New diversity activity for 4-H Exploration Days county orientations

We’ve developed a new diversity and inclusion activity to assist youth in preparing for 4-H Exploration Days.

4-H Exploration Days, or Expo Days for short, is Michigan 4-H Youth Development’s annual pre-college program. Youth 11-19 travel from all 83 counties to Michigan State University to take classes, stay overnight in dorms, eat in cafeterias and enjoy the fun campus life for three days and two nights during the third or fourth week of June.

Expo Days attracts about 2,500 youth and chaperones from a variety of diverse backgrounds. It is important 4-H equips youth with life skills to be successful, especially when youth are away from home in a different environment. Some of those significant life skills are accepting differences, empathy, social skills and cooperation.

The Michigan 4-H 1st Generation Task Force was established to assist individuals and families that are new to 4-H in navigating various processes, feeling comfortable and receiving additional support wherever needed. A component of these objectives is to adjust previous policies and develop new ones for 4-H programs, camps and events.

The Michigan 1st Generation 4-H Task Force collaborated with MSU Extension diversity and personnel specialist Dionardo Pizana to develop and pilot a new and improved diversity and inclusion activity for 4-H Exploration Days county orientations. It was deemed that the previous activity was outdated and underutilized. 4-H program coordinators now have a relevant activity that assists members in understanding and celebrating differences.

Since Expo Days attracts such a diverse audience, it was determined county orientations were the perfect platform to incorporate an activity that will provide 4-H members with an opportunity to increase life skills around diversity prior to attending such a large statewide program. 

Up/Downs and Shared Pride assists groups in acknowledging identities and finding commonalities that may not be obvious. This activity will assist 4-H members, volunteers and parents in understanding we are all 4-H and to unite county delegations for 4-H Exploration Days.

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