Michigan 4-H youth leaders in action

National 4-H Congress builds confidence, communication and life skills.

2014 National 4-H Congress Delegates from Michigan dressed up for the Congress Gala. See the entire list of 4-H members pictured here, below.

2014 National 4-H Congress Delegates from Michigan dressed up for the Congress Gala. See the entire list of 4-H members pictured here, below.

In early December, 15 Michigan youth descended on Atlanta, Georgia to attend the National 4-H Congress, an event that brings together high-school aged 4-H members from across the country to meet, hone leadership skills and practice community service. Michigan 4-H was well-represented by the 12 girls and 3 boys from Marquette, Monroe, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Montcalm and Lapeer counties.

100 percent of youth participants responding to the evaluation indicated that as a result of their participation in National 4-H Congress, they increased their confidence to try new things, are more open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, and are better able to identify their personal interests and strengths.  

During the event, youth heard from well-known guest speakers including a NFL star and a holocaust survivor. Youth were also able to customize their experience by choosing from a variety of session options ranging from health and fitness to cooking to science, leadership and community service.

Outside of formal sessions and activities, youth grew as young adults as they navigated public transportation, navigated walking maps and explored a new city’s local landmarks and cultural attractions. Michigan State University Extension explores various ways to capitalize on learning opportunities in these non-formal learning settings.

Youth also had ample time to practice networking skills as they introduced themselves to hundreds of their peers over the course of the 5-day event. Youth participants said the most valuable skills they learned on the trip included, “meeting new people by introducing myself and starting a conversation with them,” and “communicating with others and understanding different views.” One youth reflected, “I gained a lot of confidence in the sense that we were all in a new situation but were able to make friends.”

National 4-H Congress annually brings together top 4-H youth leaders from across the country. The 2015 National 4-H Congress will be held Nov. 27- Dec. 1. Contact your local MSU Extension office for more information on how to reserve a spot.

2014 National 4-H Congress Delegates from Michigan pictured are (left-right): Kayleigh Adams (Monroe), Samantha Beaudrie (Monroe), Adriana Adle (Gratiot), Matthew Newman (Chaperone), Haley Lemle (Hillsdale), Felicia Marsh (Montcalm), Logan Grey (Monroe), Sarah Conery (Marquette), Emily Schmitt (Hillsdale), Mason Bruce (Marquette), Kayla Aboukarroum (Lapeer), Courtney Beauchamp (Marquette), Samantha Beauchamp (Marquette), Hannah Doederline (Monroe), Kennedy Cogswell (Montcalm), Dylan Macha (Gratiot), Jackie Martin (Chaperone).

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