Glassen Foundation establishes 4-H shooting sports endowment

The Hal and Jean Glassen Foundation made a $100,000 gift to establish a new 4-H endowed fund with the Michigan 4-H Foundation to support the Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports Program.

These are 4-H shooting sports participants from Schoolcraft County.
The Hal and Jean Glassen Foundation Endowment will support the statewide Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports program. Above are 4-H shooting sports participants from Schoolcraft County.

The Hal and Jean Glassen Foundation made a $100,000 gift to establish a new 4-H endowed fund with the Michigan 4-H Foundation to support the Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports Program.

The Hal and Jean Glassen 4-H Shooting Sports Endowment Fund will provide funds for training and equipping 4-H shooting sports volunteer instructors and youth statewide. An endowment is a fund that is held permanently. The corpus of the fund is invested and held intact, and the earnings from the fund are used to support 4-H programs.

“Endowments are the gifts that keep on giving,” said Tom Huggler, president of the Glassen Foundation. “We have been supporting the 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Training Workshop annually for about 20 years. We established the endowment so it can be funded in perpetuity.”

The Glassen Foundation’s focus is on environmental and outdoor education, shooting sports programs and enhancing wildlife, and animal welfare research.

“The foundation formed when Hal and Jean died in the 1990s,” Huggler said. “They had no children, but wanted to do good work.”

Hal and Jean Glassen were avid hunters, outdoor enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists. The Glassen Foundation was formed to continue their lifelong ambitions and goals. Hal, a University of Wisconsin graduate, was a partner in the Lansing law firm of Glassen, Rhead, McLean, Campbell and Schumacher and practiced law for 62 years prior to his death in 1992. Jean was the first woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin. With a degree in bacteriology, she pursued a career as a biologist with the Michigan Department of Public Health. “The Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports program is going to be a key component and contributor to the growth of shooting sports, but also to the reach for excellence in the competitive aspects of shooting,” he said.

The Glassen Foundation has been a Michigan 4-H donor and partner for the past 20 years. They have annually supported the 4-H Shooting Sports Volunteer and Instructor Training Workshop at Kettunen Center. In 2017, they provided a gift to expand resources for the shooting sports program with the purchase of a trailer to store and transport training equipment. They have also given to Project KATCH and Kettunen Center’s outdoor education program previously.

“The new endowed fund will provide continuous support of our shooting sports volunteer training workshops, ensuring this project’s growth and sustainability for years to come,” said Laura Quist, MSU Extension program coordinator for 4-H Shooting Sports.

Quist explained that hunting and shooting is a popular family activity throughout Michigan. Like any content area, the project is the “hook” that can attract a new audience to the 4-H program. While engaged in hands-on learning experiences, youth practice safe handling of equipment, gain natural resources related knowledge and skills, and engage in ethical behavior, sportsmanship and stewardship activities. In the process, they learn critical life skills, such as leadership, self-esteem, self-discipline, goal setting, communication and record-keeping.

“We apply the same learn-by-doing approach to shooting sports that you’ll see in any other project area,” Quist said. “Shooting sports volunteers are a highly trained, dedicated group of individuals, who receive more hours of coaching than any other volunteer group across our organization.”

4-H shooting sports volunteers participate in a 15-hour workshop to become certified instructors to offer live-fire activities with 4-H members. Instruction covers skill content, safety, risk management and youth development topics. These workshops are in turn provided by a subset of these volunteers, who are experienced content experts, certified to co-lead these workshops by National 4-H Shooting Sports.

“This gift will allow Michigan 4-H to annually send new trainers to these National 4-H trainer events, to help ensure our program, workshops and curriculum are consistent with standards set for 4-H programs nationwide,” Quist said.

“Already in 2020, Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports has hosted four regional training workshops, offering instruction in archery, shotgun and hunting and wildlife disciplines. Partially funded by the Glassen Foundation’s past gifts, these workshops are bringing new volunteers and members into our fold,” she added.

Kalkaska County 4-H was able to use these workshops to attract new volunteers and families. After certifying two new archery instructors in January, their inspired volunteers turned around and recruited an additional two more volunteers. Together, this team offered a new archery program that recruited 32 youth into a new archery club. Of those youth, 75% of participants are brand new families to 4-H. Due to their large response, they have incorporated science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities into their club meetings, so youth participate in hands-on science activities while they await their turn with the bows. Other counties have similar stories to share.

Thanks to the Glassen Endowment, Michigan 4-H plans to send a volunteer team to the National 4-H Shooting Sports Trainer workshop in Virginia, scheduled for October 2020. 

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