Group of youth on the steps of the Michigan Capitol building.

Children & Youth Impacts: Developing Civically Engaged Leaders


April 13, 2021

Key Figures

  • 86,400 Michigan 4-H youth experiences related to citizenship, leadership, civic engagement, community service, communication and arts in 2018-2019
  • 83 counties with youth receiving Michigan 4-H citizenship, leadership, cultural education and communication programming in 2018-2019

Priority Areas

Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s 4-H Youth Development is helping to develop youth as current and future leaders by providing programs that instill young people with the knowledge and skills to become positive agents of change. These programs focus on:

  • Leadership development.
  • Civic education and engagement.
  • Global citizenship
  • Cultural competency.

These experiences and trainings teach youth how to run a meeting, deal with conflict, understand the public policy process, understand other cultures, work collaboratively with people of various leadership styles and personalities, and much more.


As a result of Michigan 4-H leadership and civic engagement activities, thousands of Michigan youth build a commitment to civic service, cultivate the capacity to lead in a multicultural world and develop skills to positively contribute to their communities, country and world.

Of those surveyed in 2019:

  • 98% of youth respect the differences and strengths of individuals on the team.
  • 94% of youth think they have something to contribute to the team.
  • 89% of youth agree that when they see something that needs to be done, they try to get their friends to work on it with them.
  • 93% of youth feel like they can stand up for what they think is right, even if their friends disagree.
  • 85% of youth agree that when they see something that is wrong, they try to change it.

For more information about MSU Extension’s leadership and civic engagement programs and resources, contact or visit

Participant Quote

  • "4-H has shaped me into who I am today, and it’s not just an organization. It’s a safe, motivating environment that shapes the next generation of leaders."
    • Youth participant in Michigan 4-H leadership and civic engagement programs

Pledging Their Hands To Larger Service

In 2019, Michigan 4-H took part in a national 4-H initiative that celebrated work 4-H’ers do every day: serving their communities. The 4-H True Leaders in Service campaign united 4-H members across the country in making a collective positive impact in their communities during the month of April.

To localize the efforts here in Michigan, the Michigan 4-H State Youth Leadership Council issued a special challenge to their fellow Michigan 4-H members through the Michigan 4-H Dare to Serve Challenge. The challenge encouraged members of the 4-H community to do at least one thing to serve their community during April. In addition to making a positive impact, the challenge asked individuals to share those good works on social media and then personally challenge another member of the community – 4-H volunteers, alumni and staff included! Those who were challenged had the option of completing their own community service initiative or donating to the Michigan 4-H Foundation to help future 4-H’ers.

During the month-long campaign, the 4-H community stepped up and showed their commitment to helping their club, community, country and world. In total:

  • 4,218 youth took part in community service efforts.
  • 973 volunteers gave their time in service.
  • 108 community service projects were conducted.
  • 90% of Michigan counties participated.

Michigan 4-H Dare to Serve Challenge Participant Quote

  • "I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned about leadership back to my community!"
    • Youth participant in 4-H leadership and civic engagement program


Tags: 4-h, 4-h global & cultural education, 4-h impacts, 4-h leadership & citizenship, citizenship & service, msu extension, youth impacts

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