4-H around the world: Michigan-Belize connection
Michigan is an integral part of 4-H partnerships and the revival of the Belize 4-H program.
Belize is well known for its Mayan temples and cave tubing, but did you know they also have a National 4-H Youth Development Center? It was revived in 1967 by Hon. David L. McKoy, Minister of Social Services, with technical assistance from Michigan 4-H Youth Development. According to Central Intelligence Agency, Belize wasn’t even an independent country in 1967, they were still having territorial disputes with the UK and Guatemala until their independence in 1981. Guatemala still refused to recognize the new nation until 1992. So imagine a country in turmoil trying to become independent, establishing a 4-H Youth Development Center empowering youth to “Learn to Earn and Save.” A country where the people may be hungry but still wear a smile; a country that counts on tourism for economic stability; a country in the Caribbean where its official language is English; and a country with heavy foreign debt burden, high unemployment, highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates, high crime and drug trade. The youth in Belize need adults who see the value in 4-H Youth Development, International Exchange opportunities and continue receiving support from Michigan 4-H Youth Development.
According to the fifth annual General Meeting for National 4-H Foundation Belize, the 4-H Creed states:
- I believe in 4-H club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen.
- I believe in the training of my HEAD for the power it will give me to think, plan and to reason.
- I believe in the training of my HEART for the nobleness it will give me to be kind, sympathetic and true.
- I believe in the training of my HANDS for the ability it will give me to be helpful, skillful and useful.
- I believe in the training of my HEALTH for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, to resist disease and to work efficiently.
- I believe in my county, my community and my world and in my responsibility for their development. In all these things;
- I believe, and am willing to dedicate my efforts to their fulfillment.
As a member of the Michigan 4-H community, let’s continue to support Belize’s 4-H efforts by providing International Exchange opportunities between the two countries, sharing curriculum to support the Belize Motto, “Learn to Earn and Save,” and keep open communication to better understand the efforts we share across the world to “Make the Best Better.” To learn more about 4-H in Belize, read “4-H in Belize: UnBelizable!” by Michigan State University Extension.
If you’re interested in 4-H around the globe, follow the MSU Extension News article series on “Exploring 4-H around the world” including articles on 4-H in Africa (4-K), 4-H in Coast Rica (4-S) and 4-H St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
Other global educational opportunities can also be found on MSU Extension’s Global and Cultural Education website. For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.
Other articles in this series:
- 4-H around the world: Africa
- 4-H around the world: St. Croix
- 4-H around the world: Cost Rica
- 4-H around the world: Trinidad and Tobago 4-H
- 4-H around the world: Canada