Michigan 4-Hers participate in outdoor healthy living camp

4-Hers from Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas come together for a weeklong camp of outdoor adventures and healthy living activities.

Michigan State University Extension has an ongoing partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, which falls under the United States Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Forest Service is a multi-faceted agency that manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The U.S. Forest Service works through partnerships with public and private agencies that help plant trees, improve trails, educate the public and improve conditions in wildland or urban interfaces and rural areas, just to name a few.

This MSU Extension partnership works well in Wayne and Macomb counties where there is a U.S. Forest Service Detroit Urban Connections coordinator, Ms. Lisa Perez. Perez is responsible for getting youth into the great outdoors and connecting them with opportunities to explore the various state parks. Perez and a 4-H Macomb County educator worked together to coordinate the first 4-H Healthy Living outdoor camp at Clear Lake in Manistique, Michigan. The camp was not only an outdoor healthy living experience, but allowed a group of southern Michigan youth the opportunity to travel to the Upper Peninsula for the first time. The trip took a lot of planning and coordination. 4-Hers from the Upper Peninsula were identified to participate in the camp as well as 4-Hers from southeast Michigan. It took eight hours and two vehicles to drive the southeast Michigan 4-H Tech Wizards to Clear Lake Camp on Aug. 3, 2015. Once both groups arrived at camp, the fun started!

During the course of a week, Upper Peninsula and southeast Michigan 4-Hers engaged in a variety of outdoor education and healthy living activities and workshops. Youth spent most of the daylight hours exploring and learning in the great outdoors, which served as a class room. 4-Hers learned about archery, camp fires (and stories), swimming in a lake, hiking, high ropes and various local species. Youth also learned various life skills that were not as tangible, but just as important, such as responsibility, accepting differences, embracing diversity and conflict resolution.

The Clear Lake Camp was a great experience for all, young and old. It allowed 40 4-Hers to come together for a common goal of being healthier in the outdoors and also brought two groups together that may have never met. Both groups had two things in common, they live in Michigan and they are 4-H members. The camp focused on similarities and not differences.

For more information on the Clear Lake Education Center, visit the Clear Lake Education Center website.

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