MSU Extension invested in Lake County youth through 4-H

In 2018, 205 youth participated in MSU Extension's youth development 4-H programs.

Mom and dad helping daughter ride bike.

According to research completed by the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University, 4-H’ers are four times more likely to make contributions to their communities, two times more likely to be civically active, and two times more likely to make healthier choices. 

In Lake County, 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. Essential skills youth develop while participating in 4-H include problem solving, decision making, leadership, resiliency and communication.  

In 2018, Lake County 4-H made significant gains in participation, securing 5 screened adult volunteers, 41 youth enrolled as 4-H club members and 20 youth who attended summer camps . In addition, 200 youth aged 5 to 19 took part in learning opportunities with MSU Extension. A $2,000 grant from the Gerber Foundation was used to cover all registration fees for membership, removing a significant barrier for many participants. 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 2,500 youth stay in MSU residence halls, take a variety of action packed classes and experience other aspects of a major university. In 2018, 20 youth from Lake 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 experience 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.


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