Michigan 4-H represented at 2023 4-H Global Network Summit

Michigan 4-H educators at the third 4-H Global Network Summit, held at Arusha, Tanzania, brought home new resources, educational opportunities, connections and friendships.

A group of many people posing together in Tanzania.
Group photo of 2023 Global 4-H Network Summit participants. Photo by Tanzania 4-H.

Michigan 4-H educators Janis Brinn and Dixie Sandborn represented Michigan State University Extension by participating and presenting at the 2023 4-H Global Network Summit held at Arusha Tanzania. The summit was originally scheduled in 2020 and was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme of the summit was ”4-H: Inspire for Change” and the Tanzania 4-H organization cordially welcomed all 4-H organizations to send members, volunteers, professionals and board members to the third summit.

At the event, competency building workshops provided opportunities for participants to learn special techniques and skills to deliver high-quality Positive Youth Development (PYD) programs. The 22 breakout sessions were designed to train at least one of the focus areas of the summit:

  • Development of 4-H programs
  • Environmental issues in 4-H programs
  • How to feed the world population

Michigan 4-H educator Dixie Sandborn presented her session, “Tragedy of the Commons” twice during the summit. It was well-received with positive comments and the game board kept as a resource by Tanzania 4-H. 

A group of attendees posing together
Jan Brinn session presentation. Photo by Vicky Cheng, Taiwan.

Michigan 4-H educator Janis Brinn presented her session “4-H Global Visual Letters Art Exchange: 2017 Global 4-H Network Summit partner pilot global and cultural success” and blended “Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leaders in a Global World” curriculum into the session. The session was also very well-received, with possible future pilot programs already in the works with other countries. Jan was honored that she was able to hand deliver artwork created by children and youth from Michigan and Manitoba Canada 4-H to Taiwan 4-H as part of the 2023 pilot art exchange program. 

A session presentation.
Dixie Sandborn session presentation. Photo by Carol Smathers, Ohio.

Another highlight of the trip was the presentation of pillowcase dresses made by Michigan 4-H’ers to children at the Aston Vision Support Children School and Orphanage. Jan Brinn presented the clothing to the children – she threw them into the air and watched the children gleefully catch them – and then she and other participants and the teachers helped put them on the children to enjoy. The lead of the sewing community service project, Wayne County 4-H Program Instructor Kathy Henderson stated, "I thought the idea of children and adults helping children who live in a different country would be awesome! The fact that they would probably never meet one another and received nothing in return was just phenomenal! This project means the world to me...pun intended! And to think it all happened at MSU Extension Michigan 4-H!" 

Posing with children and their new dresses.
Jan Brinn presenting pillowcase dresses made by Michigan 4-H’ers at the Aston Vision Support Children School and Orphanage. Photo by Darlene Locke, Texas.

The Global 4-H Network was formed in 2014 at the first Global 4-H Network Summit held in South Korea. During that time, two representatives were elected from each region (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North America), forming the board of directors and the signing of the Global 4-H Declaration.

The second Global 4-H Network Summit took place in Ontario, Canada in 2017. In the article “Michigan represented at 2017 4-H Global Network Summit,” details of the summit are shared, including how three MSU Extension staff represented Michigan 4-H as participants and presenters (Brian Wibby, Makena Schultz and Janis Brinn).

In total, the summits have brought together 4-H youth leaders and delegations from over 70 countries, representing seven million youth. The third Global 4-H Network Summit took place with ten countries, namely Finland, Sweden, Norway, USA, Mexico, Gambia, Tanzania, Taiwan, Jamaica and Scotland. There were over 70 participants and daily visitors from Arusha, as well. From the USA, there were eight states: Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. The Michigan staff made many new connections and friendships from across the globe.

A group of people networking in Tanzania.
Jan Brinn and Dixie Sandborn networking with Finland 4-H. Photo by Tanzania 4-H.

At the summit, it was announced that Oslo, Norway has been selected to host the fourth Global 4-H Network Summit in 2026. MSU Extension again looks forward to representing Michigan 4-H at this prestigious event.

MSU Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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