Developing youth and communities

When you support MSU Extension 4-H programs, youth participants learn life skills that prepare them for the workforce – especially for highly sought after jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Developing Youth and Communities

4-H is America’s largest youth development organization, providing educational opportunities to over 6 million youth. The 4-H program offers a vast selection of project area topics—science, healthy living, arts and civic engagement to name a few, all with hands-on experiential learning for youth. 4-H programs are available for all youth ages 5-19, and are made possible by the service of our dedicated volunteers. We always welcome new members and new volunteers. If you are interested in joining 4-H, please contact the Gratiot County/MSU Extension office at 989-875-5233 or email the Gratiot County 4-H Program Coordinator, Chris Thompson, at We would be happy to help you enroll today!

4-H Learning Opportunities

Gratiot County 4-H provided local members and volunteers opportunities to connect to learning experiences both locally and beyond the county lines. These included:

  • 4-H Exploration Days- 29 Gratiot County youth attended this pre-college awareness program for youth ages 11-19 held on the campus of Michigan State University. Youth and chaperones spent 3 days at MSU, lived in a dorm, ate in the cafeteria and attended Exploration Days classes they chose. Class sessions ranged from learning how to play a sport, weave a basket, learn a new language, show a chicken, open a checking account, or meet with a college admissions office.
  • Kettunen Center- Located in Tustin, the Kettunen Center is the site of 4-H trainings throughout the year. Workshops included Winterfest, Challenge U, Teens as Teachers, Shooting Sports, Visual Arts, Crafts, Clothing, and Textiles.
  • 4-H Summer Camp- The 4-H Summer camp at 4-H Camp Coldwater is held each July in partnership with the Isabella and Gladwin 4-H programs. The DNR held a presentation on “The Mammals of Michigan” and CMU brought their “Play on the Way” activities. There were also sessions on outdoor survival skills, water quality and the scientific process.
  • 4-H Cloverbud Day– Excited young 4-H Cloverbuds (5 to 8 year-olds) attended the Gratiot County Fair for Youth in July for a day of fun. They attended sessions on healthy eating, horticulture, archery and crafts. The highlight of the day for most was the trip to the Alma High School Pool. These young 4-H members are always excited to graduate to the ranks of the “normal” 4-H members at age 9.
  • Science Expo- The Science Expo held each year during the Kid’s Day activities at the Gratiot County Fair for Youth was started by a 4-H member several years ago. This year, the mantle has been handed to another generation of 4-H leaders as Chloe Brittain took the reins for the event. She worked with the Fair Coordinator and 4-H Program Coordinator to provide a wide selection of booths that allowed the participants to take a hands-on approach to science.
  • Commodity Carnival- The Commodity Carnival activity is used to introduce the concepts of agribusiness, marketing, livestock raising and commodities to youth through an interactive game. Participants learn about the variables of agricultural production and market fluctuations.
  • National 4-H Congress– This five-day event engages high school aged 4-H members in leadership, citizenship, global awareness and inclusion. Participants not only have the opportunity to participate in state-of-the-art educational workshops and hear from world-renowned speakers, they have the opportunity to network with other 4-H members from across the United States.

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