4-H offers recognition for youth across the state

4-Her’s across the state have the opportunity to spread the world about their 4-H experiences.

Michigan 4-H Youth Programs are proud to provide opportunities for young people to be recognized in their counties and on the state level. Through these opportunities, youth learn to better communicate their accomplishments on scholarship and professional applications, gain interview skills, set goals to build their skills, build friendships, and establish connections with industry and academic leaders. Opportunities are designed to be developmentally appropriate and encourage youth to express themselves and reflect on their experiences in 4-H. Michigan State University Extension is pleased to announce the following opportunities for 4-Her’s ages 11- to 19-years-old.

Programming through Michigan 4-H offers young people ages 11 and 12 the opportunity to express themselves through an essay entitled, “Because of 4-H I can…” This is a chance for young people to speak up and tell their story in an essay of 500 words, or less, and submit it to their local MSU Extension office. Details about this contest can be found at the 4-H recognition page.

Each county will select two winning essays to be forwarded to be recognized as Mark of Excellence Winners. Those winning essays will be placed in the Mark of Excellence history books to be kept at the Michigan 4-H Foundation, Kettunen Center and the State 4-H office. The authors of those essays will receive a certificate and medal. The winners are also encouraged to attend 4-H Exploration Days that is held at Michigan State University in June.

Youth ages 13- to 19-years-old may participate in the State 4-H Awards Program. This in depth experience includes a cover letter, your 4-H Story and a series of questions about your 4-H experiences. This packet of materials must be submitted electronically by March 1 and is the first step in being named a State Award Winner. Members can select to apply in one of 19 State 4-H Award Recognition Areas. Members should pick the area that best reflects and emphasizes the majority of their 4-H learning experiences.

Members should, realize the application process has changed for 2014 and, carefully review the materials before beginning the process. The process is outlined in detail in the Overview and Instructions for the Mark of Excellence and State 4-H Awards Program Guide for Members and Volunteers. Members who participate in this process will have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and tell us how they have developed their skills through their project experiences. New this year, the State Awards have been divided into two categories: Juniors (13- to 15-years-old) and seniors (16- to 19-years-old). This allows for 12 youth to advance to the state level in each division, for each of the 4-H recognition areas. Juniors and seniors who are selected to advance will be notified April 1 and should register to attend 4-H Exploration Days. While attending 4-H Exploration Days, Junior State 4-H Award Delegates will participate in a leadership development program and senior State 4-H Award Delegates will complete an interview with the selection committee in their award area. Winners will be announced at the State 4-H Award Recognition Program and receive a certificate and monetary award.

Local 4-H staff can provide assistance and workshops will be available around the state to assist members with this process. More information about recognition in the 4-H program can be found at the 4-H Recognition Program page or by contacting your local MSU Extension office.

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