Michigan 4-H Youth Fast Facts

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May 28, 2019

The Numbers

4-H Youth Development is a program of Michigan State University (MSU) Extension. Each year, more than 200,000 Michigan young people participate in 4-H through various activities, clubs, groups, programs and events. As they engage in these unique learning experiences, 4-H’ers explore their passions and interests while growing confidence, leadership skills and a sense of responsibility:

  • 221,000 experiences related to science, engineering and technology.
  • 49,000 experiences related to citizenship, leadership, cultural education and communication.
  • 106,000 experiences related to food, nutrition, safety and other personal development programs.

Where 4-H Grows

From the farms to the towns, and from the suburbs to the cities, 4-H youth come from every corner of the state:

  • 36% are rural nonfarm residents or come from towns of less than 10,000 people.
  • 36% live in cities and suburbs of more than 50,000 people.
  • 19% live in towns and cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people.
  • 9% live on farms.

4-H Volunteers

Michigan 4-H youth are supported by caring volunteers who give their time in a variety of ways – as club or group leaders, mentors, chaperones, professional skills trainers and more!

  • Nearly 16,000 Michigan residents volunteered with 4-H in the past year alone.
  • 4-H trained more than 3,200 volunteers in the 2017-2018 program year.

Sharing the 4-H Experience

Seventeen year-old Amber Bennett joined Lapeer County 4-H at the age of 8 and since then, 4-H has become a huge part of her life. Amber has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a condition that results in many complications to her everyday life. However through
4-H, Amber found a community that support her unconditionally and helps her to grow every day. She recently shared her story and the following is an excerpt.

“I started 4-H as a very shy Cloverbud and for the last nine years, it has been a major part of my life. It has taught me to be more independent and outgoing in life. I have been put into situations and pushed out of my comfort zone on several occasions that I may have not had the opportunity to do so if it wasn’t for 4-H. I have given a presentation at the state level, been a senior ambassador, and competed and placed very high in poultry, swine and indoor project areas. Speaking one-on-one to the judges has made me less shy and nervous and taught me to be a little more outgoing.

Not only has 4-H given me the tools to face normal day-to-day activities head on, but it has also helped me deal with my ongoing health issues. My incurable condition has really changed my life. I have to always have someone with me just in case I have an episode, I cannot drive and just doing anything has become so much harder for me.

However, I feel safe in the 4-H community. If I have a bad day and I am struggling, I always know someone is there to step in and help me out. Whether it is a leader, a fellow 4-H’er or even a parent, someone always has my back. Without the support and compassion of these people in my life, I couldn’t finish showing or selling the animals that I work so hard on.

4-H means so much more than showing animals and selling them, it builds strength, compassion, character, trust and friendships. As the motto goes, “Making the best better,” this is truly what it does. Being the best doesn’t just apply to the show ring, but in life. The more you do your best to help others, the better you will be.

I thank my fellow 4-H’ers for doing this for me and making me better by helping me do what I love even though it is almost impossible at times. I will never give up because I know I can get it done with their support. My life would not be the same without 4-H or the people I have met in it.”

In 2018, the state’s $63.1 million investment in MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension generated more than $1 billion for Michigan residents. Every dollar the state invested in MSU AgBioResearch and MSU Extension resulted in an additional $2.26 leveraged in federal funds and external contracts, grants and other revenues, as well as $5.80 in additional community benefits. As a result, MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch are able to serve Michigan residents with a benefit/cost ratio of 16:1.

These cost benefits are huge, but they are not the only benefits that MSU Extension brings to the state. Through Michigan 4-H Youth Development, more than 203,000 youth learn compassion, respect, leadership skills, responsibility, the value of hard work and other critical abilities. In addition, MSU Extension early childhood education programs prepare thousands of Michigan’s youngest children for school success. Learn how you can contribute to this type of programming at: msue.msu.edu/giving.

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Tags: 4-h impacts, youth impacts


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