at Michigan 4-H Foundation’s volunteer leader retreat center has been the highlight these past couple of years. Youth from all over the state are able to come together and choose six classes ranging from crafts to shooting sports. This annual event is open to youth ages 8-12 years old.

4-H Winterfest began in the central region when 4-H staff began looking at opportunities to have younger kids start attending an overnight workshop like the older youth. Hartley Nature Outdoor Center in Saginaw, Michigan, hosted these 4-H overnight camps for a few years. Seventy youth ages 8-11 spent two days using the outdoor center as their classroom and met youth from the central Michigan area. As the program grew and more youth were interested in attending this wintertime event, staff needed to look at other locations and possibly open the event statewide. With the development of the 4-H Winterfest committee, a statewide program using Kettunen Center as the location seemed to be a great opportunity. Now, over 200 attend this event, and youth and adults look forward to coming to Tustin, Michigan.

In the Ages and Stages of Child and Youth Development section of the “Michigan 4-H Club Development Guide,” research shows that working with early adolescents and understanding their social and emotional characteristics, along with their physical growth, opportunities such as the 4-H Winterfest would be a great learning experience for this age group. The need to be physically active for this age group and offer large group games and outdoor activities is necessary. By offering cross country skiing, snow shoeing and using the tubing hill, youth get a chance to develop life skills.

Developing self-esteem, gaining independence and working with more complex arts and crafts is another opportunity for youth of this age group. Having youth from around the state attend 4-H Winterfest gives opportunities to develop new friendships, social interaction and communication among each other.

4-H Winterfest will have classes in shooting sports, arts and crafts, dance movement, nutrition education and a whole lot more to choose from. Be sure to check out the 4-H Winterfest when it opens for enrollment and sign up soon.

4-H leader training workshops have been ongoing at the Kettunen Center throughout the year. You can choose to attend a two-day with one overnight or a three-day with two overnight stays. Be sure to check out other 4-H teen and leader trainings in 2016. 4-H workshops are also held at the Kellogg Biological Station in Augusta, Michigan, too.

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