United Youth Leadership Program begins in Northwest Michigan

High school students learn about local and tribal government through hands on learning.

The National League of Cities Action Kit for Municipal Leaders explains that “young people want and deserve a voice in their communities. City officials make decisions that affect youth on a daily basis. Yet young people often have no direct role in shaping or influencing local policies and programs.” They continue by explaining that “Nothing is more important to the health of our democracy than the active engagement of young people in representative government at the local level.”

The 4-H United Youth Leadership Program is a collaborative education program sponsored by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Leelanau and Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners and Michigan State University Extension. The program provides selected high school aged students, both native and non-native, an opportunity to learn about tribal, local and state government with a “hands-on” approach.

Students will also engage in identifying public issues, and learn how citizens work within government to accomplish public objectives and meet community needs.

Students will learn how tribal, county, and state government work, communicate with their county commissioners and tribal council, attend official meetings of both groups, visit with various department heads, work as a team to identify community issues important to teens, and work on possible action plans to address the issues.

Students will complete their learning experience with a visit to Lansing to visit state offices and agencies, have breakfast with their state senator and representative, and visiting with lobbyists, in Michigan’s Capitol during 4-H Capitol Experience.

In order to apply for the program youth must be a resident of Grand Traverse or Leelanau County are 14 - 19 years of age and have completed an application. The complete brochure of the program, which begins Feb.5, 2014 and concludes April 30, along with further details can be printed.

The Michigan State University Extension Government and Public Policy team offers training for improved effectiveness in several areas, including various public policy issues and effects of government programs, regulation, incentives, strategies and more. By working together with local elected and appointed officials, and interested citizens, MSU Extension is able to provide education on critical local and state issues.