Tip of the Mitt 4-H educators make a difference locally, statewide and nationally

Tip of the Mitt 4-H educators are committed to excellence and the revolution of responsibility in Northern Michigan

In Cheboygan County, northern Michigan 4-H’ers are leading a revolution of responsibility – a movement for positive change. As explained by the National 4-H Revolution of Responsibility webpage, this movement is a living breathing, culture-changing revolution for doing the right thing, breaking through obstacles and pushing the country forward by making a measurable difference right here in the local community.

Extension educators across America have joined the National 4-H to look at potential challenges youth are likely to experience during their lifetimes. One example is unemployment. One way that 4-H stepped up to meet this challenge is by exposing 4-H youth to science programming, gaining valuable life-skills, process and content knowledge in science, engineering, technology and applied math fields in their academic studies and careers.

Furthermore, in a bold move, National 4-H challenged land grant universities across the county to “reach one million new young people in science programs by 2013.” According to the National 4-H, this goal has been met and surpassed. Learn more about how 4-H is helping to develop one million new scientists by watching their short video “4-H: Addressing the Need for Science and Technology Professionals.”

4-H’s successful equation is a combination of providing youth with an opportunity for:

  • Positive adult relationships with community volunteers and mentors
  • Leadership experiences
  • Skills for life

According to the “Tufts 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development,” 4-H youth are:

  • Three times more likely to contribute to society
  • Two times more likely to pursue science related careers
  • Two times more likely to go to college, and
  • Much less likely to be involved in risky behavior
  • Girls in 4-H are two times more likely than their peers to pursue science careers

Nationally, 4-H Science programs have reached more than 5 million youth with hands-on learning experiences. This is a comprehensive and holistic approach that will help America ensure global competitiveness and prepare the next generation of science, engineering and technology leaders. The project areas covered range from agriculture to climate change to alternative energy.

But how does this translate locally? In Cheboygan County and across northern Michigan, more than 2,000 4-Hers’ participated in science, engineering, and technology (SET) programming via several project areas and activities. This past week, local program coordinators from Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet County gathered for a “Tip of the Mitt” cluster meeting to discuss impacts that occurred during this past year. One example of an impressive “deliverables” was an evaluation that measured equine and market livestock animal science learning. This evaluation expanded to become a state-wide pilot, involving three additional counties across Michigan.

This is important, scholarly work that may eventually assist educators from across the state to evaluate their 4-H equine and market livestock programming in more than 80 counties. Michigan 4-H has the goal of developing youth who are problem solvers, decision-makers and critical thinkers; these types of evaluations help staff ensure this. It also helps to build capacity in 4-H members, youth leaders, volunteers and mentors working in the field of 4-H science. It is a commitment to excellence that is typical of Michigan State University Extension staff as they work in communities across Michigan.

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