Ogemaw County investing in Ogemaw County youth with 4-H and MSU Extension 2018

MSU Extension's 4-H program has impacted more than 1,000 youth in Ogemaw County.

In Ogemaw County 4-H, we believe in the power of young people. By providing opportunities to learn and lead, 4-H helps youth become informed and engaged community members. While exploring new topics and activities in an experiential way, youth build the skills they need for life.

In 2017, Ogemaw County 4-H had a total of 31 screened adult volunteers, 305 youth enrolled as 4-H club members and 73 youth who attended summer camps from around the county. In addition, 924 children or 24% of Ogemaw County youth aged 5 to 19 took part in learning opportunities with MSU
Extension. Essential skills youth develop while participating in 4-H include problem solving, decision making, leadership, resiliency and communication.

4-H is unique in that it offers experiences to young people who live in cities or rural areas by providing the opportunity to participate in community 4-H clubs, learning experiences in school classrooms, day and overnight camps and other special interest events. One example includes MSU 4-H Exploration Days, a pre-college program where over 2500 youth stay in MSU residence halls, take a variety of action packed classes (underwater robotics pictured above) and experience other aspects of a major university. In 2017, 40 youth from Ogemaw County attended MSU 4-H Exploration Days.

“Exploration Days was fun because I got to see a university and what it is like to stay there and attend classes. It makes me want to go to college.” - 4-H youth member

Beyond the excitement of learning something new through a project, youth have the opportunity to participate in leadership conferences, travel the world, become involved in their community through service, and meet new friends in a safe and comfortable setting. A young person’s experiences in 4-H makes a difference for a lifetime by allowing them to grow and appreciate the importance of being a good citizen, strong leader and person of character.

Leaders also help youth achieve their personal goals and provide encouragement and a support system. The relationships built among adult volunteer leaders and youth also have lasting effects. From 4-H experiences, youth gain important leadership, citizenship and life skills that can be applied to daily living, used in their community, in future jobs or when they continue their education. Although it may be years before a youth realizes and truly appreciates the influence of the 4-H leader that served as positive adult role models, one can be certain that volunteer leaders are truly making a difference for life.

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