Celebrating Michigan youth – 4-H State Awards, applications due February 1

The Michigan 4-H State Award is the highest honor a 4-H youth may receive. Learn more about the program and apply today!

From left to right: Madeline Meyer (Clinton County 4-H Member & Junior Winner), Ms. Sharon Toth (Chief Executive Officer of UDIM), and Natalie Horning (Washtenaw County 4-H Member & Senior Winner)

From left to right: Madeline Meyer (Clinton County 4-H Member & Junior Winner), Ms. Sharon Toth (Chief Executive Officer of UDIM), and Natalie Horning (Washtenaw County 4-H Member & Senior Winner)

4-H is the largest youth development organization in the U.S., empowering more than 6 million young people across the country to “make the best better.”  Michigan State University Extension is proud to be part of the land-grant universities that provide leadership and support to 4-H.  Michigan 4-H has more than 200,000 youth enrolled each year in projects ranging from Animal Science to Art, Career Preparation and Entrepreneurship to Environmental and Outdoor Education. Possibilities are endless for youth to explore programs and projects they are curious about or that inspire them.

Michigan 4-H members are changing their communities and the world every day. Recognizing the accomplishments of our youth is important in bringing the spotlight to their amazing commitment, dedication, and work. One program that celebrates and honors our enthusiastic youth is the State 4-H Awards Program.  The State Award is the highest honor bestowed upon 4-H members in the state. These awards are open to youth ages 13 and older who have been involved with 4-H for at least three years. There are 19 project areas, including several in animal science based on species, available for youth to demonstrate their accomplishments in while in 4-H.

Having been redesigned in 2014, there are now two age-based categories: Junior (ages 13-15) and Senior (ages 16-19), as well as a Group Award (ages 13-19). All applicants will fill out either the individual or group application and submit the completed form via .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Applications will be evaluated by an expert pannel of judges for each project area and youth will be notified by March 15 if they have been selected as a State Award Delegate. Delegates will participate in either a leadership program (Junior Delegates) or an interview with the expert pannel (Senior Delegates) at the State Awards Assembly held during 4-H Exploration Days June 24th. The State Awards Recognition program will occur on Thursday morning, June 25th, where individual and group winners will be announced.

Previous State Award winners find great value in applying for and participating in this event. Natalie Horning of Washtenaw County, the 2014 Senior Dairy Science winner said, “State Awards is a great program that can be viewed as a capstone to all of your achievements through your project areas in 4-H. It is quite an accomplishment and is definitely worth time to apply.”  Madeline Meyer, a 4-H member in Clinton County and winner of the 2014 Junior award agrees, stating, “Overall, it was a great experience where I got to meet new people who have similar interests as me. I would encourage any 4-Her to participate in State Awards.”

Younger 4-H members (ages 11-12) may participate in the Mark of Excellence Essay Contest. The theme of the short (500 word) essay is “Because of 4-H I can…”.  This open-ended question allows younger 4-Hers to express their creativity in how 4-H has helped them grow and develop new skills such as confidence, team work, working with animals, sewing, or the other countless talents. Youth participating in this contest are strongly encouraged to attend 4-H Exploration Days, but it is not required.

Encourage youth to apply for the 4-H State Awards or enter the Mark of Excellence Essay Contest. Both are wonderful opportunities to recognize our outstanding Michigan 4-H members!

For more information or questions, please contact Jennifer Weichel, Volunteer Specialist at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 517-432-7606.

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