10 facts about 4-H youth leadership and civic engagement programs

4-H youth leadership and civic engagement programs are having a positive impact in Michigan!

4-H, the largest youth development organization in America, provides innovative and engaging educational experiences to nearly six million people every year. Providing opportunities for young people to learn valuable leadership skills is a key component of the 4-H youth development program. Through participation in 4-H-sponsored programs, young people develop the knowledge and skills needed to be outstanding leaders. Participation in 4-H youth development programs also prepares and engages young people as active and caring citizens in their community, state, country and world.

Michigan 4-H offers a wide variety of educational experiences that help youth to develop knowledge and skills related to leadership, community engagement and global citizenship. Here are 10 facts you should know about 4-H youth leadership and civic engagement programs and their impact on people and communities in Michigan:

  1. Compared to their peers, “4-Hers are nearly four times more likely to make contributions to their communities,” according to the results of a long-term study conducted by Richard and Jacqueline Lerner.
  2. The same study found that “4-Hers are about two times more likely to be civically active” compared to their peers.
  3.  In 2015, 68,000 Michigan youth participated in 4-H activities related to civic engagement, community service and leadership.
  4. In 2015, over 10,000 individuals from Michigan participated in Michigan 4-H sponsored programs specifically designed to increase leadership, civic engagement and global citizenship knowledge and skills. Programs such as the World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute, the Michigan 4-H Youth Leadership and Global Citizenship Spectacular, 4-H Capitol Experience, Michigan 4-H International Exchange Programs and the 4-H China Project are a few of the many opportunities that provide Michigan youth with opportunities to learn to be leaders and global citizens.
    Of the youth participating in Michigan 4-H youth development leadership and civic engagement programs in 2015:
  5. 98 percent felt prepared to work toward change in their communities, a 39 percent increase from before their 4-H experience.
  6. 94 percent indicated they had learned things that would help them make a difference in their community, a 38 percent increase from before their 4-H experience.
  7. 92 percent reported they could stand up for things that were important to them, a 13 percent increase from before their 4-H experience.
    Michigan youth are providing leadership on solving some of the biggest challenges facing Michigan and the world!
  8. Launched in 2015, the inaugural World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute engaged Michigan youth in researching and developing solutions to help address global food security. As a result of participating in the Michigan Youth Institute, five Michigan youth were able to attend the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute, where they shared their ideas with peers and adult leaders from around the world.
  9. The Michigan 4-H Youth Conservation Council, a program that engages young people in researching a current environmental issue affecting the state and then making recommendations to state legislative committees, has helped to influence public policy. Testimony provided to committees by program participants has influenced bills related to reducing phosphorus in Michigan lakes and rivers, reducing marine fuel spills, and promoting Michigan heritage water trails.
  10. Michigan’s 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China has impacted more the 350,000 Michigan youth over the past 25 years. Like other Michigan 4-H global and cultural educational programs, the 4-H Children’s Art Exchange with China helps young people to learn about our global community and how to explore and appreciate diverse cultures.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan State University Extension 4-H youth leadership, civic engagement, citizenship and global/cultural programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Developing Civically Engaged Leaders.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H positively impacted individuals and communities in 2015, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.

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