Macomb County developing youth and communities 2017-18

Michigan State University Extension’s staff and volunteers worked with 10,727 Macomb County youth during 2017.

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). Extension programs help children develop early literacy skills that support school readiness. They learn leadership and decision-making skills in 4-H that increase their likelihood of becoming civically active.

4-H’ers also demonstrate reduced high-risk behaviors such as drug use, and learn to complete tasks, solve problems and seek any help they might need from peers and adults. 4-H involvement also helps participants avoid or reduce involvement with the court system. This helps ensure more young people succeed in school, attend college and contribute to their communities. More successful young people in communities results in greater tax revenues and consumer spending and increases the likelihood that young people will stay in, or return to, their communities.

Michigan State University Extension’s staff and volunteers worked with 10,727 Macomb County youth during 2017 with specialized programs in 4-H Youth Development, Animal Science, Shooting Sports, Outdoor Adventure Challenge, Art, Mentoring and Natural Resource education. Youth involved in 4-H programs totaled 7,661. The other 2,424 were involved in nutrition programs.

4-H Youth Programming

During 2017, MSU Extension staff along with 564 screened and trained volunteers delivered a number of quality educational programming opportunities throughout Macomb County. The area of focus for programming in 2017 was Outdoor Education, Agricultural Science and Healthy Living (nutrition, fitness and social emotional). At an average of 40 hours per week, Macomb volunteers provided over 300,000 hours of community service to 4-H youth and the Macomb County community.

There are 24 traditional 4-H clubs active in Macomb County. An interesting variety of project areas are available to challenge Macomb youth. MSU Extension staff strive to support project areas and ideas that develop youth financial and science literacy, entrepreneurship, leadership and civic engagement. These areas of focus will give 4-H members life skills that will assist them to identify career choices and successfully enter the workforce.

School Programs

In-school programming increased in 2017. The Michigan 4-H China Art Project, conducted in cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, is a global education program that uses art for in-school learning experiences. This is a global cultural experience where youth K- 6 exchange art as a means of communication despite language barriers. Every fall a signup sheet is distributed to past participants as well as new potential participants to check out the educational kit. Last year, schools from the Utica, Van Dyke and Fraser school districts had over 1,700 youth participate.

Macomb County also participated in an in-school program sponsored through a grant from Monsanto entitled CSI Soil Sleuths. MSU Extension staff, along with 15 teen counselors provided the educational program along with hands-on activities to 330 elementary students in 12 classrooms focusing on soil health.

An embryology program was also offered to Macomb County schoolchildren in 2017. Program Coordinator, Seth Martin introduced the program by running an incubator in the classroom. Each incubator had a dozen eggs in it. Seth gave a presentation on the first day of incubation and visited the school for a second time on the day the eggs were expected to hatch. The children had no way of knowing if the eggs were fertilized when the project began. Seth was able to relate this project to incubating birds in nature when they are incubating eggs. He touched on a variety of scientific topics and the program was adjusted to different age groups. This program introduced the children to life cycles and animal needs. They learned how to care for the chicks when they were born and were able to have them in their classroom for a few days after they hatched. The older children learned about fertilization, which included the difference between eggs we eat and eggs that are hatched.

Macomb County Tech Wizards Mentoring Program

National 4-H and the Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) provided funding to Michigan State University to coordinate the 4-H Tech Wizard program with Mount Clemens Middle School in Macomb County. This funding allowed for a fifth year of mentoring. 4-H staff partnered with Axalta Coating Systems, partnering with three long-term adult mentors to meet with seven youth on a weekly basis. Each two-hour site meeting allowed for the mentors and their mentees to develop strong relationships. Matches were exploring STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities while strengthening their relationships.

One-Day Events and Special Programs

The number of one-day events and special programs increased during the 2017 program year. In all, there were 12 events held with topics ranging from Mexican cooking class, Health and Fitness, and Gardening and Crafts. There were three week-long day camps held in the 2017 program year. Over 175 participants K-12 enjoyed a variety of themed activities. Breakfast, lunch and a nutritious snack were provided.

Macomb County Extension staff have a valuable partner in the Armada Agricultural Society. With their cooperation, 4 -H members are able to showcase their projects in a fun and safe venue. The Armada Fair is important to the Macomb 4-H community. Many of the members camp on-site for the weeklong event to better care for their livestock. Information regarding 4-H is always so much more impactful when it comes from club members and 4-H youth are always happy to answer questions and share experiences with fair participants. The 4-H community gives over 2,000 hours of community service towards facilitating the fair. This includes two scheduled clean-up dates as well as the weeklong event.

4-H Healthy Living

4-H embodies Head, Hands, Heart and Health. Macomb County 4-H has a variety of healthy living programs focusing on physical fitness, nutrition and gardening.

In 2017, MSU Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program built and maintained a second community garden. These gardens have multiple raised and low beds. The original garden is located at the Max Thompson Family Resource Center (Warren, MI) and this newest garden can be found at the Macomb Family Resource Center (Mt. Clemens, MI). 4-H youth were engaged in hands-on lessons around the growing cycle, soil, weeding and harvesting of vegetables and flowers. Produce included eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, corn, green beans, lettuce, pumpkins and a variety of herbs. Harvested items were donated to youth, volunteers and the Macomb Food Pantry.

Macomb County 4-H hosted two 4-H Family Fun and Fitness events; one in the spring of 2017 and the other in the winter. The spring event was an outdoor field day in which families in the Thompson Center neighborhood came together to participate in a host of fun physical fitness activities. 4-H Healthy Living Teen Ambassadors assisted in facilitating activities such as volley ball, archery, soccer and a hula hoop contest. The second event was entitled “Youth Chopped” and was a teen cooking competition. Macomb County teens gathered at the Max Thompson Family Resource Center and were divided into five teams of three to prepare a pasta entrée. Prior to cooking, all of the participants were engaged in lessons on food safety and nutrition. All participants received a teen cook book, cooking utensils and a 4-H apron to use at home. The youth had so much fun that they requested another cooking competition with multiple meal courses

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