Youth enjoy packed weekend at Kettunen Center during 4-H Mentoring Weekend

Nearly 40 people came together for the annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend this July. Twenty match-ups of 4-H mentors and youth, as well as 15 volunteers, spent a weekend at the 4-H Kettunen Center in Tustin, MI.

Nearly 40 people came together for the annual 4-H Mentoring Weekend this July. Twenty match-ups of 4-H mentors and youth, as well as 15 volunteers, spent a weekend at the 4-H Kettunen Center in Tustin, Mich., exploring the grounds, trying new positive activities and strengthening their mentoring relationships.

Over the July 16 weekend, participants experienced new 4-H Guided Adventures project activities firsthand. These activities focused on engaging mentor/mentee matches outdoors, with workshops like fishing, canoeing, kite building, archery, and scavenger hunts using GPS devices called geocaching. Mentors and mentees tackled Kettunen Center’s new rock wall, The MAX. The weekend also offered the chance to create crafty containers or even take a crack at acting.

Three hours were dedicated to mentor skill building, utilizing new curriculum from the Michigan 4-H Mentor Training curriculum project. Mentors discussed positive and directive feedback, positive youth development, cultural competency issues and communication across generations. Meanwhile, mentees spent this time exploring the world of science and solidifying relationships through team building exercises.

Even free time between scheduled workshops was full of activity. Participants worked on this year’s service project, “Creature Comforts” which benefits the Ingham County Capital Area Humane Society. They made fleece chew toys for dogs in the shelter and decorated ping pong balls for cat toys. Mentors and mentees also enjoyed a tie dye station, a talent show for participants and staff alike to demonstrate their hidden talents and, of course, 40 gallons of Jell-O in a battle to see who could be most covered , judged by the one and only Julie Chapin!

Programs from around the state were represented at the weekend, with pairs from the following programs in attendance:

-Oscoda County 4-H Peer Mentoring

-Big Brothers Big Sisters Grand Rapids

-Clinton County 4-H Key Mentoring

-Capital Area Big Brothers Big Sisters

-Wayne Co 4-H Youth Mentoring

-Big Brothers Big Sister of Monroe

-Midland/Isabella DHS

-Leda

-Bethany Christian Services

This event would not be possible without the incredible donations from 4-H, the Lansing Jaycees and the programs that covered registration fees for their matches. A huge thank you goes out to all of those who dedicated their time and energy to the weekend as volunteer staff members. Thanks also to those who helped promote the event, registered the matches and covered matches’ registration fees.

Pictures of this year’s event can be found on the Michigan 4-H Youth Mentoring Facebook page. Check up on our Facebook page to see when the planning for next year’s event starts!

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