4-Hers celebrate service

From the nation’s capital to communities across Michigan, 4-H members are speaking up and stepping up as true leaders.

On April 13, 2016, National 4-H in Washington, D.C. will launch “Grow True Leaders,” a youth-led campaign to prepare America’s youth to truly lead in their lives, communities and future careers. Four members of the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council will represent Michigan 4-H at the annual National 4-H Conference for the launch of this campaign, convening at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Samantha Beaudrie, age 18, of Monroe County (Monroe, Michigan), Katie Kurburski, age 16, of Emmet County (Harbor Springs, Michigan), Katelyn Stevens, age 19, of Muskegon County (Ravenna, Michigan) and Emma Young, age 16, of Washtenaw County (Dexter, Michigan) will spend five days in leadership-building seminars and roundtable discussions with federal agencies in order to infuse youth voice and perspective into federal decision-making. On Wednesday, April 13, youth attending the National 4-H Conference will launch a new national marketing campaign while meeting with U.S. senators and representatives in their office and at a special congressional breakfast.

Upon their return from National 4-H Conference, all Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council members will demonstrate their leadership and commitment to their local communities by hosting a series of local service projects across the state in conjunction with the Global Youth Service Day on Saturday, April 16. The service projects range from agriculture literacy education in local schools to grounds clean ups, tree planting and book drives.

4-H clubs across Michigan can also get involved in service in their local communities. It’s not too late to launch an event in conjunction with Global Youth Service Day, and any day of the year is a good time to host a local service project. Youth who engage in service projects can build important life skills, learn to think about the world beyond themselves and are uniquely suited to solve real-world problems. The Global Youth Service Day website states, “Between the ages of 12 and 25, people are literally wired for excitement, novelty, risk and peer authority. While these traits can be negative, they also make young people uniquely suited to solve problems, if given the opportunity.”

Looking for ways to get involved? GenerationOn has a variety of service project ideas on their website. In addition, Michigan State University Extension has a curriculum on engaging youth in service projects called Youth Experiencing Action: A Community Service-Learning Guide.

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