Marquette youth takes unique approach to leadership

4-H proven to empower area youth through life skill development.

It’s no secret that today’s youth feel pressure. Pressure to excel in school, to go to college, to get a job, etc. How they overcome those pressures, is a true testament to their character. Take Marquette native Aria Frost, for example.

Frost, 18, credits her enrollment in Michigan 4-H, a program of Michigan State University Extension, with helping her overcome adversity and build confidence along the way. The life skills taught through 4-H helped Frost learn to work with others, overcome challenges and complete jobs once she started them.

Frost took advantage of the breadth of programs 4-H offers, from science and agriculture to business and creative arts.

“My mom encouraged me to join 4-H because I love animals, so I started by showing everything from chickens to pigs to cows, which taught me responsibility,” Frost says. “Through 4-H, I participated in a lot of volunteer and community development work with kids and adults alike, and also enjoyed camping and outdoor adventures.”

Through Challenge Seekers, the 4-H outdoor adventure club that Frost’s mother helped form, Frost took part in annual winter camping excursions. “We would build snow forts and sleep in them for several nights,” she says. “It was lots of fun, but it was also a lesson in perseverance.”

America needs more true leaders focused on today’s challenges, as well as the issues of tomorrow. A recent survey by National 4-H Council found that 71 percent of today’s youth view leadership as something they can practice improve over time. But those same youth need supportive adults to help them along the way.

4-H brings a community together to grow true leaders in today’s youth – helping build confidence, teamwork, curiosity, and resilience.

“It was really special to have my mother, Kim Frost, as my 4-H leader, along with her close friend, Kathy Wright,” Frost says. “Along with Liana Graves, all three were strong mentors, always there to help us balance activities, seek leadership opportunities and become who we want to be.”

In Frost’s case, 4-H helped her realize the educational path and future career she wants to pursue. She was selected to participate in Citizenship Washington Focus, through which 4-H members from across the country traveled to the nation’s capital to learn about politics and legislation.

“That experience really opened my eyes and made me fall in love with politics,” Frost says. She will pursue a degree in political science at Michigan Technical University.

Any child can grow with 4-H, an organization that has something for every interest. But 4-H is always looking for adult volunteers and funding to help expand their reach and empower young people through doing. For more information about Michigan 4-H programs and volunteering opportunities, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

“4-H offers a wide range of activities, from livestock to dogs, arts and crafts to volunteering – there’s truly something for everyone,” Frost says.

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