Developing youth and communities

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).

Developing youth and communities

4-H is America’s largest youth development organization, providing educational opportunities to over 6 million youth. The 4-H program offers a vast selection of project area topics—science, healthy living, arts, and civic engagement to name a few, all with hands-on experiential learning for youth. 4-H programs are available for all youth ages 5-19, and are made possible by the service of our dedicated volunteers. We always welcome new members and new volunteers; if you are interested in joining 4-H, please contact the Montcalm County/MSU Extension office at 989-831-7502 or email the Montcalm County 4-H Program Coordinator, Kadren Grawburg, at We would be happy to help you enroll today!

4-H develops leaders

Members of the Michigan State 4-H Youth Leadership Council met weekly throughout 2017 to give Michigan 4-H youth a voice and to develop 4-H youth promoters and spokespeople. The youth meets virtually and works on developing planning, goal setting, public speaking, communication, facilitation and networking skills. Two of the 26 youth serving on the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council in 2017 were from Montcalm County. Through MSU Extension the Michigan 4-H program is helping to develop youth as current and future leaders by providing programs such as the Youth Leadership Council, that instill young people with the knowledge and skills to become positive agents of change.

4-H develops socially responsible citizens

Each spring, the most prestigious 4-H Michigan youth are selected to attend the National 4-H Conference in Washington D.C. In 2017, four members of the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council were selected to join over 300 youth, all representing their respective land grant universities.
One of our Montcalm county youth, Anne Thompson also a member of the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council, had the privilege of being selected to attend this national conference to share the 4-H stories from back home with federal-level decision makers. It is noteworthy that only four 4-H youth from Michigan made the trip last year.

The attendees of the conference were split into round-table groups. Each group was assigned a federal agency and an issue that the agency is currently working on. The task before the group was through peer collaboration, to present a response, solution or proposed agency. Topics ranged from social equity to wind energy to youth careers in agriculture.

The experience offered Anne the opportunity to attend a real working conference but also provided time to tour monuments and to attend a full day on Capitol Hill meeting with congressmen and their staff.

4-H develops innovators

In order to feed the nine billion people expected to populate the earth by the year 2050, innovations in agriculture must be made. Some of the Montcalm county 4-H youth attended the “Healthy Soils CSI Challenge” to explore the importance of soil in our food system. Science-based activities such as these promote career exploration in the areas of STEM and agriculture while teaching youth life skills. This project is part of a national 4-H grant and encourages leadership by providing teens the opportunity to be the teachers.

4-H develops skills while having fun

4-H youth have opportunities throughout the year to engage in activities that are both fun and educational. Montcalm youth develop relationships and build memories that last a lifetime. One such event was held at Camp Tuhsmaheta in Greenville, Michigan. This event brought together 4-H Youth, volunteers and their animal companions to learn practical training techniques, caregiving and leadership skills that the youth could bring back to their local 4-H clubs. Throughout the year Montcalm County 4-H youth have many opportunities to interact with youth from across the state while always being given the opportunity and encouraged to bring back new skills and information to their local clubs.

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