Life of Lake Superior Youth Program lives on

Life of Lake Superior Youth Program has been a successful program for 14 years. Find out what makes this unique program so special.

The past 14 years has seen a wonderful program evolve that connects youth with Lake Superior and the many cultural, environmental and heritage affects the Lake has on the surrounding area and people. The Life of Lake Superior Youth (LOLS) Program is sponsored by Michigan State University Extension and takes place in Alger County in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula during the month of July. Nearly 700 youth and adults have been positively impacted by the program since its inception with hopes of including many more in the years ahead.

LOLS is structured to include four days of program events taking place one day each week in July. The weather is perfect (usually) on the south shore of Lake Superior in July with the blended aroma of sunscreen and insect repellent carried in the breeze. Days are spent hiking, fishing, crafting, exploring, learning, laughing and more. Days usually begin at 8 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. each day. Past activities include paper making, plant restoration, kayaking, tree identification, arts and crafts, orienteering and many more. There is no registration fee and all transportation, snacks, meals and programs are provided free!

The natural resource features of the Alger County area are spectacular and serve as the backdrop for the LOLS program. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Island National Recreation Area are two of the more prominent areas visited by the program. The Hiawatha National Forest, Lake Superior State Forest and Seney National Wildlife Refuge are also valuable opportunities utilized by LOLS. Other related sites are visited that exemplify our dependence on natural resources and how our lives are affected. These sites might include fisheries facilities and logging sawmills.

As great as the natural resource features are that the LOLS program uses, it is the people that make the program special. Various partnerships exist that are unique and serve to increase the quality of the programs delivered to youth each July. Personnel from the National Park Service, National Forest, Michigan DNR, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts and Michigan Sea Grant all provide their time so youth can learn more about the outdoors. Other people bring their talents to LOLS to share with youth. These include artists, teachers, blacksmiths, business owners, fishermen and many others who have a story to tell or a skill to share. Lastly, nearly 50 volunteers give their time to supervise, chaperone, cook, drive and mentor youth to help make the program successful each year.

Life of Lake Superior Youth Program is a great example of connecting youth to the outdoors with community involvement. Given the success and involvement of many youth and adults, the program will continue for many years to come.

To learn more about Life of Lake Superior Youth Program, contact me at or Rob Wiener at

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