Highlights for 4-H youth development in St. Joseph County 2018-19

St. Joseph County Michigan State University Extension serves over 750 youth in 4-H and other enrichment programs.

2018 Highlights for 4-H Youth Development in St. Joseph County

4-H in St. Joseph County continues to flourish as very traditional program with youth development programs that focus on Agriculture, Science, Financial Literacy, and Life Skills. Thirty-three educational programs were held in 2018 for the 750 youth enrolled in clubs, providing youth with skills and tools to be successful. The program is dependent upon highly dedicate adult volunteers who work closely with our youth. To help our volunteers provide leadership and mentor youth, 46 adult trainings were held over the course of 2018. Much of the year long programming youth and adults are involved with culminates at the St. Joseph County Grange Fair in September. The Fair not only provides youth and adults with an opportunity to showcase their projects and compete for trophies, but also builds character and rewards hard work.

In addition to providing guidance, mentoring and training in the traditional fair related activities, St. Joseph County 4-H Program Coordinator Eva Beeker took a leadership role in the 4th Grade Conservation Tour, now in its 51st year. The daylong educational program reached more than 650 4th Grade students from nine public schools, two private schools and one homeschool group. Educational stations highlighting ecology and natural resources protection are highlights for the youth at the event held in April.

“Build Your Future” and “My Financial Future” are financial curriculum series geared for youth middle school to high school youth. With the goal of improving their financial literacy and decision making, Eva worked with staff and 36 youth at St. Joseph County Juvenile Day Treatment Center (JDT) in 2018.

Centreville, Colon, Three Rivers, and White Pigeon High School juniors and seniors participated in 4-H Youth Development’s “Interviews for Success” training experience. Eva was assisted by other 4-H educators from southwest Michigan to provide this training to help prepare these young people for career placement and college/university scholarship interviews.

Michigan 4-H Foundation has close ties to St. Joseph

Two local residents and 4-H alumni were elected to the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board in 2018. Sally Stuby of Centreville was recently elected as President and Shawn McNamara of Constantine was elected as a trustee. The 4-H Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization that supports Michigan’s 4-H program, the largest youth development organization in the state with over 200,000 youth members.

Sally is a St. Joseph County 4-H alumnus, a 4-H Emerald Clover Society member and a longtime 4-H volunteer including 14 years as leader of the Rolling Clovers 4-H Club, 8 years on the State 4-H International Exchange Committee, 15 years of coleadership in the St. Joseph County 4-H veterinary and animal science program and 10 years as the County Fair 4-H sheep superintendent. She coaches 4-H/FFA livestock evaluation teams for state and national competitions.

Shawn comes from a multigenerational family of 4-H members and volunteer leaders. He has been active locally and statewide. In May 2018, he graduated from Centreville High School, where he had been dual enrolled with Glen Oaks Community College. He has served as a part-time, maintenance assistant at the St. Joseph County Grange Fairgrounds, worked with the Centerville Athletic Boosters concessions stand and volunteered with the Centreville Fire Department.

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